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ANNOUNCING "THE WHO & THE WHAT" SPECIAL EVENTS

HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES SPECIAL EVENTS IN CONJUNCTION WITH AYAD AKHTAR’S PROVOCATIVE AND MOVING DRAMA THE WHO & THE WHAT

(BOSTON) – In conjunction with its upcoming production of The Who & the What theHuntington Theatre Company will host a number of special events and post-show conversations. Admission to onsite post-show events is free with a ticket to The Who & the What, available at huntingtontheatre.org/whowhat by phone at 617 266 0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont Street) and BU Theatre (264 Huntington Avenue) box offices. Tickets start at $25. Performances begin Friday, March 31, 2017 at the South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.

AN INTERFAITH CONVERSATION ON HEAD COVERING WITH BARBARA SAHLI AND HUNTINGTON INSTITUTIONAL GIVING MANAGER DIANA JACOBS-KOMISAR
Sunday, April 2 after the 7pm performance
Join Barbara Sahli, Huntington Institutional Giving Manager Diana Jacobs-Komisar, and Huntington dramaturg Charles Haugland for an interfaith conversation on head covering after the 7pm performance of The Who & the What on April 2.

Diana Jacobs-Komisar is the institutional giving manager at the Huntington, where she works to maximize community support for the Huntington’s onstage and educational work. In her “spare time,” she volunteers with Interfaith Action Network in her Sharon community, NuDay Syria, and Sister District. While living in Israel, Ms. Jacobs-Komisar worked in religious peacebuilding and founded a theatre company dedicated to social justice. She has an MFA from Yale School of Drama, a BA in International and Intercultural Studies from Goucher College, and is pursuing a rabbinical degree from Yeshivat Har’el, one of the first Orthodox Jewish institutions to ordain women. 

Barbara Sahli is an educator and consultant with over 15 years of experience in teaching, outreach, and public speaking. She delivers numerous presentations for educators, students, and others seeking greater understanding of Islam from a Muslim’s perspective. A former middle school language arts teacher, she received her EdM from Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Human Development and Psychology program, focusing on anti-bias education and positive intergroup relations. Recently, she launched the Muslim Youth Voices project to collect counter-narratives written by young Muslims about their experiences in the US which she shares in interactive workshops. She co-authored a chapter in Muslim Voices in School: Narratives of Identity and Pluralism, winner of the National Association for Multicultural Education’s Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award in 2010. For two years, she was a Muslim Community Fellow in the CIRCLE program (Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education) at Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College. She currently serves on the board of directors of Kids4Peace Boston, a peace leadership program for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim teens.

A CONVERSATION WITH PLAYWRIGHT AYAD AKHTAR AND WBUR’S SENIOR ARTS ENGAGEMENT PRODUCER LOUISE KENNEDY
Thursday, April 6 after the 7:30pm performance
Join Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar and WBUR’s Senior Arts Engagement Producer Louise Kennedy for a post-show discussion after the 7:30pm performance of The Who & the What on April 6.

Ayad Akhtar is the author of Disgraced which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play for its Broadway run, and was produced at the Huntington in its 2015-2016 season. He is a novelist and author of American Dervish, published in over 20 languages worldwide. His plays The Who & the What and The Invisible Hand received Off Broadway runs and are currently being produced around the world and his play Junk will be produced on Broadway this fall. Mr. Akhtar was listed as the most produced playwright for the 2015-2016 season by American Theatre magazine. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Djerassi, the Sundance Institute, Ucross, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is also a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop. Mr. Akhtar is currently the resident playwright with Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater.

Louise Kennedy is the senior arts engagement Producer at WBUR, working to build connections with Boston’s arts community. She previously launched and led Edify, WBUR's home for education coverage, and  joined WBUR in 2012 as director of community engagement, overseeing WBUR's live events and other direct, local forms of connecting with the audience. Before joining WBUR, Ms. Kennedy was a longtime editor and writer at The Boston Globe, most recently as theatre critic. She has also worked at newspapers and magazines around New England. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Ms. Kennedy holds a bachelor's degree in history from Yale College. She is the co-author, with Linda K. Rath, EdD, of The 'Between the Lions' Book for Parents: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn to Read and has taught journalism at Emerson College.

ACTORS FORUMS
Thursday, April 13 after the 10am performance (student matinee)
Thursday, April 20 after the 7:30pm performance
Wednesday, April 26 after the 2pm performance

Meet participating members of the cast of The Who & the What and ask them your questions at the Actors Forum, following the performance.

STUDENT MATINEE
Thursday, April 13 at 10am

Recommended for students in grades 9-12. Tickets: $15. Includes pre-show in-school visit, curriculum guide, post-show Actors Forum, and Dramatic Returns card for each student. Call Manager of Education Operations Meg O’Brien at mobrien@huntingtontheatre.org or 617 273 1558 for more information.

STAGE SOURCE PARITY PARTY WITH DIRECTOR M. BEVIN O’GARA AND MEMBERS OF THE WHO & THE WHAT CREATIVE TEAM 
Thursday, April 13 after the 7:30pm performance
Join Huntington associate producer and director of The Who & the What M. Bevin O’Gara, composer Saraswathi Jones, and costume designer Mary Lauve, and scenic designer Cristina Todesco  for a post-show discussion about the development and inspiration for The Who & the What following the 7:30pm performance as part of StageSource Night/Parity Party. 

Parity Parties are held in honor of productions in Boston that center on women’s stories, create access for women artists, and spread the word and work of creative women in Boston theatre.

M. Bevin O’Gara is the associate producer at the Huntington Theatre Company, and was director of Kirsten Greenidge’s Milk Like Sugar (Elliot Norton Award nomination for Best Production) and Melinda Lopez’s Becoming Cuba. Other directing credits include appropriate, A Future Perfect, Tribes (Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for Best Production), and Clybourne Park (SpeakEasy Stage Company), Brahman/i, Chronicles of Kalki; You for me for You; Love Person; and The Pain and the Itch (Company One Theatre), Phedre (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Fast Company (Lyric Stage Company), Marjorie Prime (Nora Theatre Company), How Soft the Lining and Translations (Bad Habit Productions), Matt and Ben (Central Square Theater), Two Wives in India and Gary (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), 2.5 Minute Ride (New Repertory Theatre), Othello and The Crucible (New Rep On Tour), Melancholy Play (Holland Productions), Tattoo Girl, Painting You, and Artifacts (Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop), and ANTI-KISS (3 Monkeys Theatrical Productions). She has also worked with New Repertory Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre of Dublin, and the Actors Centre of Australia, and is the recipient of the Lois Roach Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Boston Theatre Community from Company One Theatre. She has a BFA from Boston University in theatre studies. mbevinogara.com.

Saraswathi Jones is a Boston musician and purveyor of postcolonial pop. Her work draws from the well of South Asian history, culture, and aesthetics and reflects on life in immigrant America. She released the solo EP Lingua Franca in 2013, and fronts Boston band Awaaz  Do, who released their debut EP Kite Fight in 2016 and received an Iguana Music Fund grant in 2017 to record their next album. Ms. Jones co-produces Hindie Rock Fest — an annual music festival in Cambridge featuring South Asian American artists from a broad array of genres – and currently serves as board president of Girls Rock Campaign Boston, a feminist non-profit empowering girls through musical performance and education. saraswathijones.com.

Mary Lauve designed the costumes for the Huntington’s production of Can You Forgive Her? and has collaborated with other designers in over seventy productions as the company’s resident assistant. Recent regional designs include The Winter’s Tale and Phedre (Actors’ Shakespeare Project), Tribes and Clybourne Park (SpeakEasy Stage Company), and Intimate Apparel (Brandeis University). Ms. Lauve studied theatre at Boston College and Emerson College, and design at The Art Institute of Boston.

Cristina Todesco (Scenic Design) previously designed Milk Like Sugar, Circle Mirror Transformation (one of the three plays she designed in The Shirley, Vermont Play Festival), The Long and Winding Road, and The Atheist for the Huntington. Recent designs include Chill (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), Hand to God (SpeakEasy Stage Company), Red Noses (Boston Conservatory at Berklee), and The Totalitarians (Gloucester Stage Company). Other theatre credits include productions at the ART Institute, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Harbor Stage Company, Israeli Stage, Lyric Stage Company, Olney Theatre Center, Orfeo Group, Stoneham Theatre, Summer Play Festival, Wheelock Family Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Culture Project, and Opera Boston. She is a four-time recipient of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design for The Clean House (New Repertory Theatre); The Aliens and The Flick (Company One Theatre); and Twelfth Night (Actors’ Shakespeare Project). Ms. Todesco is an MFA graduate of Boston University’s School of Theatre Arts where she also teaches.

HUNTINGTON COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP INITIATIVE RECEPTION
Thursday, April 20 at 6pm

A pre-show reception with refreshments for members of the Huntington Community Membership Initiative. Community Membership is an initiative designed to reduce the cost barrier of attending live theatre for those with limited income and to diversify the audiences so they better reflect the city of Boston. Members can purchase best-available tickets to any performance without restriction for just $20. Membership is free and available through partnerships with agencies and organizations that serve limited-income populations.

Bank of America is the Season Sponsor of the Huntington Community Membership Initiative. Made possible by a grant from Theatre Communications Group.

35 BELOW WRAP PARTY
Friday, April 21, following the 8pm performance

A post-show party for young patrons aged 35 and below, featuring backstage access, free refreshments, and entertainment. Mingle with members of the cast, creative team, and Huntington staff. Plus, meet other young theatre lovers in Boston! 35 Below tickets are available at all performances to patrons 35 and under for just $30.

A CONVERSATION WITH MUSLIM CHAPLAIN SHAREDA HOSEIN 
Saturday, April 22 after the 2pm performance
Join Muslim Chaplain Shareda Hosein and Huntington dramaturg Charles Haugland for a post-show discussion after the 2pm performance of The Who & the What on April 22. 

Shareda Hosein served in the military for 35 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserves. She holds a master’s degree in Islamic studies, a graduate certificate in Islamic chaplaincy from the Hartford Seminary, and is trained in clinical pastoral education. She was the first Muslim chaplain at Tufts University and currently serves as a community Muslim chaplain for the Greater Boston area. Co-founder of the Association of Muslim Chaplains, Ms. Hosein has also authored several peer-reviewed publications on the art of peacemaking, including a book chapter in, Spirituality, Women, and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power.

HUMANITIES FORUM
Sunday, April 23, after the 2pm performance
Join Muslim Chaplain Mary Lahaj and Huntington dramaturg Charles Haugland for an in-depth discussion about The Who & The What, following the 2pm matinee performance on Sunday, April 23. 

Mary Lahaj was the first Muslim chaplain on staff at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Simmons College, and Groton School. She holds a Master’s degree in Religious studies from the Hartford Seminary, studied Middle East history at Harvard University, and currently works as a freelance writer. She has written about her experiences and been published in two book chapters, numerous op-eds, magazines, peer-reviewed journals, and conference proceedings, which have been frequently cited. Ms. Lahaj comes from a longline of pioneers. Her family has been practicing Islam in America for more than 100 years, since migrating from Lebanon. They helped found the oldest mosque in New England (1964), where her grandfather was the first Imam.

A WRITING WORKSHOP WITH HUNTINGTON PLAYWRIGHT-IN-RESIDENCE MELINDA LOPEZ
Presented by the Huntington’s 35 Below program
Saturday, April 29, doors open at 4pm
Inspired by novelist Zarina and the risks and responsibilities of controversial writing explored in The Who & the What, the Huntington’s 35 Below program hosts a writing workshop with Playwright-in-Residence Melinda Lopez. Drawing from writing exercises, prompts, and games, Ms. Lopez will guide participants on a discovery of monologue, dialogue, and writing from the gut. Whether you’re a current writer or an avid theatregoer, you are welcome to be a part of this event — no previous writing experience necessary. Bring a notebook and pen and a willingness to experiment, and we will provide the wine! More information about reserving a spot in this workshop will be announced soon. 

AN ARTWEEK EVENT: A CONVERSATION WITH BOSTON UNIVERSITY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR BETTY ANDERSON 
Saturday, April 29 after the 2pm performance
As part of Boston’s ArtWeek, join Boston University associate professor and author Betty Anderson and Huntington literary apprentice Sarah Schnebly for a post-show discussion after the 2pm performance of The Who & the What on April 29. 

Betty Anderson is the author of Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State (University of Texas Press, 2005), The American University of Beirut: Arab Nationalism and Liberal Education (University of Texas Press, 2011), and the forthcoming A History of the Modern Middle East: Rulers, Rogues, and Rebels (Stanford University Press, Spring 2016), as well as a co-author with Carol Berkin of the History Handbook (Houghton-Mifflin 2003 and Cengage 2011). Dr. Anderson has published articles in Civil Wars, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Critique, and Jordanies, as well as chapters for a number of edited volumes. She has written about the themes covered by Islamic and history textbooks used in Jordan, the politicizing role of education in the twentieth-century Middle East history, and the evolution of the American liberal education system at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her latest project examines the economic, educational, political, and social changes that have come to Beirut, Amman, and Ramallah over the last 25 years. Dr. Anderson has received Fulbright and American Center for Oriental Research (ACOR) grants to conduct research in Jordan and Lebanon. At Boston University she is director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, as well as the Institute’s advisor to the two Muslim studies minors.

A CONVERSATION WITH SIMMONS COLLEGE ASSISTANT PROFESSOR SAHER SELOD
Sunday, April 30 after the 2pm performance 
Join Simmons College assistant professor Saher Selod and Huntington dramaturg Charles Haugland for a post-show discussion after the 2pm performance of The Who & the What on April 30. 

Saher Selod is an assistant professor in the department of sociology at Simmons College. She joined the department of sociology in 2012 after completing her PhD at Loyola University, Chicago. Her research interests are in race, ethnicity, and religion. Her research examines how Muslim Americans experience racialization in the United States. She specifically focuses on how Muslim men and Muslim women experience gendered forms of racialization through their surveillance by the state and by private citizens. She co-edited a special issue in Critical Sociology on Islamophobia and the racialization of Muslims. She has published several articles in journals such as Sociology Compass and Critical Sociology. She is currently working on her book manuscript and a co-authored publication on the Boston Marathon bombings. At Simmons, she teaches courses on social inequalities, research methods, Islamophobia, and gender and Islam. She has served as the newsletter editor for the Humanist Sociologist from 2012-2015, is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network and is an affiliated faculty member of the Islamophobia studies project at the University of California, Berkeley.

A CONVERSATION WITH BOSTON UNIVERSITY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SHAHLA HAERI 
Saturday, May 6 after the 2pm performance
Join Boston University associate professor Shahla Haeri and Huntington literary apprentice Sarah Schnebly for a post-show discussion after the 2pm performance of The Who & the What on May 6.

Shahla Haeri is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Boston University. She has conducted research in Iran, Pakistan, and India, and has written extensively on religion, law, and gender dynamics in the Muslim world. She is the author of No Shame for the Sun: Lives of Professional Pakistani Women (Syracuse University Press in the United States and Oxford University Press in Pakistan, 2004) and Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage, Mut’a, in Iran (1989, 1993). She was involved in the University of Chicago’s multi-year program on global fundamentalism, Fundamentalism Project, which was funded by a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur grant, and contributed an article to the second volume, “Obedience versus Autonomy: Women & Fundamentalism in Iran & Pakistan” (1993). Dr. Haeri was also the director of the women’s studies program from 2001-2010. She has been awarded several grants and postdoctoral fellowships, including one for women’s studies in religion at Harvard Divinity School (2005–2006), Fulbright (1999–2000, 2002–2003), St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University (1996), Social Science Research Council (1987–1988), and others. Dr. Haeri made a short video documentary entitled “Mrs. President: Women and Political Leadership in Iran,” focusing on six women presidential contenders in Iran in 2001. This documentary is distributed in the United States and Canada by the Films for the Humanities and Sciences (films.com, 2002).

POST-SHOW AUDIENCE CONVERSATIONS
After Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evening performances and Saturday and Sunday matinees through April 30.
An opportunity for audience members to discuss what they have just seen. Led by members of the Huntington staff.

PRODUCTION INFORMATION AND CALENDAR
WHEN
March 31 – May 7, 2017
               Select Evenings: Tues. – Thurs. at 7:30pm; Fri. – Sat. at 8pm; select Sun. at 7pm
               Matinees: Select Wed., Sat., and Sun. at 2pm
               Days and times vary; see complete schedule below.
Press Opening: Wednesday, April 5, 7pm. RSVP online.

WHERE
South End/Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston

TICKETS
Single tickets starting at $25 and FlexPasses are on sale:

  • online at huntingtontheatre.org;
  • by phone at 617 266 0800; or
  • in person at the BU Theatre Box Office, 264 Huntington Ave. and the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Box Office, 527 Tremont St. in Boston’s South End.

Select discounts apply:

  • $5 off: seniors
  • $10 off: subscribers and BU community (faculty/staff/alumni)
  • $30 “35 Below” tickets for patrons 35 years old and younger (valid ID required)
  • $20 student and military tickets (valid ID required)

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