A Free Virtual Reading of Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem

A Free Virtual Reading of Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem
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A Free Virtual Reading of Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem

A Deeply Moving and Relatable Story about a “Normal” Muslim American Family

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s new play development initiative, SCOUT is pleased to present A Virtual Reading of Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem on Sunday, March 28th at 2pm CST. The free reading follows a 30-hour workshop process directed by Arti Ishak. Two works have previously been developed with SCOUT: the first was La Ruta by Isaac Gómez, which went on to receive its world premiere in 2019 directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez, and the second was Bald Sisters by Vichet Chum, which was subsequently slated for Steppenwolf’s 2020/2021 season and has been delayed for a future production. Steppenwolf is thrilled to have the opportunity to develop Mosque4Mosque as the third project in this process.

Ibrahim is the average 30-something Queer Arab American Muslim. Normal job, quiet life, easy men. Between dodging reminders of how unmarried he is from his relentlessly caring immigrant mother and helping raise his smart, popular, hijabi cheerleading sister, Ibrahim has always found comfort sinking into the background. But when his mother sees a glimpse of what could be his first real relationship, she feels compelled to take Ibrahim’s future into her own hands by seeking out the perfect man for him to marry. Mosque4Mosque is a comedy about a normal Muslim American family that asks us to wrestle with what we believe normal to be.

Pictured Director Arti Ishak and Playwright Omer Abbas Salem

Pictured Director Arti Ishak and Playwright Omer Abbas Salem

I wrote Mosque4Mosque to reimagine my experience with family, religion, and being queer. I also wanted to create a world in which Arab artists felt proud to exist, because I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt ashamed by what passes for our representation. I can’t thank Steppenwolf enough for the support and opportunity to uplift our voices and begin correcting a wrong in American theater,” shares Omer Abbas Salem.

The cast features Antoine Yared (Ibrahim); Rula Gardenier (Sara); Rom Barkhordar (Karim/Lawyer); Sahar Dika (Lena); Mark Junek (James); and Tommy Malouf (Stage Directions/Suitor). 

RSVPs are required. To reserve your free tickets, contact Audience Services at 312-335-1650 or fill out the RSVP formon Steppenwolf’s website here.

Creative Team Bios

Omer Abbas Salem is a Chicago actor and writer. As an actor his Chicago credits include Linda, Earthquakes in London(Steep Theatre); My Dear Hussein, INVASION! (Silk Road Rising); Even Longer and Further Away (The New Colony);Pinocchio (The House); Princess Mary (Bailiwick Chicago); and Washer/Dryer (Rasaka Theatre). Additional credits include A Christmas Carol,You Across From Me (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and Eddie and Dave (Off Broadway – The Atlantic Theater). His writing has been produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville, Jackalope Theater, The New Colony, National Queer Theater and The Goodman. His play, Being Julia Roberts was commissioned as part of Jackalope Theater’s 20/21 New Frontier series. The Secretaries was developed through the 20/21 Future Labs series at The Goodman Theatre and is a semi-finalist in Definition Theatre’s 20/21 Amplify Commission. He is a proud ensemble member of Steep Theatre and The New Colony, a founding member of MENASA MidWest, and was an Actors Theatre of Louisville apprentice 17/18. He is represented by DDO Chicago. www.omerabbassalem.com.

Arti Ishak is a Chicago based multidisciplinary artist and community organizer. Recent acting credits include Kiss (Haven); Witch, Buried Child (Writers); Men on Boats (American Theater Company); Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre); Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno (Second City); and A Story Told in Seven Fights (Neo-Futurists). TV: Chicago Med (NBC). Recent directing credits include short films Shukran Bas (Means to Produce) and Sun On Ice (Jackalope). Arti is a staff member with The Chicago Inclusion Project and an organizer with MENASA MidWest. She loves being an Ensemble Member with Sideshow Theatre and is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. www.artiishak.com

About SCOUT

Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s SCOUT is a new play development program dedicated to supporting new American plays by a diverse group of emerging and established playwrights who are new to Steppenwolf. Each year we select one project to receive a 30-hour workshop, during which the playwright works with one or more members of the Steppenwolf ensemble to develop their play. This initiative, which serves as an incubator for season programming, culminates in a public reading. La Ruta by Isaac Gómez, directed by ensemble member Sandra Marquez, was developed as part of SCOUT in the summer of 2017 and received its world premiere in 2019. SCOUT’s second offering, Bald Sisters by Vichet Chum, was workshopped in 2019 and originally slated as part of our 2020/2021 season, although that production has been postponed to a future season.

Sponsor Information

United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Steppenwolf. ComEd is the Official Season Lighting Sponsor. Steppenwolf Education Virtual Workshops are made possible by The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is a Chicago theater that is home to America’s ensemble. The company began performing in the mid-1970s in the basement of a Highland Park, IL church—today Steppenwolf is the nation’s premier ensemble theater with more than 50 members who are among the top actors, playwrights and directors in the field. Deeply rooted in its ensemble ethos, the company is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and making the Steppenwolf experience accessible to all. Groundbreaking productions from Balm in Gilead and August: Osage County to Downstate and Pass Over—and accolades that include the National Medal of Arts and 12 Tony® Awards—have made the theatre legendary. Artistic programming includes a main stage season, a Steppenwolf for Young Adults season, LookOut, a multi-genre performances series and Steppenwolf NOW, a new virtual programming stream. The nationally recognized work of Steppenwolf Education engages more than 20,000 participants annually in Chicagoland communities promoting compassion, encouraging curiosity and inspiring action. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, more than 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success nationally and internationally, including Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Sydney, Galway and Dublin. Anna D. Shapiro is the Artistic Director and E. Brooke Flanagan is the Executive Director. Eric Lefkofsky is Chair of Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees.

Steppenwolf’s mission

Steppenwolf strives to create thrilling, courageous and provocative art in a thoughtful and inclusive environment. We succeed when we disrupt your routine with experiences that spark curiosity, empathy and joy. We invite you to join our ensemble as we navigate, together, our complex world.

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