Chay Yew at Helm of Alaudin Ullah’s DISHWASHER DREAMS at Hartford Stage through March 20

Hartford Stage is presenting Dishwasher Dreams, written and performed by Alaudin Ullah. Helmed by Chay Yew, this timely comedy, which is presented in association with Writers Theatre and features live tabla music composed and performed by percussionist Avirodh Sharma, runs at the Tony Award-winning theatre in downtown Hartford through March 20, 2022. Previews began on February 24 and opening night is March 4.

Chay Yew (Director), Alaudin Ullah (Writer & Performer), and Avirodh Sharma (Musician, Composer, & Arranger) helm our production of DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Alaudin, a stand-up comedian whose family hails from Bangladesh, is in L.A. on the verge of success when a family crisis forces him back to New York. Deferring his dreams while confronting his family history, he takes us on a moving and hilarious journey from colonial India in the 1930s to Spanish Harlem in the 1970s and all the way to present-day Hollywood for his once-in-a-lifetime audition for a major film.

Avirodh Sharma & Alaudin Ullah in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

The production design team includes Yu Shibagaki (Scenic Designer), Izumi Inaba (Costume Designer), Anshuman Bhatia (Lighting Designer), Avirodh Sharma (Composer/Arranger), David Castellanos (Stage Manager), Christopher Andrew Rowe (Assistant Director), and Theresa Stark (Assistant Stage Manager).

Avirodh Sharma & Alaudin Ullah in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Dishwasher Dreams parallels comedian and actor Alaudin Ullah’s pursuit of the American dream with that of his immigrant parents. While Alaudin auditions for roles in a Hollywood that wants to consign Southeast Asians and Muslims into the stereotypical roles of background exotics and terrorists, his father travels from his village to Bangladesh to Spanish Harlem to find work as a dishwasher. Meanwhile Alaudin’s mother struggles to find her footing between the roles women are consigned to in Bangladesh and the promise of independence in the U.S. At turns hilarious, incisive, and uproarious, Dishwasher Dreams shows how the “Great American Melting Pot” is a delicious dream that requires some scrubbing. Ullah’s solo narrative is underscored by original tabla music performed by acclaimed percussionist Avirodh Sharma.

Avirodh Sharma & Alaudin Ullah in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Hartford Stage Artistic Director Melia Bensussen states, “The American experience is different for all of us. In Dishwasher Dreams, gifted performer and comedian Alaudin Ullah brings to life his parents’ immigration journey to America, as well as reflecting on what it means to be a first-generation Muslim-American growing up in Spanish Harlem. It was a revelation to me to learn of the Bangladeshi experience in New York, where Puerto Ricans and Bengalis and African-Americans met in the hallways of apartment buildings and inside busy bodegas. We are excited to invite you to hear more of these stories on our stage, and be a part of his journey of conciliation with his roots and his family.”

The cast and crew of DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Dishwasher Dreams runs in previews from February 24 through March 3. Opening Night is March 4 at 8pm. The production is set to run through March 20 with performances Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; and Sunday matinees at 2pm. There is a Saturday 2pm matinee on March 5 and 19. The Open Captioned performance is Sunday, March 13 at 2 pm. The Audio Described performance is Saturday, March 19 at 2 pm.

Avirodh Sharma & Alaudin Ullah in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

Tickets for Dishwasher Dreams are $30-$100 with discounts for youth age 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased by visiting HartfordStage.org, by calling (860) 527-5151, or by visiting the Hartford Stage Box Office at 50 Church Street, Hartford, CT from noon to 5pm.

Avirodh Sharma & Alaudin Ullah in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.

To keep actors, audiences, and staff safe, Hartford Stage requires masks to be worn throughout the performance, plus proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result upon entry. For more details, please visit hartfordstage.org/covid-19.

Avirodh Sharma & Alaudin Ullah in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.
Avirodh Sharma in DISHWASHER DREAMS. Photo by Michael Brosilow.
Lia Chang

Lia Chang loves to tell stories that are diverse and inclusive – as an actor, a multi-media content producer, award-winning filmmaker, and a performing arts photographer and documentarian. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. She stars in and is the Executive Producer for the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia has also appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. Along with an extensive career in Off-Broadway productions, favorite stage credits include her debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet and playing Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago. www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com

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