Rasaka Theatre Co.Announces Midwest Premiere Production of “A Nice Indian Boy” at Victory Gardens

_wsb_483x205_Golden+Ticket1Rasaka Theatre Company, in residence at Victory Gardens Theater, today announced the Midwest premiere production of Madhuri Shekar’s critically-acclaimed A Nice Indian Boy, directed by Anna Bahow. A Nice Indian Boy tells the story of an immigrant South Asian American family’s struggles with gay culture, expectations of marriage, and the idea of love.

“Rasaka is proud to be a part of the Resident Theater Program and of Victory Gardens’ diverse and inspiring artistic community,” Rasaka’s Producing Artistic Director Kamal Hans said.   “We are excited about producing A Nice Indian Boy, an emotional piece that tackles the tough matters of gender, identity, love and marriage, with a humor and honesty that audiences will appreciate.”

A Nice Indian Boy is a romantic comedy with familiar tropes — that are anything but familiar when immigrant assimilation collides with the adoption of a foreign heritage,”  Director Anna C. Bahow said.  “The play challenges our traditional concepts of ethnicity and marriage. Shekar has such respect for her characters and the humor is generous to all.”

Critics have weighed in on A Nice Indian Boy:

LA Times:

“Modern Family” goes Bollywood in “A Nice Indian Boy,”…a stalwart premiere… devour it like homemade palak paneer.

StageScene LA:

“… Shekar puts a fresh, multicultural, same-sex spin on the classic romantic… dramedy A Nice Indian Boy, one of the best original plays I’ve seen at East West Players, a romcom that had me at “Hello,” or in the case of Naveen and Keshav, at “Om.”

LA Downtown News:

“… Shekar shows strong signs of creativity…. A Nice Indian Boy… presents underrepresented voices…. Love’s failures and successes are the same no matter who you are.”

Production Info:

A Nice Indian Boy — Midwest Premiere

February 12 – March 8, 2015

Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; Sunday at 3:30 pm

Purchase tickets: www.victorygardens.com and www.rasakatheatre.com

A Nice Indian Boy will feature Rasaka Theatre Co. members Kamal Hans* and Alka Nayyar*, as well as Chicago actors Kaiser Ahmed, Suzan Faycurry, and Riley McIlveen.

*Denotes actors represented by the Actors’ Equity Association.

Biographies:

Kamal Hans, Rasaka Producing Artistic Director:

Kamal’s “day job” is Chief Operating Officer for Zarda King Ltd. (one of the largest distributors of South Asian products in the US).  Kamal’s focus with Rasaka is to help enable South Asian storytelling with authenticity.  He is thrilled to act/produce Rasaka’s second show as part of the Victory Gardens residency.   Kamal just appeared in Chicago PD and upcoming in Showtime’s Shameless and feature film Consumed.  Recent theatre work includes:   Invasion! (Silk Road),  Disconnect (Victory Gardens), Much Ado About Nothing (Rasaka).  Favorite roles: Mayor in Fuckin’ A (Urban Theater), Marius in Fanny and Caliban in Shakespeare’s Tempest (ITC), Devendra in MerchantOn Venice (Silk Road), Salieri in Amadeus and Anatoly in Chess (Phoenix).  Studies: the Theatre School, Julliard, RADA, U of C, Loyola and IWU.

Alka Nayyar, Rasaka Associate Artistic Director:

Alka’s work includes Goodman Theatre and Huntington Theatre’s Disney-based The Jungle Book, Jeff-nominated choreography for Rasaka Theatre’s The Masrayana, Silk Road Rising’s Merchant on Venice, Vitalist Theatre’s A Passage to India, Halcyon Theatre’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Lifeline Theatre’s The Piano Tuner, Remy Bumppo Theatre’s thinkTank series, Stage Left Theatre’s LeapFest: Thirst, Theatre-Hikes’Around the World in 80 Days, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Pacific Overtures, Rasaka’s Yoni Ki Baat, Chicago Humanities Festival’s A Night at the Oscars, and the Art Institute’s After Dark with Collaboraction.  Alka teaches dance at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and leads Chitrahar, organization dedicated to promoting South Asian cultural awareness and diversity through the performing arts. She is communications professsional at the State of Illinois with a BA in Linguistics from the University of Chicago.

Playwright Madhuri Shekar:

Madhuri Shekar is a playwright based in Los Angeles, born in the Bay Area, and brought up in Chennai, India. 2014 saw the world premiere of two of her plays – In Love and Warcraft (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta) and A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players, Los Angeles.) Shekar was the 2013/14 winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award and an alumnus of the 2013/14 Center Theatre Group Writers’ Workshop, and was a finalist for the 2013 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting and the 2013 Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center. Her plays have been showcased or developed at the Kennedy Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Shekar received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC.

Director Anna C. Bahow:

Committed to the development of new work and a diversity of voices, Anna C. Bahow is an Associate Artist with The International Voices Project and Chicago Dramatists. Bahow served as the 2011-2012 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow at Goodman Theatre. She has received an After Dark Award for direction and her productions have received JEFF Awards for New Work and Use of Multi-Media. Her work has appeared on many best of the year lists including 2013’s INVASION! at Silk Road Rising. Other recent work includes Scott Barsotti’s Brewed and Maureen Gallagher’s Jeff nominated Comrades Mine. More about her work at AnnaBahow.com

About Rasaka

Rasaka Theatre Company is a proud member of Victory Gardens Theater’s Inaugural Resident Theater Program.  Rasaka is based in Chicago and is the Midwest’s first South Asian American ensemble. Our goal is to increase diversity among artists and audience by engaging and illuminating the South Asian American experience. We are particularly dedicated to providing a platform for the artistic expression of South Asian artists.  Our vision encompasses the production of theatrical projects – newly created, adapted and already established. We aim to broaden, strengthen and enrich the experience of the theatre going audience thereby enhancing the local, regional, national and international reputation of Chicago theatre. Visit us at: www.rasakatheatre.com.