Casting Complete for Limited Engagement Revival of KISMET

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., Oct. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The remarkable and unprecedented one-weekend-only production of the Tony Award®-winning musical KISMET, produced by Santa Barbara philanthropist, businesswoman and arts advocate Sara Miller McCune, co-founder and executive chair of SAGE Publishing, has completed casting and currently in rehearsal. Casting Director Peter Van Dam and associate Afsheen Misaghi assembled a diverse cast from both coasts. Having a talented and culturally appropriate cast was a top priority and selected with purpose. Director Lonny Price says, "This production provides the perfect opportunity to contemporize and authentically represent KISMET. I am so happy to say, I think this may be the most authentic cast to play this show, ever!" Cultural consultant Naila Al-Atrash (Professor of Arabic Theater and Film, NYU) helped ensure accurate representation of the Middle Eastern inspired world.

KISMET is a three-time Tony® Award-winner (including Best Musical) set in and around ancient Baghdad. The wily poet, charming opportunist, and scammer "Hajj" (played by Jonathan Raviv), weaves his way in and out of conflict while his beautiful daughter "Marsinah," (played by Ani Djirdjirian), meets and falls in love with "The Caliph" (played by Ariel Neyvadoud), who is unfortunately betrothed to another. "The Wazir," a high-ranking minister, is played by Austin Durant and Sherz Aletaha portrays his seductive, beautiful wife "Lalume." In true musical comedy fashion, the day in the life of the slick street poet erupts in a myriad of antics that of course, all work out in the end. The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony® Award for best musical in 1954.

The cast: Jonathan Raviv (Emmy® Award-winner and original cast member of the 10-time Tony® Award-winning musical, The Band’s Visit, The Humans) as "Hajj The Poet," Ani Djirdjirian (National tours of Spamilton, The Lightning Thief) as "Marsinah," Persian actress Sherz Aletaha plays "Lalume," Austin Durant (Moulin Rouge! The Musical) as "The Wazir," Joseph Kamal (Broadway company of  the Tony® Award-winning  best musical The Bands Visit as "Omar," Ariel Neydavoud (Temple of The Souls, Off Broadway) as "The Caliph," and ensemble members Paul Aguirre (National tours of Billy Elliot, Seussical The Musical, How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Cast Recording), international musical theater actor Ramin Doostdar, Cooper Grodin (National tours of Les Miserable, Phantom of The Opera), opera singer Constantine Demetrios Pappas (National Tour of Phantom of The Opera), Lexi Rabadi (National Yiddish Theater), Saum Seyed (Off-Broadway’s Disaster!, Wonderful Town‘s first national tour), and Cecelia Ticktin (National Tour of Wicked). Featured dancers from State Street Ballet include Ahna Lipchik as "Zubbediya," Deise Mendonça as "Samahris," and Amara Galloway, Marika Kobayashi, and Saori Yamashita as the "Three Princesses of Ababu."  The KISMET Chorus is made up of Brian Hotchkin, Gaia Hubbard, Valdis Jansons, Miyuki Miyagi, Peter Otte, Angeline Petroniljevic, Philip Pritchard, Adrien Roberts, and Jenna Lea Rosen.

The unique collaboration with The Santa Barbara Symphony and State Street Ballet is a gift to the Santa Barbara region by philanthropist Sara Miller McCune for her 80th birthday celebration. It is under the direction of New York’s acclaimed Lonny Price (Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Company, and Sondheim! The Birthday Concert). The show is executive produced by two-time Tony® Award-winning theatre producer Ken Davenport, and regionally produced in Santa Barbara by Miller McCune.

KISMET‘s unique, one weekend only run, comes to The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara October 23-24, 2021 for three performances only.

The original score from Alexander Borodin is under the direction of Nir Kabaretti and The Santa Barbara Symphony, with brand new choreography from State Street Ballet’s co-artistic director, William Soleau. The production boasts script and choreography reimagined for a contemporary audience while remaining true to the classic story, exotic setting, humor, and music audiences have loved for decades.

Additional production staff includes Associate Director Matt Cowart, Set Design by Jim Noone, Costume Design by Tracy Christensen, Lighting Design by Ken Billington, Sound Design by Kai Harada, and Wigs, Hair & Makeup by J. Jared Janas

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Media contact:
Andrea McKinnon

(818) 415-9442

SOURCE Sara Miller McCune