Arden Pala

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San Diego Theatre Critics Circle President Pam Kragen opens the 2018 Craig Noel Awards at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on Feb. 10, 2019. (Photo by Ion Moe)

2019 Craig Noel Awards date, location announced

SAN DIEGO [July 20, 2019] – The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle is pleased to announce the date and location of the 2019 Craig Noel Awards.

The awards will be presented from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in San Diego.

As in this year’s ceremony, tickets to the 2019 awards will be sold online via More details will be announced in the fall.

2018 Craig Noel Awards announced

SAN DIEGO [Feb. 12, 2019] – The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle is pleased to announce the winners of its 2018 Craig Noel Awards. Now in its 17th year, the Craig Noel Awards honor the achievements of professional theaters in San Diego County.

Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein is joined onstage by two cast members of "A Thousand Splendid Suns," Arden Pala and Mondis Vakili.
Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein is joined onstage by two cast members of "A Thousand Splendid Suns," Arden Pala and Mondis Vakili.

This year’s 28 awards were presented before an audience of more than 500 guests at the annual ceremony on Feb. 11, 2019, at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego.

Two productions were the big winners, earning four each.

The Old Globe’s “A Thousand Splendid Suns” won for Outstanding Dramatic Production, Direction, Lighting and Scenic Design.

Lamb’s Players Theatre’s production of “Once” earned awards for Outstanding Resident Musical, Ensemble, Musical Direction and Lead Performance By a Female in a Musical (Caitie Grady).

San Diego Repertory Theatre’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2” picked up two prizes for Outstanding Dramatic Production and Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play (Sofia Jean Gomez).

Anna Ziegler’s “The Wanderers,” produced by The Old Globe in its world premiere and directed by Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein, won the award for Outstanding New Play.

San Diego Repertory Theatre artistic director Sam Woodhouse, left, accepts the Outstanding Production award for "A Doll's House, Part 2," which he stage directed, with members of the show's cast.
San Diego Repertory Theatre artistic director Sam Woodhouse, left, accepts the Outstanding Production award for “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” which he stage directed, with members of the show’s cast. (Photo by Ion Moe)
First Look at the Stars of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe

First Look at the Stars of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe

San Diego's favorite holiday tradition, back for its 21st incredible year, is a wonderful, whimsical production that will once again jump right off the pages of the classic Dr. Seuss book and onto The Old Globe's stage. Back for its 20th incredible year, the family favorite features the songs "This Time of Year," "Santa for a Day," and "Fah Who Doraze," the delightful carol from the popular animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the last can of Who-hash.

CAST: Edward Watts (The Grinch), Tommy Martinez (Young Max), Steve Gunderson (Old Max), Sadie Tess Coleman and Leila Manuel (Cindy-Lou Who), Robert J. Townsend (Papa Who), Bets Malone (Mama Who), Larry Raben (Grandpa Who), Kyrsten Hafso Koppman (Grandma Who), Zoe Carnot and Audrey Fundingsland (Annie Who), Taylor Coleman and Bianca Rodriguez (Betty-Lou Who), Alexander Ikizyan and Sean Pope (Boo Who), and Gavin August and John Perry Wishchuk (Danny Who). The ensemble consists of Sophia Adajar, Joelle Dana Advento, Nicholas Alexander, Jacob Caltrider, Janaya Mahealani Jones, Hannah Lee, Lindsay Mains, Sarah Meahl, Mackenzie Nibbe, Arden Pala, Viviana Peji, Amare Phillips, Marcus Terrell Smith, Hailey Topolovac, Kelsey Venter, and Stella Grace Wahl, as well as James Vásquez (Swing).

CREATIVE TEAM: John Lee Beatty (Scenic Design), Robert Morgan (Costume Design), Pat Collins (Lighting Design), Paul Peterson (Sound Design), Anita Ruth (Orchestrator), Joshua Rosenblum (Vocal Arrangements and Incidental Music), David Krane (Dance Music Arranger), Caparelliotis Casting (Casting), and Jess Slocum (Production Stage Manager).

Noon to final curtain Tuesday through Sunday. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA accepted. (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623]. The Old Globe is located in San Diego's Balboa Park at 1363 Old Globe Way. Free parking is available throughout the park. Valet parking is also available ($14, advance reservation).

Photo Credit: Jim Cox.

Photo Flash: First Look at the Stars of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe

Sadie Tess Coleman and Leila Manuel appear as Cindy-Lou Who with Edward Watts as The Grinch

Photo Flash: First Look at the Stars of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe

(from left) Tommy Martinez appears as Young Max, Edward Watts as The Grinch, and Steve Gunderson as Old Max

Photo Flash: First Look at the Stars of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe

Sadie Tess Coleman and Leila Manuel appear as Cindy-Lou Who with Edward Watts as The Grinch

Photo Flash: First Look at the Stars of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe

Larry Raben appears as Grandpa Who, Kyrsten Hafso Koppman as Grandma Who, Bets Malone as Mama Who, and Robert J. Townsend as Papa Who

The Old Globe Announces Cast and Creative of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS

The Old Globe Announces Cast and Creative of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS

The Old Globe's 2017-2018 Season continues with today's announcement of the complete cast and creative team for the Southern California debut of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Ursula Rani Sarma's sweeping and deeply moving theatrical production based on the best-selling book by Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner). Directed by Carey Perloff and presented in association with American Conservatory Theater, A Thousand Splendid Suns will run May 12 - June 17, 2018 on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, Old Globe Theatre, Conrad Prebys Theatre Center. Tickets start at $30.00 and are on sale to the general public now. Previews run May 12-16. Opening night is Thursday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m.

The epic story of three generations of Afghan women and their remarkable resilience, A Thousand Splendid Suns is set in the war-torn neighborhoods of 1990s Kabul. When battle upends her family, beautiful Laila must seek shelter, first in the home and then in the arms of her older neighbor. Soon she forges an extraordinary and unlikely friendship with Mariam, her new husband's first wife. Summoning the strength to defy a tyrannical society, the two women seek hope and the promise of a better future. Adapted for the stage by acclaimed Irish Indian playwright Ursula Rani Sarma, this breathtaking new production features music from renowned composer David Coulter. The Huffington Post says, "There's no denying the play's power as well as the beauty of its staging and its exquisite musical backdrop," while the San Francisco Chronicle heralds its "epic splendor," writing that it "dazzles with its opulence and humanity."

The cast includes Denmo Ibrahim as Mariam (A Thousand Splendid Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary, BABA at New York Theatre Workshop); Lanna Joffrey as Fariba, Nana, and Doctor (The Profane at Playwrights Horizons, Sad and Merry Madness and Measure for Measure at The Public Theater); Haysam Kadri as Rasheed and Talib Soldier (Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary, The Revenant, "Hell on Wheels"); Joseph Kamal as Babi, Mullah Faizullah, Interrogator, and Zaman (Dinner at Eight at Lincoln Center Theater, Homebody/Kabul at New York Theatre Workshop); Jason Kapoor as Abdul Sharif, Jalil, and Wakil (Suns at A.C.T., Ideation Off Broadway); Nadine Malouf as Laila (Suns at A.C.T., Martyna Majok's queens at Lincoln Center's LCT3); Nikita Tewani as Aziza (Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary, "Falling Water"); Antoine Yared as Tariq and Soldier (Romeo inRomeo and Juliet at Stratford Festival, Edgar in King Lear in Toronto), Abraham German and Arden Pala alternating performances as Zalmai, and local ensemble members Mondis Vakili and Kris Zarif.

The creative team includes Ken MacDonald (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), Robert Wierzel (Lighting Design), Jake Rodriguez(Sound Design), David Coulter (Original Music), Stephen Buescher (Choreographer), Janet Foster, CSA (Casting), Haysam Kadri (Associate Director), and Elisa Guthertz (Production Stage Manager).

SINGLE TICKETS to A Thousand Splendid Suns start at $30.00 and are on sale to the general public now. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the Box Office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 29 years of age and under, seniors, military members, and groups of 10 or more.

Performances begin on May 12, 2018 and continue through June 17, 2018. Performance times: Previews: Saturday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, May 15 at 7:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. Opening night is Thursday, May 17 at 8:00 p.m. Regular performances (May 18 - June 17): Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.; Thursday and Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, June 6 at 2:00 p.m. and no matinee performance on Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m.


Abraham German (Zalmai) is making his Old Globe debut. His regional credits include understudy for Trouble in San Diego Opera's Madame Butterfly, and CSU San Marcos's Seussical. His other favorite roles include Little Boy in Into the Woods (California Youth Conservatory), Mike Teavee in Willy Wonka and Mini Snoopy in Snoopy the Musical (Performing Lakeside Acting Youth), Marionette in My Son Pinocchio (Young Actors' Theatre), and Blanket Brigade in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Christian Youth Theater San Diego). Mr. German has also appeared in the Heart of a Child benefit concert for the past three years at Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall; performed regularly at Martini's Above Fourth; modeled for Disney; and been in numerous commercials.

Denmo Ibrahim (Mariam) is an actor and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her recent credits include Nana and Fariba in the world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns (American Conservatory Theater, Theatre Calgary), Kathryn in Splendour (Aurora Theatre Company), Noor in Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat (Golden Thread Productions; San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination), Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing(California Shakespeare Theater), and Tyra in I Call My Brothers (Crowded Fire Theater; Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Female Actor in a Featured Role in a Play). Her solo show BABA, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, won an SFBATCC Award for Original Script and was developed at New York Theatre Workshop with Noor Theatre. Ms. Ibrahim is a Founding Artistic Director of Mugwumpin. She earned her M.F.A. in Lecoq-Based Actor-Created Physical Theatre from Naropa University and a B.F.A. in Acting from Boston University. She is currently developing a new play commissioned by Crowded Fire Theater, and she is a Resident Artist of Golden Thread

Lanna Joffrey (Fariba, Nana, Doctor) is an actor, spoken-word performer, and writer working in the U.K. and the U.S. Her select performances include The Profane directed by Kip Fagan (Playwrights Horizons), Muse of Fire directed by Harper Ray and Sonnet Walks directed by Federay Holmes (Shakespeare's Globe), The Soulless Ones directed by Anna Soderblöm and Oscar Blustin (Hammer House of Horror Live), I Call My Brothers directed by Tinuke Craig (Gate Theatre), Timon of Athens directed by Alex Hassell and Louis Scheeder (The Factory), Sad and Merry Madness directed by Barry Edelstein and Measure for Measure directed by Michelle Hensley (The Public Theater), 9 Parts of Desiredirected by Carmel O'Reilly (The Lyric Stage Company of Boston; IRNE Award), and 1001 directed by Ethan McSweeny (Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company; Denver Post Ovation Award). Ms. Joffrey's critically acclaimed verbatim play Valiant has traveled the U.K. (directed by Alexandra Renzetti) and the U.S. (directed by Tamilla Woodard), going to Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Theatre503, Women and War Festival, WOW Folkestone Festival, and InterAct Theatre Company, and earning a FringeNYC Award. Ms. Joffrey's spoken word has been featured online and in print. She received her M.A. in Acting from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, and her B.F.A. in Acting for Syracuse University.

Haysam Kadri (Rasheed, Talib Soldier; Associate Director) has appeared in A Thousand Splendid Suns (American Conservatory Theater, Theatre Calgary), Enron,To Kill a Mockingbird, Much Ado About Nothing, The Crucible, and A Christmas Carol (Theatre Calgary), The Hollow, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Twelve Angry Men, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Black Coffee (Vertigo Theatre), Richard III, Macbeth, Othello, William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead, and The Winter's Tale (The Shakespeare Company), The Last Wife, Cockroach, The Motherf***er with the Hat, Shakespeare's Dog, Robin Hood, and Oliver Twist (Alberta Theatre Projects). His film and television credits include The Revenant and "Hell on Wheels." Mr. Kadri is the Artistic Producer of The Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare by the Bow Program Director of Theatre Calgary.

Joseph Kamal (Babi, Mullah, Faizullah, Interrogator, Zaman) is thrilled to be making his Old Globe debut. He has appeared in world premieres by Tony Kushner, Rajiv Joseph, Charles Mee, Lee Breuer, Betty Shamieh, Herbert Siguenza, Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, and Charles Randolph - Wright. He has also been seen in West Coast premieres and national tours of plays by Theresa Rebeck and Lynn Nottage. He has worked at Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Atlantic Theater Company, Mabou Mines, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, The Theatre @ Boston Court, and A Contemporary Theatre, among others, and he was a company member of Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Recently in Los Angeles, he appeared in Prometheus Bound at The Getty Villa. Last summer he premiered the play Transmission at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He has numerous film and television credits and has done a lot of voice work as well.

Jason Kapoor (Abdul Sharif, Jalil, Wakil) is thrilled to make his debut at The Old Globe reprising roles from the world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns. He was most recently seen in the San Francisco Playhouse production of Born Yesterday. His other Bay Area credits include Ideation (SF Playhouse, Off Broadway's 59E59 Theaters), Life Is a Dream (California Shakespeare Theater), and Indian Ink, King Charles III, and The Hard Problem (American Conservatory Theater). Born and raised in San Jose, Mr. Kapoor received his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. from London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Nadine Malouf (Laila) is honored to be a part of this story once again, after originating the role at American Conservatory Theater last year. She was most recently seen Off Broadway in Martyna Majok's new play queens at Lincoln Center's LCT3. She was seen cooking in various home kitchens in the one-woman, site-specific New York premiere of Oh My Sweet Land with The Play Company. She also played the title role in the world premiere of Salomé with Shakespeare Theatre Company (winner of seven Helen Hayes Awards). Her other recent Off Broadway work includes Today Is My Birthday and Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page 73 Productions), The School for Scandal (Red Bull Theater), The Who & The What (LCT3), and Exile (Cherry Lane Theatre). She has also appeared in Scorched (Syracuse Stage) and Macbeth (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Ms. Malouf has been seen in new works developed at Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, and Complicité, among others. Her recent television and film credits include "The Looming Tower," Resolutions, and May in the Summer. She trained at Syracuse University and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Arden Pala (Zalmai) is thrilled and honored to be joining the cast of A Thousand Splendid Suns at The Old Globe. He is nine years old and in third grade at Francis Parker School. He has been acting and singing since he began to walk and talk. Mr. Pala enjoys performing with Trinity Theatre Company, Broadway Theatre Arts Academy, North Coast Repertory Theatre, and STAR Repertory Theatre. Mr. Pala's favorite roles include JoJo in Seussical, Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, Toto in The Wizard of Oz, and Zazu in The Lion King. Mr. Pala also enjoys writing and is the author of The Adventures of Noah's Flying Car book series, available on Amazon and Kindle, with all proceeds benefiting low-income youth. When he is not acting, he is singing, writing, playing the piano, and performing martial arts.

Nikita Tewani (Aziza) is thrilled to be reprising the role of Aziza in her Old Globe debut. She is a New York City-based actress and a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Her recent Off Broadway and regional theatre credits include The Who & The What (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), the world premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns (American Conservatory Theater, Theatre Calgary), The Fall (Soho Playhouse), and A Muslim in the Midst (Thespis Theater Festival). Her television credits include "The Affair" (Showtime) and "Falling Water" (USA Network). Ms. Tewani has also appeared in national commercials and ad campaigns. She is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

Mondis Vakili (Ensemble) is honored to make her debut at The Old Globe. Her recent regional credits include Dust at Cygnet Theatre Company, Under Construction: American Masque at La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival, the North American premiere of Rocks in Her Pocket, Lucius in the all-female cast of Titus Andronicus, Trisha in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, the Northern California premiere of The Domestic Crusaders by Wajahat Ali, and much more. Ms. Vakili received B.A.s in Theatre and Communication with honors, with a minor in Dance, from UC San Diego.

Antoine Yared (Tariq, Soldier) is thrilled to be making his American debut here at The Old Globe. Born in Lebanon and raised in Montreal, his work in theatre has led him to perform in theatres across the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. He most recently appeared as Edgar in Groundling Theatre Company's production of Lear in Toronto, and he played one of the titular roles in last season's Romeo and Juliet at Stratford Festival. His other recent theatre credits include The Madwoman of Chaillot, John Gabriel Borkman, Macbeth, As You Like It, Pericles, The Alchemist, The Physicists, King John, Antony and Cleopatra, Mother Courage and Her Children, and The Merchant of Venice (Stratford Festival) and The Snow Queen (Theatre New Brunswick).

Kris Zarif (Ensemble) previously appeared as El-Fayoumy in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Triad Productions), Nepotism Guy, Scientist Guy, and Security Guy in tempOdyssey (Teatro ALTO), and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet,Nanaivandak in 1001 Grains of Sand, and Micah in Inside Story (San Diego State University). He can also be seen in the films September Tapes, In the Wrong Hands, Timing, Any Genre You Like, and Rushing.

Ken MacDonald (Scenic Design) has designed The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring (Canadian Stage, Vancouver Opera, Tapestry Opera), The Barber of Seville andMacbeth (Pacific Opera Victoria), The Threepenny Opera, The Rake's Progress, and Susannah (Vancouver Opera), A Thousand Splendid Suns (American Conservatory Theater, Grand Theatre, Theatre Calgary), Sovereignty and The Shoplifters (Arena Stage, Theatre Calgary), Engaged, Our Town, Sweet Charity, Arms and the Man, Our Betters, and The Doctor's Dilemma (Shaw Festival Theatre), Wanderlust, Moby Dick, and The Trespassers (Stratford Festival), Parfumerie, Blithe Spirit, The Government Inspector, and 'night, Mother (Soulpepper Theatre Company), The Arsonists, The Overcoat, and Vigil (Canadian Stage), Sextet, The Amorous Adventures of Anatol, Marry Me a Little, Benevolence, and The Dishwashers (Tarragon Theatre), and The Waiting Room, Hamlet, and Art (Arts Club Theatre Company). Mr. MacDonald has received a Gemini Award for Outstanding Production Design for The Overcoat (CBC); two Dora Awards; a Betty Mitchell Award; and 17 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards.

Linda Cho (Costume Design) is thrilled to return to The Old Globe, where she most recently designed October Sky and The Comedy of Errors. This is her 15th show here since 2002. She maintains a highly successful career with opera and theatre companies in the United States and abroad. Among her successes in theatre have been the Broadway productions of Anastasia (Tony Award nomination), A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award), and The Velocity of Autumn. Ms. Cho's work has also been seen Off Broadway and at numerous American regional theatres and opera companies. She will make her Metropolitan Opera debut this season with Samson et Dalila. She recently received the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for A Thousand Splendid Suns at American Conservatory Theater. She is also the proud recipient of the TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award and the Ruth Morley Design Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, and she is on the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing. Ms. Cho is an alumna of McGill University and holds a master of fine arts degree from Yale School of Drama.

Robert Wierzel (Lighting Design) has worked with artists from diverse disciplines and backgrounds in opera, theatre, dance, museums, and contemporary music, on stages throughout the country and abroad. Mr. Wierzel's theatre work has been seen on and Off Broadway, including Fela! (Tony Award nomination), Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill starring Audra McDonald, David Copperfield: Dreams and Nightmares, and productions at New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, Signature Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Mostly Mozart Festival, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, The Acting Company, and Lincoln Center Festival/American Songbook. He has collaborated for decades with choreographer and director Bill T. Jones and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Mr. Wierzel is currently in pre-production on a new musical, A Walk on the Moon. He is on the faculty at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and is a creative partner at Spark Design Collaborative.

Jake Rodriguez (Sound Design) is a sound designer and composer based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. His recent credits include we, the invisibles (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Vietgone (American Conservatory Theater), An Octoroon (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Events (Shotgun Players), A Thousand Splendid Suns (A.C.T., Theatre Calgary, Grand Theatre), The Christians (Playwrights Horizons, Mark Taper Forum), Girlfriend (Kirk Douglas Theatre), andMr. Burns, a post-electric play (A.C.T., Guthrie Theater). Mr. Rodriguez is the recipient of a 2004 Princess Grace Award.

David Coulter (Original Music) is an English-born multidisciplinary artist, musician, composer, director, and educator based in the Bay Area. Since the 1980s, he has directed shows, produced records, and played his musical saw and other assorted weird and less-weird instruments in studios, theatres, and stages and on recordings around the world with the likes of The Pogues, Tom Waits and Robert Wilson, Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, Hal Willner, and Gorillaz. Mr. Coulter curates and directs numerous multi-artist events. His credits include Monkey: Journey to the West (Gorillaz/Chen Shi-Zheng), Double Fantasy Live, Rain Dogs Revisited, Twisted Christmas, In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited, and An Anatomy Act. He was also associate musical director and multi-instrumentalist on The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets (A.C.T., 2004). He is a visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and he has played the didgeridoo at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on a number of official occasions.

Stephen Buescher (Choreographer) is a movement director/choreographer, actor, director, and teaching artist. He has designed movement for A Thousand Splendid Suns, Monstress, The Orphan of Zhao, Stuck Elevator, Let There Be Love,and Underneath the Lintel (American Conservatory Theater), A Midsummer Night's Dream and Private Lives (Long Wharf Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Trinity Repertory Company), Love's Labour's Lost (Shakespeare Santa Cruz), and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Lorraine Hansberry Theatre). Mr. Buescher is the Head of Movement in A.C.T.'s M.F.A. program. In the Conservatory he has directed The Taming of the Shrew, Black Orpheus, Romeo and Juliet, Galileo, The Island, The House of Bernarda Alba (which traveled to Moscow Art Theatre), Can't Pay? Won't Pay!, Archangels Don't Play Pinball, and Hotel Paradiso. He has taught physical theatre at Yale School of Drama, Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company, New York University, University of Connecticut, and University of Missouri-Kansas City. Mr. Buescher has performed nationally and internationally for over a decade as a company member with the physical-based company Dell'Arte International. He is a graduate of the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre and California Institute of the Arts, and he is thrilled to be making his debut at The Old Globe.

Janet Foster, CSA (Casting) has cast for American Conservatory Theater for the past six years, including Hamlet, The Birthday Party, A Walk on the Moon, Indian Ink, The Orphan of Zhao, Maple and Vine, Endgame, Play, The Scottsboro Boys, The Normal Heart, A Christmas Carol, 4000 Miles, Dead Metaphor, Arcadia, and many more. Her Broadway credits include The Light in the Piazza (Artios Award nomination), Lennon, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Taking Sides (co-cast). She cast the Off Broadway productions of Lucky Guy, Lucy, Close Ties, Brundibar, True Love, Endpapers, The Dying Gaul, The Maiden's Prayer, Dream True, The Trojan Women, and A Love Story. For Playwrights Horizons she castFloyd Collins, The Monogamist, A Cheever Evening, Later Life, and many more. Ms. Foster's credits include Intiman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Yale Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Baltimore Center Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Two River Theater, and American Repertory Theater. Her television, film, and radio credits include "Cosby" (CBS), Tracey Takes on New York (HBO), The Deal by Lewis Black, Advice from a Caterpillar, "The Day That Lehman Died" (BBC World Services/Blackhawk Productions; Peabody, Sony, and Wincott Foundation Awards), and WNYC Tom Stoppard Radio Plays for 2010-2011.

Elisa Guthertz (Production Stage Manager) has been a Bay Area stage manager for over 25 years. Most recently she worked on Heisenberg, The Birthday Party, and Hamlet at American Conservatory Theater, and last season she staged managed A Thousand Splendid Suns at A.C.T. and Theatre Calgary. Her numerous other productions for A.C.T. include A Night with Janis Joplin, The Realistic Joneses, Monstress, Love and Information, Testament, Major Barbara, Underneath the Lintel, Arcadia, The Normal Heart, The Scottsboro Boys, Endgame, Play, Scorched, Clybourne Park, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Rainmaker, A Number, and Eve Ensler's The Good Body, among others. She has also stage managed The Mystery of Irma Vep, Suddenly Last Summer, Rhinoceros, Big Love, Collected Stories, and Cloud Tectonics (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), The Good Body (Broadway), Big Love (Brooklyn Academy Of Music), and The Vagina Monologues(Alcazar Theatre).

Photo: Denmo Ibrahim as Fariba, Barzin Akhavan as Babi, and Nadine Malouf as Laila in A Thousand Splendid Suns at American Conservatory Theater, 2017. A Thousand Splendid Suns, written by Ursula Rani Sarma, based on the book by Khaled Hosseini, directed by Carey Perloff, and co-produced by American Conservatory Theater, runs May 12 - June 17, 2018 at The Old Globe. Photo by Kevin Berne.

Saving the World One Children’s Book at a Time

Saving the World One Children’s Book at a Time

8-year old Arden Pala loves to travel, a fact that’s evident in his book, “The Adventures of Noah’s Flying Car – Through China.” This young author hopes to use his work to help others, with proceeds from the book going toward his school’s scholarship fund.

As parents, we always see a little of ourselves in our children. Maybe it’s the color of their eyes, the look on their face as they concentrate, or their love of animals.

In the case of one family, the Palas, the parents’ love of travel and an entrepreneurial spirit has been passed down to their children, as has their desire to give back to the community.

The family’s 8-year-old son, Arden, has expressed these passions in the form of a brand-new children’s book, “The Adventures of Noah’s Flying Car – Through China.” Inspired by his visit to China, the book features some of Arden’s favorite spots from the trip, including the Great Wall of China, Tian Tan Buddha, and Pearl River. Being a children’s book, however, “The Adventures of Noah’s Flying Car” is filled with more than just historic sites. As readers turn the pages, they also see Noah interact with everything from siblings, hidden caves, and ice cream to the book’s namesake: flying cars.

Told from the point of view of one imaginative kid, the book pairs Arden’s words with Pavel Goldaev’s playful illustrations, as well as fun facts and figures on China, historical tidbits about popular sites throughout the country, and descriptions of numerous Chinese customs. Overall, Arden’s goal is to teach kids to not only appreciate different cultures, but also learn valuable lessons from them.

Inspired by his parents Zeynep Ilgaz and Serhat Pala, founders of Confirm BioSciences and TestCountry, Arden and his 14-year old brother Kenan hope to change the world through their efforts. Kenan has his own nonprofit organization, Kids4Community, which aims to help children and their families give back to their communities. “The Adventures of Noah’s Flying Car” is a special project for the group, and all proceeds from the book will go directly to a scholarship fund for Arden and Kenan’s school, Francis Parker, to help kids in need with their school costs.

With a printing of 3,000 books priced at $10 each, Arden, Kenan, and their parents’ goal is to raise $30,000, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Francis Parker Scholarship Fund. Arden and his family are aiming high with their efforts, hoping the children’s book will spark young readers’ imaginations while teaching them to appreciate Chinese history and culture, all while helping an important cause.

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