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Ahmad Kamal, Michael John Casey, and More Announced to Star in Signature's 4,380 NIGHTS

Ahmad Kamal, Michael John Casey, and More Announced to Star in Signature's 4,380 NIGHTS

Signature Theatre is excited to announce the cast and creative team for the world premiere of 4,380 Nights by DC playwright Annalisa Dias. The production will be directed by Kathleen Akerley (Artistic Director of Longacre Lea) and will feature Ahmad Kamal (Woolly Mammoth's KISS) as Malik Essaid/El Hadj El Kaim, Michael John Casey (Shakespeare Theatre's Othello, Folger Theatre's Henry V) as Bud Abramson/Man, Rex Daugherty (Signature'sShakespeare's R&J) as Luke/Colonel Pelissier, and Lynette Rathnam (Ford Theatre's Death of a Salesman) as Woman (complete cast and creative team bios are below). 4,380 Nights will run from January 16 through February 18 in Signature Theatre's ARK Theatre. 4,380 Nights is Signature's submission to the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival.

"I first discovered this work when reviewing submissions for our SigWorks new play readings series," said Joe Calarco, Signature's Resident Director/Director of New Works. "What started as a 15-minute short play has expanded into a full-length piece and had readings and workshops as it has evolved over the last two years. I'm thrilled it will represent Signature as part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival and kick off our SigWorks: Heidi Thomas Writer' Initiative."

In speaking about this work, playwright Annalisa Dias said, "Recently, I've found myself wondering what kind of ancestors will we be to our descendants. 4,380 Nights feels to me like a deeply needed meditation on power, history, and the hope and solace of interconnectedness. The first draft of this piece was read for the first time as part of the SigWorks series in 2016. I'm thrilled and humbled that the Signature staff and company of artists has believed in my voice both then and now as we head into production. It's an exciting time to be a DC Playwright!"

Kathleen Akerley, 4,380 Nights Director added, "Annalisa and I have collaborated as dramaturg/director, assistant director/director and actor/director: I'm excited to expand that list and humbled to be doing so on such a weighty and profoundly beautiful play."


For the last 12 years, or 4,380 days, Malik Djamal Ahmad Essaid has been held without charge by the United States government at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. As he languishes in his cell, his interactions with those on the outside is juxtaposed with historical events in a riveting exposé into the most dangerous prison of all - fear.

Led by Akerley, the creative team includes Scenic Design by Elizabeth Jenkins (Round House Theatre's Nixon Nixon); Lighting Design by John Burkland(Theater Alliance's The Wonderful World of Dissocia); Costume Design by Heather Lockard (Forum Theatre's Building the Wall); Sound Design by Neil McFadden (National Tour of Caps for Sale); Fight Choreography by Robb Hunter (Arena Stage's The Pajama Game); and Production Stage Manager Julie Meyer.

4,380 Nights

By Annalisa Dias

Directed by Kathleen Akerley

Five weeks only!

Performances run January 16 through February 18, 2018

Single Tickets now on sale

Sponsored by the Jenna and Paul Segal Foundation

SigWorks: The Heidi Thomas Writers' Initiative, a partnership with the Jenna and Paul Segal Foundation, is a multi-year commitment to present world premieres by female playwrights with female directors.

New Work at Signature Theatre is sponsored by the Revada Foundation on behalf of the Logan Family.

4,380 Nights is presented as part of the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival.


Michael John Casey (Bud Abramson/The Man) DC AREA: Constellation Theatre Company: Peter and the Starcatcher; Arms and the Man; Three Sisters; Shakespeare Theatre Company: Othello; Kennedy Center: The Gift of Nothing; Jason Invisible; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical; A Streetcar Named Desire; The Welders: Carolina Layaway Grail; The Folger Theatre: Henry V; Twelfth Night; Longacre Lea: Cat's Cradle; Power of the Dog; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead; The Hothouse; Imagination Stage: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2013 Helen Hayes Award); Rapunzel; Calisto V. EDUCATION: BA Theatre Arts, Nazareth College of Rochester 1993, MFA Drama, Catholic University 1998. AWARDS: 4 Helen Hayes nominations.

Rex Daugherty (Luke Harrison/ Colonel Aimable Pelissierq) SIGNATURE: Shakespeare's R&J, The Flick (assistant director). OFF-BROADWAY: 59E59: Disco Pigs. DC AREA: Artistic Director: Solas Nua: Wild Sky, Little Thing, Big Thing, Coolatully (American premiere), Misterman; The Kennedy Center: Mockingbird, Shear Madness, Unleashed!; Shakespeare Theatre: Hamlet, Love's Labor's Lost; Round House Theatre: Becky Shaw; Folger Theatre: Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet; The Warner Theatre: Eartha' Kitt's 80th Birthday Tour; The National Theatre: The BFG; Ford's Theatre: Hope Dies Last (reading); Rep Stage: The Heidi Chronicles, Hunting & Gathering; REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL: Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Yours, Isabel (world premiere); Reduxion Theatre: OKC Dead, Richard III, Wayside Theatre: Bad Dates, Othello, Stones in His Pockets, Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story. AWARDS: Three Helen Hayes nominations (Outstanding Ensemble).

Ahmad Kamal (Malik Essaid/ El Hadj El Kaim) DC AREA: Forum Theatre: Love and Information, I Call My Brothers, Blackberry Winter; Woolly Mammoth: KISS; Mosaic Theater: The Return; Adventure Theatre: Aladdin and The Wonderful Lamp; Studio Theatre: The Hard Problem (u/s); 4615 Theatre: Exit the King.

Lynette Rathnam (The Woman) DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: Death of A Salesman; Arena Stage: Our War; Kennedy Center: Mockingbird; The Wings of Ikarus Jackson; Mosaic: When January Feels Like Summer; Rep Stage: The Fantasticks; Taffety Punk: The Trojan Women; Constellation: The Fire and The Rain; Rorschach: Glassheart; Virginia Shakespeare: Illyria; Julius Caesar; Maryland Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, All's Well that Ends Well; Source Festival; Atlas Intersections Festival; The Hegira: In the Blood; Lyme Park.


Annalisa Dias (Playwright) WRITING: One Word More, The Last Allegiance, A Legacy of Chains, Crooked Figure, Consider the Dust, Matanuska, Coal, the earth that is sufficient, and Servant of the Wind. DEVISING: Wit's End Puppets: Malevolent Creatures; banished? productions: Tyger; Theater Alliance: I Love DC. DIRECTING: The Salima Project (film). Annalisa Dias' work has been produced or developed by The Welders, Theater Alliance, the Phillips Collection, The Gulfshore Playhouse, the Mead Theatre Lab, The Hub Theatre, Spooky Action Theater, Tron Theatre (Glasgow), and Theatre 503 (London). Acting Creative Producer and Producing Playwright: The Welders. Co-Founder: DC Coalition for Theatre & Social Justice. AWARDS: TCG Rising Leader of Color 2016, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship 2016 and 2017, and Puffin Foundation Grant 2016.

Kathleen Akerley (Director) REGIONAL: The Skriker, The Gas Heart, Everything Between Us, The Small Things, shkspr prjct (Helen Hayes nomination), The Tooth of Crime, Jumpers, Macbett, On the Waterfront, Beyond the Horizon, The Winter's Tale, Voodoo Macbeth, Penetrator, The Graduate, Ubu Roi, Writer's Cramp, [sic], Love's Fire, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Helen Hayes nomination), The Hothouse, Man With Bags, The Power of the Dog, Energumen, After Magritte, Cat's Cradle (also the adaptor). OTHER: Artistic Director, Longacre Lea and director/playwright of Longacre Lea productions Fear, Bones in Whispers, Pol Pot & Associates LLP, Goldfish Thinking, Something Past in Front of the Light (considered for the Steinberg Award),The Oogatz Man, Theories of the Sun, Whipping, or The Football Hamlet; Artistic Associate, Sideshow Theatre; member, Dramatists Guild. AWARDS: Theater Lobby Award for Acting and Directing; Boomerang Fund Grant recipient for "audacious artistry;" DCCAH Fellow in Playwriting (2016) and Directing (2017).

Elizabeth Jenkins (Scenic Design) OFF-BROADWAY: Caps for Sale. DC AREA: Gala Theatre: House of the Spirits (Helen Hayes nomination), In the Heights, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The Innocent Erendira and her Ghastly Grandmother, The Beauty of the Father; Longacre Lea: Whipping, or the Football Hamlet, Fear, Pol-Pot and Associates, Goldfish Thinking, Oogatz Man / Artist Descending a Stair; Imagination Stage: Aladdin's Luck, Ferdinand the Bull, Playing From the Heart, Looking for Roberto Clemente, New Kid; Round House Theatre: Nixon's Nixon, Criminal Genius, Jack and Jill, Season's Greetings; Adventure Theatre: Big, the Musical, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Stinky Cheese Man; Next Stop Theatre: Boeing, Boeing; Much Ado About Nothing, Kiss Me, Kate.

Heather Lockard (Costume Design) NEW YORK: Manhattan Concert Productions: The Secret Garden; Mac-Haydn Theatre: West Side Story; The Slipper Room: Phaedra's Cabaret (4 productions); Out of Line Productions: Mauritius; Urban Stages: Susie for President. REGIONAL: Sacramento Music Circus: Beauty and the Beast, Damn Yankees, Nice Work if You Can Get It!, Lexington Children's Theatre. DC AREA: Forum Theatre: Building the Wall (Rolling World Premiere), What Ever Girl Should Know, Dry Land, Angels in America: Parts I & II, dark play or stories for boys, and Marisol; Adventure Theatre: Charlotte's Web, If You Give A Pig A Pancake; Washington Shakespeare Company: Mary Stuart; American Opera Theatre, Georgetown University, Theatre Alliance, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival.

John Burkland (Lighting Design) NEW YORK: Lincoln Center Institute, Peter Jay Sharp, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Fourth Universalist Society, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, DR2, La Mama E.T.C., Sonnet Repertory, NYU Strasberg, HB Playwrights Studio, Guggenheim Arts and Process, The Blue Heron Arts Center, Flushing Town Hall, NYC Fringe, New York Musical Theater Festival, The Summer Play Festival. REGIONAL: Enegman Theater, North Shore Music Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse, Quintessence Theater Group, Northern Stage, Opera Tampa, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Actors Theater of Atlanta, Big Apple Circus, the Dance Gallery, others. DC AREA: Studio Theatre, Studio Theatre 2nd Stage, Long Acre Lea, Studio Lab, Critical Threat Theatre, Theater Alliance, Washington Shakespeare Company, MetroStage, Rorschach Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center, Luna Stage, The Bay Theater, Source Theatre. EDUCATION: North Carolina School of the Arts. AWARDS: Helen Hayes Award for The Wonderful World of Dissocia.

Neil McFadden (Sound Design) OFF-BROADWAY: New Victory: Three Little Birds, Caps for Sale. NATIONAL TOUR: Five Little Monkeys, Three Little Birds, Caps for Sale. DC AREA: Round House Theatre: Heathen Valley (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Sound Design), Drawer Boy (Helen Hayes Award nomination), Jack and Jill (Helen Hayes Award nomination), The Swan(Helen Hayes Award nomination), The Illusion (Helen Hayes Award nomination); Woolly Mammoth Theatre: Boom (Helen Hayes Award nomination); The Dead Monkey (Helen Hayes Award nomination); Zero Positive (Helen Hayes Award nomination); Take Me Out; Studio Theatre: Reasons to Be Pretty, Blackbird, Take Me Out, Adding Machine; Adventure Theatre: Three Little Birds,Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol, The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon, A Year With Frog and Toad; Flying V: Fights (I, II, and III), Matt & Ben; Venus Theatre: Witches Vanish, Aglaonike's Tiger; over 300 additional productions in over 35 professional DC theatres.

Robb Hunter (Fight Choreography) NEW YORK: Theatre Harlem: Love Child (world premiere); Black Spectrum Theatre: A Soldier's Play; Chekhov Theatre Ensemble: Cyrano. DC AREA: Shakespeare Theatre: Othello, Salomé, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, The Winter's Tale; Arena Stage: The Pajama Game, King Hedley II, Ruined, Stick Fly; Woolly Mammoth: An Octoroon, HIR, Zombie the American; Studio Theatre: The Effect, Hand to God, Bad Jews, Belleville, Red Speedo, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Invisible Man, The Walworth Farce, Superior Donuts; Olney Theatre: The Piano Lesson, Bus Stop, Oliver, Carousel; WNO: Carmen, Moby Dick, Hamlet, Don Giovanni. TV: Spin City (stunt double, Michael J. Fox). AWARDS: Helen Hayes nominations: An Octoroon, Red Speedo, The Walworth Farce; ACTF award for Fight Direction (Ubu Roi, American University), Likhachev Cultural Fellowship. TEACHING: Artist in Residence, Academy for Classical Acting at American University. EDUCATION: MFA Theatre Pedagogy (VCU); Certified Fight Director; Society of American Fight Directors.

Julie Meyer (Production Stage Manager) SIGNATURE: An Act of God, Gun and Powder, Midwestern Gothic, Titanic, Silver Belles, The Gulf, The Flick, Georgie, Cake Off, Kid Victory, Sex with Strangers, Sunday in the Park with George, Cloak and Dagger, Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill, Company, The Last Five Years, Dying City, Xanadu, Really Really, A Second Chance, The Boy Detective Fails, I Capture the Castle, Art, Sunset Boulevard, Walter Cronkite is Dead, Chess, Tamar and the River, [title of show], I Am My Own Wife, Show Boat, Dirty Blonde, Giant, Glory Days, Les Misérables. OFF-BROADWAY: Flipside: the Patti Page Story. REGIONAL: Lyric Theatre: Disney's When You Wish, West Side Story, In the Heights, Dreamgirls, Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof, Drowsy Chaperone, Big Fish, Billy Elliot, Spamalot, A Little Night Music, Will Rogers Follies, Big River, Disney's High School Musical, Oklahoma!, Evita, Singin' in the Rain, Once On This Island. EDUCATION: Rutgers University, MFA, Stage Management.


Founded in 1989, Signature Theatre is a Tony Award®-winning regional theater that broadens and brightens the region's cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works and engaging education and outreach programs. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, musical theater has become Signature's "signature," and the Theatre is renowned for its definitive Sondheim productions, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten works, and investment in fresh new projects. Called a "musical theater powerhouse" by The Washington Post, Signature combines Broadway-caliber productions with intimate playing spaces and aims to be a leading force in U.S. musical theater. Since its inception, the Theatre has produced 58 world premiere works-including 19 new musical commissions-and is home to the single largest musical theater commissioning project in the United States, The American Music Voices Project. Attracting talent from the DC metropolitan region and New York, Signature has grown to reach more than 100,000 people annually from the Washington, DC region and beyond. Signature has won 103 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 411 nominations.

Photo Credit: Christopher Mueller

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