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Katy Perry's Sitar Player to Star in San Diego REP's DISGRACED

San Diego Repertory Theatre (San Diego REP) has announced final casting for their upcoming production of "Disgraced," the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Ayad Akhtar.

San Diego REP's second show of their 2016/17 season will be directed by Michael Arabian, the LA-based director who has helmed multiple shows in New York and LA's premier theatres, including the Kirk Douglas Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum.

The show's run begins on Thursday, October 20, 2016 and plays through Sunday, November 13, 2016 with an opening night on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Lyceum Stage Theatre at San Diego REP in Horton Plaza.

"'Disgraced' fearlessly investigates the 21st century clash between American culture and the Islamic faith," says REP Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse. "Given the current national debate, this dramatic story needs to be witnessed by anyone who cares about our national cultural health."

Ronobir Lahiri will take on the role of "Amir" in Akhtar's widely acclaimed drama. Lahiri was a member of the Tony Award-winning 1994 revival of "The King & I," including a turn as the King of Siam in the 2001 UK tour and the 2005 American tour opposite TV & film star Stefanie Powers. His numerous television appearances include a recurring role on Freeform's "Stitchers" and guest appearances on "Criminal Minds," "Torchwood" and many others. In addition to his work on stage and in television, Lahiri is a world-renowned sitar player and composer, having played with the likes of Ziggy Marley, Katy Perry and Blue Man Group.

Opposite Lahiri in the role of "Isaac" will be Richard Baird. Baird is a local favorite, having made his name in San Diego for his work on classic plays. Baird is the co-founder and Artistic Director of San Diego's New Fortune Theatre Company, where he won two San Diego Critics Circle awards for both starring in and directing the company's inaugural production of Shakespeare's "Henry V." Baird's work as both an actor and director has been seen on nearly all of San Diego's stages as well as some of the nation's preeminent Shakespeare theatres, including The Old Globe, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

The cast also features Allison Spratt Pearce ("Come From Away," "Sideways" at La Jolla Playhouse) as "Emily," Keala Miles, Jr. ("Water by the Spoonful" at The Old Globe, "The Boy Who Danced on Air" at Diversionary Theatre) as "Abe," and Monique Gaffney ("Clybourne Park," "Doubt" at San Diego REP) as "Jory."

Amir Kapoor is ignoring his Muslim heritage so he can live the American Dream - with a beautiful wife, an amazing New York apartment and a lucrative career practicing law that is headed for the stars. When Amir and his artist wife host a casual dinner party for his African-American co-worker and her Jewish husband, the things one is not supposed to talk about at dinner are suddenly at the center of the dinner conversation. The evening quickly erupts into a fiery debate over race, religion and class in the modern world. Everything that Amir has achieved - including his proudly built new identity - is suddenly turned upside down in a way no one could have imagined. This Pulitzer Prize winner is the most produced contemporary play in American Theatre today. After opening to rave reviews on Broadway and in London, "Disgraced" has become a national hit that ignites audiences with an experience you will never forget.

The creative team also includes John Iacovelli (Scenic Designer), Anastasia Pautova (Costume Designer), Brian Gayle (Lighting Designer), Ralph Gregory Hurst (Assistant Director), Dawn Moore (Production Dramaturg), Heather M. Brose (Stage Manager) and Jacole Kitchen (Casting Director).

Ayad Akhtar (Playwright) was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of "American Dervish," published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His play DISGRACED played at New York's Lincoln Center Theater in 2012 and premiered at the Bush Theater in London in May 2013. Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His play The Invisible Hand was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award, and won Best New Work 2013 from the St. Louis Theater Critics Circle. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for "The War Within." He has received commissions from Lincoln Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate oF Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing.

Michael Arabian (Director) is excited to be back at San Diego Rep where he directed RED starring John Vickery and Jason Maddy. He has directed and produced numerous world premieres in New York and Los Angeles. His productions have garnered over 50 awards. Most recently he directed the critically acclaimed production of "Kingdom of Earth" by Tennessee Williams in Los Angeles. Some additional recent credits include, directing dance icon Leslie Caron in "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks" at the Laguna Playhouse; "Staging the Unstageable" (centennial of the Armenian Genocide) at the Kirk Douglas and "God of Carnage" at La Mirada. His production of "Waiting for Godot" at the Mark Taper Forum was honored with five Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards including outstanding production and direction; was nominated for 10 Ovations, winning five, including best production; and was cited as one of the ten most memorable productions of 2012 seen in either New York or L.A. by Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty. Other Taper productions include Beckett's "Krapps Last Tape", Albee's "The Sandbox," Pinter's "A Slight Ace" and workshops of new works. His site-specific company, Theatre InSite, formed a partnership with CBS (Radford) Studios, a first for L.A. theater, to produce live TV pilots (with "Third Rock from the Sun" picked up) and inventive, large-scale productions such as an updated "Romeo and Juliet" in which audiences followed scenes and car chases through the backlot's suburban streets, and "The Trojan Women," set during the Gulf War and staged in 400,000 gallons of water at the old Gilligan's Island Lagoon. His film "King of the Ants" is distributed by Vanguard Cinema.



By Ayad Akhtar

Directed by Michael Arabian

Previews: Thursday, October 20 - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Opening Night: Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Closing Night: Sunday, November 13, 2016

Location: Lyceum Space, San Diego Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego, CA 92101-6144

Tickets range from $38 to $64 and can be purchased in-person at the San Diego REP Box Office, by calling 619.544.1000, or online at Active military, teacher and senior discounts are available. Student tickets are available for all performances for just $20 each. Prices subject to change.

San Diego Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce that work is in progress on a $3 million renovation of The Lyceum Theatres, including the lobby, concession, restrooms and Lyceum Stage Theatre. The remodel work is occurring in phases. Estimated completion is January 2017.

During construction, San Diego REP patrons will be able to access all normal amenities of The Lyceum Theatre complex. Ample parking will still be available in the Horton Plaza parking garage and the Box Office, elevators, restrooms and concession areas will be easily accessible unless otherwise noted. San Diego REP's House Management staff will keep patrons updated on renovation activities with signage posted in and around the facility as well as send e-mail communications to maintain the venue experience. For additional information, please contact the Box Office at 619-544-1000 or visit

San Diego Repertory Theatre (San Diego REP) produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. Founded in 1976, San Diego Repertory Theatre is downtown San Diego's resident theatre, promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive political and social values and celebrates the multiple voices of our region. The company produces and hosts over 550 events and performances year-round on its three stages at the Lyceum Theatre. Since moving to the Lyceum, The REP has produced 45 main stage productions by Latino playwrights, and more than 40 world premieres. The company has received more than 200 awards for artistic excellence from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, Patté Theatre Awards, NAACP, BackStage West, Dramalogue and StageSceneLA. In 2005, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle presented The REP with the Craig Noel Award "For 30 Years of Artistic Dedication to Downtown and Diversity." San Diego Repertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. To learn more about San Diego Repertory Theatre, to purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit Join us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter (@SanDiegoREP).

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