Showing posts with label Roxanna Hope Radja. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roxanna Hope Radja. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2024

EXTENDED: Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Play, English Now Playing at Goodman Theatre Through June 16, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar



By Sanaz Toossi

Directed by Hamid Dehghani

May 10 – June 16, 2024


(In front) Shadee Vossoughi and (in back) Roxanna Hope Radja.

All Production Photos by Liz Lauren

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama we love to see the influx of immigrant stories and first generation dramas on Chicago's stages. I'm the daughter of an ESL teacher, and our home was always filled with students and families from all over the world. It gave me an early and lasting appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism. Theatre is an excellent vehicle for transporting audiences into realities far different from our own. Catch a show. It might not just entertain, but expand your empathy and understanding as well.

Tonight, Goodman Theatre opens Sanaz Toossi’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play English in a co-production with Guthrie Theater—and adds five performances due to high demand for tickets. The cast of Iranian director Hamid Dehghani‘s Chicago-premiere production features Sahar Bibiyan, Nikki Massoud, Roxanna Hope Radja, Pej Vahdat and Shadee Vossoughi. 

(L-R) Nikki Massoud, Shadee Vossoughi, Pej Vahdat and Roxanna Hope Radja.

“English only” is the governing mantra in a classroom of four Iranian adults studying to take a language exam—one of the many barriers standing in the way of the next chapter of their lives. Chasing fluency through a maze of word games, listening exercises and show-and-tell sessions, the four students soon realize that learning a new language can lead to the unraveling of their sense of identity. 

(L-R) Pej Vahdat and Roxanna Hope Radja.

Sahar Bibiyan

A co-production with Guthrie Theatre, English appears through June 16 with five performances just added on June 13 at 7:30pm, June 14 at 7:30pm, June 15 at 2pm and 7:30pm and June 16 at 2pm. Tickets ($15 - $55; subject to change) are available at or by phone at 312.443.3800. Goodman Theatre is grateful for the support of ITW (Corporate Sponsor Partner), Jenner & Block LLP (Contributing Sponsor), Image Star (Technology Sponsor), and The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust (Lead Funder of IDEAA Programming).

Roxanna Hope Radja

“The reason I wanted to direct this show is because I know these characters, I know that room and that experience,” said director Hamid Dehghani, who earned an MA from Northwestern University after receiving degrees from theater school at Tehran University of Art. “It’s about rediscovering the world based on our shared culture and lived experiences—and feels like a reunion not just with fellow Iranian artists but with my very identity as a theater director. I am excited to invite our audience into this world, to let them feel Iran, think about language and identity and consider what it’s like learning English through the lens of many immigrants in this country.”

(L-R) Shadee Vossoughi, Pej Vahdat, Nikki Massoud and Roxanna Hope Radja.

Four adult students in Karaj, Iran are studying for the Test of English as a Foreign Language—the key to their green card, medical school admission or family reunification. As they gather and support one another in their quest for fluency, adamant that English will make them whole, they soon learn that it might be splitting them each in half.

Full Company of English (in alphabetical order)

By Sanaz Toossi

Directed by Hamid Dehghani

Sahar Bibiyan…..Roya

Nikki Massoud……Elham

Roxanna Hope Radja…..Marjan

Pej Vahdat……Omid

Shadee Vossoughi……Goli

Creative Team

Set Designer…..Courtney O’Neill

Costume Designer ……Shahrzad Mazaheri

Lighting Designer…..Jason Lynch

Sound Designer ….Mikaal Sulaiman

Assistant Lighting Designer…..Andrew Vance

Assistant Director….Jamal Howard

Casting is by Lauren Port, CSA. Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel is the Dramaturg. Patrick Fries is the Production Stage Manager.

Nikki Massoud and Shadee Vossoughi.



Farsi-Subtitled Performance: June 7 at 7:30pm – An LED sign presents Farsi-translated dialogue in sync with the performance.

ASL-Interpreted Performance: June 7 at 7:30pm – Professional ASL interpreter signs the action/text as played.

Touch Tour* and Audio-Described Performance: June 8, 12:30pm Touch Tour; 2pm performance – The action/text is audibly enhanced for patrons via headset.

Spanish-Subtitled Performance: June 8 at 7:30pm – An LED sign presents Spanish-translated dialogue in sync with the performance.

Open-Captioned Performance: June 9 at 2pm – An LED sign presents dialogue in sync with the performance.

Visit Goodman for more information about Goodman Theatre’s accessibility efforts.

(L-R) Pej Vahdat, Sahar Bibiyan and Roxanna Hopen Radja.


Chicago’s theater since 1925, Goodman Theatre is a not-for-profit arts and community organization in the heart of the Loop, distinguished by the excellence and scope of its artistic programming and community engagement. Led by Artistic Director Susan V. Booth and Executive Director/CEO Roche Schulfer, the theater’s artistic priorities include new play development (more than 150 world or American premieres), large scale musical theater works and reimagined classics. Artists and productions have earned two Pulitzer Prizes, 22 Tony Awards and more than 160 Jeff Awards, among other accolades.

The Goodman is the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s “American Century Cycle.” Its longtime annual holiday tradition A Christmas Carol, now in its fifth decade, has created a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. The Goodman also frequently serves as a production and program partner with national and international companies and Chicago’s Off-Loop theaters.

Using the tools of theatrical practice, the Goodman’s Education and Engagement programs aim to develop generations of citizens who understand and empathize with cultures and stories of diverse voices. The Goodman’s Alice Rapoport Center for Education and Engagement is the home of these programs, which are offered for Chicago youth—85% of whom come from underserved communities—schools and life-long learners.

Goodman Theatre was built on the traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi Nations. We recognize that many other Nations consider the area we now call Chicago as their traditional homeland—including the Myaamia, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac and Fox, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, Kickapoo and Mascouten—and remains home to many Native peoples today. While we believe that our city’s vast diversity should be reflected on the stages of its largest theater, we acknowledge that our efforts have largely overlooked the voices of our Native peoples. This omission has added to the isolation, erasure and harm that Indigenous communities have faced for hundreds of years. We have begun a more deliberate journey towards celebrating Native American stories and welcoming Indigenous communities.

Goodman Theatre was founded by William O. Goodman and his family in honor of their son Kenneth, an important figure in Chicago’s cultural renaissance in the early 1900s. The Goodman family’s legacy lives on through the continued work and dedication of Kenneth’s family, including Albert Ivar Goodman, who with his late mother, Edith-Marie Appleton, contributed the necessary funds for the creation on the new Goodman center in 2000.

Julie Danis is Chair of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees, Lorrayne Weiss is Women’s Board President and Kelli Garcia is President of the Scenemakers Board for young professionals.

(L-R) Pej Vahdat, Sahar Bibiyan, Roxanna Hope Radja, Nikki Massoud and Shadee Vossoughi.

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