Troy Iwata and Jonathan Raviv Lead New York Premiere of THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR at Abingdon through June 11

Abingdon Theatre Company is presenting the New York premiere of THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR, with music by Tim Rosser and book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, winners of 2015 Jonathan Larson and Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hartawards. Directed by Abingdon Theatre Company Artistic Director Tony Speciale, THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR plays four weeks only, now through June 11, at the June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street). Opening night is Thursday, May 25 at 7PM. Click here for tickets.

Jonathan Raviv and Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Jonathan Raviv and Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR is a modern-day love story set in rural Afghanistan. Paiman and Feda have spent their young lives as dancers in the world of bacha bazi, where wealthy men take in boys from poor families, train them to dance at parties, and often abuse them. The two boys’ chance meeting changes the course of their lives and sets them on a journey to find their independence in this musical fable about love, tradition, morality, and the strength of the human spirit.

Nikhil Saboo and Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Nikhil Saboo and Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

Troy Iwata (The Lightning Thief, TheatreWorksUSA) and Jonathan Raviv (The Band’s Visit, My Name Is Asher Lev) reprise their roles from the musical’s world premiere in San Diego. Completing the cast are Osh Ghanimah, Deven Kolluri, and Nikhil Saboo (The Transposed Heads, Public Theater).

Osh Ghanimah and Nikhil Saboo. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Osh Ghanimah and Nikhil Saboo. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR features music direction by David Gardos and choreography by Nejla Yatkin. The production has scenic design by Christopher Swader and Justin Swader; costume design by Andrea Lauer; lighting design by Wen-Ling Liao; sound design by Justin Graziani, props by Jerry Marsini; casting by Karie Koppel; and fight direction by Dan Renkin. Associate Director is Zi Alikhan and production consultant is Mejgan Afshan. Christopher Flores is Production Stage Manager. Michelle Viteri is Assistant Stage Manager.

A scene from The Boy Who Danced On Air at Abingdon. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
A scene from The Boy Who Danced On Air at Abingdon. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) festival in 2013 and received a Writers Residency Grant at New York Theatre Barn. In 2016, the musical had its world premiere at Diversionary Theatre in San Diego where it received the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Score. Pam Kragen, in the San Diego Union Times, called THE BOY WHO DANCED ON AIR “a solid, subtle, sad and often inspiring work that’s smartly staged by director Tony Speciale with a first-rate cast.”

Troy Iwata and Deven Kolluri. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Troy Iwata and Deven Kolluri. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Osh Ghanimah (Zemar) Select stage: Vagabond Trilogy Wkshp (The Public, NY), Refugia (The Guthrie), Sama, directed by Daniel Goldstein (Davenport Theater), Scheherazade: A New Musical (Prospect Theatre Co.), Made In The USA (Garis & Hahn), Mud (Dramanauts), Hansel & Gretel (ART),  (Moscow Art Theatre). TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Blacklist,” “Happyish,” “Deadbeat,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and “Law & Order: SVU”. Film: All We Had, starring and directed by Katie Holmes. Training: BA in Theatre and English Lit., BS in Secondary Ed, Loyola University Chicago; MFA in Acting, Harvard/ART. Osh is the recipient of a Harvard University Presidential Fellowship and served as a Guest Lecturer of Acting at the university’s Office of the Arts. He is a 2015 TEDxBroadway speaker and the Founder/CEO of Broadway For All. Gratitude for his rocks, Cyd and Harold at Cyd LeVin & Associates–and Harden-Curtis. All the love in the world to his mentor, Fred Zollo. oshghanimah.com / IG: @therealnycog

Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

Troy Iwata (Paiman). Off-Broadway debut! National tour: The Lightning Thief. Regional: The Boy Who Danced On Air, The Taming of the Shrew, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Ordinary Days. TV: “Quantico” (ABC), “Time After Time” (ABC), “Orange Is The New Black” (Netflix), “Truth Slash Fiction” pilot. Cast recordings: Island Song (Carner & Gregor). Love to Mom, Melissa & Trevor. Thanks to Innovative Artists & Chelsea. “Special” thanks to Tim & Charlie for creating this beautifully important and powerful show. http://www.troyiwata.com @mrtroyiwata

Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Troy Iwata. Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

Deven Kolluri (Unknown Man) is thrilled to join ATC with this unique and challenging piece. Recent companies include: John Engeman Theatre, NY Theatre Barn, American Classical Orchestra and Bronx Opera. Proud Oklahoma City University Alum. So much gratitude to the team and many thanks to the family and Sonny for you endless support.

Jonathan Raviv (Jahandar) is pleased to reprise his role as Jahandar after the world premiere in San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre. New York work includes: The Lightning Thief – The Percy Jackson Musical at the Lucille Lortel, The Band’s Visit at The Atlantic Theater (World Premiere), Martyrs Street at Theater For The New City (World Premiere), The Ragged Claws at Cherry Lane (World Premiere), Lies My Father Told Me with NYTF (New York Premiere) and My Name Is Asher Lev at the Westside Theatre (Outer Critics Circle award for Best Play). Other regional credits include: Love’s Labour’s Lost at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Fiddler On The Roof with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Oklahoma! at Portland Center Stage, Homebody/Kabul with Curious Theatre Company, Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep., The Chosen at Chicago’s Writers’ Theatre, Lady Madeline at Steppenwolf Theatre (World Premiere) and The Light In The Piazza at both Arena Stage & Goodman Theatre. Television credits include: “The Blacklist,” “Zero Hour” and “Pan Am”. @JonathanRaviv

Nikhil Saboo (Feda). Credits include: A Christmas Story: The Musical (Male Ensemble – National Tour), The Secret Garden (Fakir – Arden Theatre Co.) Bollywood & Vine (Bhuvan Bannerji), Resident Alien (Keith – APAC), Junie B. Jones (Sheldon), Beatsville (Claude – written by Glenn Slater and Wendy Leigh Wilf), The Little Mermaid (Flotsam), Sweet Smell of Success (Club Zanzibar Singer), Les Miserables (Courferac). NYU Steinhardt. CTG. Many thanks to family and friends! @niksaboo

Tim Rosser (Music) and Charlie Sohne (Book & Lyrics) are winners of the 2015 Jonathan Larson Award, ASCAP’s 2015 Mary Rodgers/Lorenz HartAward and the 2016 San Diego Critics Circle Award for Best Original Score. Their pilot, “Truth Slash Fiction,” won best comedy at SeriesFest and ITVFest. Their new song cycle will make its premiere with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra in February of 2018. Tim and Charlie were also 2014-15 Dramatists Guild Fellows, members of The Civilians’ Research & Development Group, and writers in the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and ASCAP’s Johnny MercerSongwriters Project. Their songs have been heard at their sold-out 54 Below show, Symphony Space, Birdland, Contemporary Classics at Seattle Rep, Cutting Edge Composers at Joe’s Pub, ALNM at Rockwell in Los Angeles, Above The Arts in London, a sold-out show at Broadway au Carre in Paris, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. They are currently working on a commission for New York City Children’s Theatre.

Tony Speciale (Director) joined Abingdon Theatre Company as its Artistic Director in October 2015. For Abingdon, he recently directed The Mother of Invention, written by James Lecesne, Jason O’Connell’s The Dork Knight, and Stet, which he conceived with playwright Kim Davies and actress Jocelyn Kuritsky. He is also the founder of Plastic Theatre-conceiving, co-authoring and directing the world premiere of Unnatural Acts (Classic Stage Company-Drama Desk Award nominee, GLAAD Media Award nominee). NYC directing credits: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Dixon Place/Westside Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Bebe Neuwirth, Christina Ricci and Taylor Mac (Classic Stage Company) and Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s Handbook for an American Revolutionary (The Gym at Judson). Regional: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Kirk Douglas Theatre/Bay Street Theater, Hartford Stage), Barry Manilow’s Harmony (ALLIANCE THEATRE/Ahmanson Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Tony served four seasons as Associate Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company, where he helped found and administered The Young Company, CSC’s premiere Education and Outreach Program for public high school students. He studied musical theatre at The Boston Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University. He is also the proud recipient of a Princess Grace Theatre Honorarium and a Suzi Bass Award.

ABINGDON THEATRE COMPANY is dedicated to developing and producing new work by emerging and established American artists. Under the artistic direction of Tony Speciale, who joined Abingdon in October 2016, the company provides a safe home where playwrights, directors and actors can collaborate within a supportive and nurturing environment. Abingdon Theatre Company searches for stories about the human experience that reflect our social, political, historical and cultural diversity. To date, the company has collaborated with more than 200 playwrights, produced 89 New York and world-premiere plays, presented more than 700 readings, staged over 175 ten-minute plays, and commissioned 6 one-act plays. Notable artists who have worked with Abingdon Theatre Company include Carl Andress, Bryan Batt, Reed Birney, Anne Bogart, Robert Brustein, Mario Cantone, Maxwell Caulfield, Dick Cavett, John Epperson, Jane Greenwood, Arthur Kopit, James Lecesne, Ralph Macchio, Roberta Maxwell, Charles L. Mee, Iddo Netanyahu, Jason O’Connell, Nancy Opel, Austin Pendleton, Sam Pinkleton, Marcia Rodd and Michael Weller. Abingdon’s 2014 production of Brian Richard Mori’s Hellman v. McCarthy, directed by founding artistic director Jan Buttram, was filmed and presented by WNET as part of its inaugural Theatre Close-Up series. www.AbingdonTheatre.org

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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