ArtsWest Announces THE WHO & THE WHAT

ArtsWest will open the 2017-18 Season with THE WHO & THE WHAT, Ayad Akhtar's witty and whip-smart play about a young Muslim woman confronting her family and her faith, at the ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery on September 7. Performances will run Thursday through Sunday until October 1.

At the heart of THE WHO & THE WHAT is Zarina, a brilliant Pakistani-American writer. While finishing her novel about women and Islam, she meets Eli, a young convert who bridges the gulf between her modern life and her traditional heritage. But when her conservative father and sister discover her controversial manuscript, they are all forced to confront the beliefs that define them.

From Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of DISGRACED, THE WHO & THE WHAT is a thrillingly fierce and funny new play about identity, religion and the contradictions that make us who we are. In a remarkable turn of events - the kind that remind us how small the big world of theater can sometimes be - Zarina will be played Monika Jolly, who originated the role in 2014 at the La Jolla Playhouse. Now, three years later, she returns to the role alongside a cast that includes Abhijeet Rane (DANCE LIKE A MAN, ACT Theatre) as the conservative buT Loving father Afzal, Haley Alaji as Zarina's fitful sister Mahwish, and Andre Nelson (A MOVEABLE FEAST, Book-It Repertory Theatre) as Eli, the white Muslim convert who captures Zarina's heart.

Samip Raval, the play's director, has himself starred in two productions of Ayad Akhtar's previous, Pulitzer Prize-winning play DISGRACED. Raval's credits also include directing Rajiv Joseph's GUARDS AT THE TAJ (ACTLab), residencies at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Eduction, and more, and the short film THE FAUCET, which he wrote and directed. He leads a team that includes three returning ArtsWest designers - Costume Designer Kelsey Rogers (MILK LIKE SUGAR, MY MAÑANA COMES), Lighting Designer Ryan Dunn (FROZEN, SWEENEY TODD) and Properties Master Andrea Spraycar (PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, SWEENEY TODD) - alongside Scenic Designer Lex Marcos, Sound Designer Brian Murphy and Stage Manager Malie Fujii. The ArtsWest production of THE WHO & THE WHAT is co-produced by Pratidhwani, a Washington state non-profit that helps immigrants from South Asia find a supportive platform to practice their arts.

Creative Team Directed by Samip Raval Stage Manager - Malie Fujii Lighting Designer - Ryan Dunn Costume Designer -Kelsey Rogers Scenic Designer - Lex Marcos Properties Master - Andrea Spraycar Sound Designer - Brian Murphy Cast Monika Jolly - Zarina Haley Alaji - Mahwish Abhijeet Rane - Afzal Andre Nelson - Eli About the Production THE WHO & THE WHAT plays Septemer 7 - October 1, 2017 at ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery (4711 California Ave SW, Seattle WA 98116). Tickets (ranging from $17 - $38) may be purchased online at, by phone at 206.938.0339, or at the Box Office Thurs. - Sat. 2 -7:30pm.

About ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery ArtsWest is a vibrant center for both performing and visual arts located in the West Seattle Junction. This 149-seat theatre provides a unique setting for audiences and artists as stories of human emotion unfold in an intimate space. Winner of the American Theatre Wing's 2012 National Theatre Company Award, ArtsWest has produced such diverse work as Evil Dead: The Musical, Little Women, this fall's critically acclaimed production of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts and the smash hit Peter and the Starcatcher. ArtsWest produces artistic events that provoke conversation, incite the imagination and use live theater as a powerful agent of change.

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