Cast – The Invisible Hand | English Theatre Frankfurt

Cast – The Invisible Hand

Mujahid Abdul-Rashid (Imam Saleem) 

This will make the second time that I have played Imam Saleem in The Invisible Hand. The first time was last year at The American Theater Company in St. Pete’s, Florida. I won a “Best Featured Actor” award for my effort. I have been in seven August Wilson plays. Other theater credits include Troy in Fences (twice, most recently at The Short North Theater, Columbus); Becker in Jitney, Bynum in Joe Turner’s Come And Gone (The American Stage Co, Florida); Hedley in Seven Guitars (The Artist Rep, Portland); Memphis Lee in Two Trains Running (Theater Works, Palo Alto); Doaker in The Piano Lesson, Doub in Jitney (The Portland Playhouse, Portland); Caesar Wilks (The Cygnet Theater, San Diego); and Canewell in Seven Guitars (The Lorraine Hansberry Theater, San Francisco). I also played five different roles in James Baldwin’s short story Sonny’s Blues (Word For Word Theater Co, San Francisco and France).

Jameal Ali  (Bashir)

Jameal was born and raised in London, and has been based in New York since 2014. Off Broadway he appeared in the Lucille Lortel Award and Obie award winning production of The Invisible Hand at New York Theatre Workshop. Other notable stage credits include: Romeo and Juliet (Classical Theatre of Harlem); and The Invisible Hand (Westport Country Playhouse), where he was nominated for a 2017 Connecticut Critics Circle Award; Titus Andronicus (Rosemead); Murmuring Judges, Our Country’s Good, Bodas De Sangre (Soulfire Theatre); Yerma and Tartuffe (The People’s Palladium); Troilus and Cressida (The Cockpit Theatre). Film and Television credits include: Hunted (BBC), Spooks (BBC), Swan’s Cry (Flex/Red Circle), Yolk White Shell (Going Nowhere).

Sarang Sharma  (Dar) 

NYC based actor Sarang Sharma recently graduated from the William Esper Studio two year conservatory program where he was trained to act for stage and film. In addition to being a Meisner trained actor, Sarang is also a poet and writer, and enjoys producing plays and short comedic sketches for Putnam Manor Productions. On weekends you may find Sarang working as a Clown at children’s birthday parties and celebrations- which is the best way to afford New York rent payments in his opinion.  Sarang is thrilled to be a representative of the budding new talent of first generation American artists and looks forward to collaborating with artists of all backgrounds to promote the new American Dream. I would like to thank everyone involved with the production of The Invisible Hand, and all my teachers and mentors − especially Bruce McCarty − and my first teachers and biggest supporters, my parents. 

John Tufts (Nick Bright) 

John Tufts is thrilled to be visiting Frankfurt, and performing at ETF for the first time.  He trained at B.F.A., Carnegie Mellon University. Off-Broadway credits include: Pride and Prejudice (Primary Stages); Virtual Meditation (Ensemble Studio Theater);  Fashions for Men (Mint Theatre).  Chicago credits include:  Love’s Labor’s Lost and the epic 6 part history cycle, Tug of War (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). He spent 12 seasons with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival:  Hal/Henry V in Henry IV pts. 1, 2, and Henry V, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Into the Woods, Equivocation (World Première, also at Arena Stage, Seattle Rep), The Belle’s Stratagem, and many more. Other credits include: The Cocoanuts (The Guthrie Theater); Seagull (Marin Theatre Company); The Glass Menagerie (PlayMakers Repertory Company);  I Am My Own Wife (Ensemble Theater Company).  

Film/Television: Bad Teacher, Fashions for Men (PBS), Dangers of a Broken Car, BAQ-132. Awards: Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting; Indy Award for I Am My Own Wife; Wall St. Journal Best of 2016 for Tug of War. www.john-tufts.com 

Jonathan Fox (Director)

Jonathan joined ETC in 2006. He adapted and directed ETC’s recent production of Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives. His other ETC productions include Porgy and Bess, Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, Woyzeck, Amadeus, A Little Night Music, The Liar, Crime and Punishment, and a dozen others. He directed Opera Santa Barbara’s 2014 production of The Consul at the Granada Theatre. He has collaborated with the Santa Barbara Symphony on their Shakespeare and Valentine’s Day concerts. In 2016, he directed ETC’s production of Bad Jews, which traveled to Germany for the play’s German premiere. Other European productions include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, A Streetcar Named Desire, Visiting Mr. Green, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The English Theatre Frankfurt, and Old Wicked Songs, Crimes of the Heart, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Vienna English Theatre. Before joining ETC, Mr. Fox spent 12 years with Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, which he helped establish in 1994. He served as Managing Director of the company from 1994-99, and subsequently became its Artistic Director. For Two River, he directed their recent world premiere production of Lives of Reason. His production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg was profiled in American Theatre Magazine, as was his festival of work by Samuel Beckett. His directing work has been seen in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cologne, and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Variety, the LA Times, and other publications. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and is a recipient of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellowship. He has served as an adjunct faculty member in theater departments at UCSB, Columbia University, University of Utah, and Monmouth University.

Charlie Corcoran (Set Designer)

Regional theatre designs include: Bad Jews (Ensemble Theatre Company/English Theatre of Frankfurt); A Comedy of Tenors (Outer Critics Circle Award, Cleveland Playhouse/McCarter Theatre); Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (The Goodman Theatre); The Barber Of Seville, The Marriage Of Figaro (The McCarter Theatre); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Absurd Person Singular, Lives of Reason (Two River Theatre); Without Walls (Center Theatre Group); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Buck’s County Playhouse). NY scenic designs include: The Seafarer, Shining City, The Weir and The Quare Land (Origin, First Irish Award); The Emperor Jones (Hewes design award nomination, at the Irish Repertory Theatre); Billy and Ray (Vineyard Theatre); Straight (Acorn Theatre); Craving for Travel (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre); The Last Smoker In America (Westside Theatre); A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane); The Bully Pulpit (Beckett Theatre) and Exits and Entrances (Primary Stages). Recent opera designs include: Fidelio (Santa Fe Opera); The Bartered Bride, Cosi Fan Tutte (co-production Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard); Katya Kabanova, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni (Juilliard); L’Opera Seria (Wolftrap Opera); The Magic Flute, The Bartered Bride (Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara); The Turn of the Screw (Opera Columbus). TV design work includes: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS), Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon), Believe (NBC), Madam Secretary (CBS).

Dianne K. Graebner (Costume Designer)

Dianne received her MFA in Costume/Set Design from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has designed and created costumes nationwide in theater, film and television. Off Broadway – Church & State at New World Stages. For The English Theatre, Frankfurt, Germany – Bad Jews. For Ensemble Theatre Company, she designed Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Husbands & Wives, Syncopation, Chapter Two, Macbeth, Fallen Angels (Indy Award), Bad Jews, Women in Jeopardy!, Sweeney Todd, Venus in Fur, Amadeus, Intimate Apparel, Red, The Best Brothers, Frankie and Johnny, Opus and Bell, Book and Candle. She is a member of Circle X Theatre Co. and designed their productions of The Flu Season, Eurydice, The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder, Chinese Massacre and was nominated for an Ovation Award for her work on The Brothers Karamazov and an L.A. Weekly award for Battle Hymn. A few of her recent credits include: Ay, Carmela! (Hudson); Breath and Imagination (Virginia Stage Co.); Best of Enemies, The Fabulous Lipitones, What I Learned in Paris, Breath and Imagination (NAACP nomination), The Road to Appomattox, Sex and Education, Falling for Make Believe and others (Colony Theatre); Dogeaters and Clay (Kirk Douglas Theatre); A Delicate Balance (The Odyssey Theatre); The Happiest Song Plays Last and Bright Light City (LATC); opening and closing weeks of 365 Days/365 Plays (Center Theatre Group); Dying City (Ovation Winner – Production of the Year, Rogue Machine Theatre Co.) and the original Los Angeles production of Philosophy of the World, The Shaggs. www.diannegraebner.com.

Jean-Yves Tessier (Lighting Designer)

 Jean-Yves is a primate with a single opposable thumb. He hails from the cold reaches of Canada and once had a sexy French accent. He has since lost it. If found please take good care of it. Selected credits include: for 3D Theatricals (Fullerton, CA) Ragtime (2015 Ovation Award Nominee), Parade (2013 Ovation Award Nominee), Hairspray Actors Co-Op (Hollywood, CA), Turn of the Screw (2017 Ovation Award Nominee). For McCoy-Rigby Entertainment (La Mirada, CA): Boeing Boeing, Ring of Fire (2012 Ovation Award Nominee), Smokey Joe’s Cafe. A Noise Within (Pasadena, CA): Antigone, Arcadia, DOMA (Hollywood, CA) American Idiot, Young Frankenstein (2015 Ovation Award Nominee). Bald Ego Productions (Toronto, Canada): Three Penny Epic Cabaret, To Damasacus. Ensemble Theatre Company (Santa Barbara, CA): The Housewives of Mannheim, Loot, In The Continuum. Remember the Alhecama!

Randall Robert Tico (Composer/Sound Designer)

This is Randall’s fourth original score and sound design for Ensemble Theatre Company, the others being Macbeth and Husbands & Wives (directed by Jonathan Fox) and Baby Doll (directed by Jenny Sullivan). Also with Sullivan is the ’18 world premiere of Jackie Unveiled at the Wallis. Other recent works include Astoria Part One & Two for Portland Center Stage, directed by Chris Coleman. More with Coleman and PCS are Othello, Anna Karenina, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline, The Imaginary Invalid and Snow Falling on Cedars. With director Nancy Keystone and Critical Mass Performance Ensemble are Apollo at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (Garland Award and an Ovation Award nomination);  Ameryka (2016 Ovation nomination); Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play (Theatre @ Boston Court), Antigone (Portland Center Stage for which he won a Drammy Award), The Ahkmatova Project, Dr. Faustus, The Rover, and Measure for Measure. Further works include Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, the vocal score for David Hare’s version of Mother Courage, and music and sound design for The Glass Menagerie, all directed by Jessica Kubzansky, original music for Magic Fruit (Cornerstone), Shishir Kurup director, and composer/sound designer for the ’14-’16 Launch Pad program @ UCSB with director Risa Brainin. 

Sam Lahne (Dramaturg)

Sam is a playwright and dramaturg who originally hails from Washington, DC, but is now happy to call Santa Barbara his home. He is thrilled to be working as the resident production dramaturg for Ensemble Theatre Company’s 2017-18 season. As a dramaturg, he has worked on the development and production of a number of plays, including the world premieres of Jonathan Fox’s adaptation of Husbands and Wives (ETC SB); Aaron Posner’s Stupid F-ing Bird (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, DC); and Mia Chung’s You for Me for You (Woolly Mammoth). He has served as the Literary Assistant at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC, and at New Dramatists in New York. Sam’s own plays have been produced and developed at theatres across the country, including the Playwrights’ Center (MN), Bay Area Playwrights Festival (CA), the Kennedy Center/National New Play Network (DC), Barter Theatre Company (VA), Scripps Ranch Theater (CA), and the Jewish Plays Project (NY). Sam received his BA from Vassar College and his MFA from the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Kenneth Merckx (Fight Choreographer)

Kenneth has choreographed fights and taught actors theatrical combat for film, television, theatre and universities all across the country. Ken is the resident fight choreographer for the Idaho & Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals, A Noise Within (Los Angeles) and the Great Lakes Theater (Cleveland). He is proud to have staged violence for the world premieres of Steven Dietz’s Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (Pasadena Playhouse); Jeffery Hatcher’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (San Jose Repertory); The Suicide Club (Arizona Theatre Company); Octavio Solis’ Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory); Jane Martin’s Somebody/Nobody, directed by Jon Jory (Arizona Theatre Company) and the theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (San Jose Repertory). Mr. Merckx received his MFA, in acting, from the University of Illinois and his BA, in theatre studies, from the University of Washington. He received an Ovation Award in 2013 for his fight choreography in A Noise Within’s production of Cymbeline.

Amy Lieberman, CSA (Casting Director))

Six-time Artios Award winner. Center Theatre Group, 1982–1990 and 1999–2006. Broadway (The Dinner Party, Flower Drum Song, Big River). Ongoing: Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara (10 seasons). Other: Reprise Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre, ACT, Denver Center, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, Rubicon, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Actors Theatre of Louisville, L.A. Theatre Works’ The Play’s the Thing series, North Coast Repertory and more. Film and TV throughout the 90’s. Visiting Associate Professor at UCLA’s MFA program 2007-2013.

Abigail Strange (Production Stage Manager)

Select Off-Broadway: What We Wanted (PSM); Philoctetes (PSM); Cagney (York Theatre, Asst. Director/SDC Observer); Clinton The Musical (Asst. Director); Tail! Spin! (Asst. Director); Ethel Sings (PSM); Here Lies Love (Public Theatre, PA); Murder for Two (New World Stages, PA). Select NYC: A Streetcar Named Desire (Carnegie Hall, PA); Lincoln Center Out of Doors & Midsummer Night’s Swing (Stage Manager). Select Regional: A Christmas Carol (Hangar Theatre, PSM); Spamilton (Royal George Theatre, PSM); Guys & Dolls (Bucks County Playhouse, PA).