Highlight Reading Series History

Highlight is a fall reading series designed to showcase the work of playwrights of Middle Eastern descent. Now in it’s 6th season, Highlight has featured the work of such award-winning playwrights as Mona Mansour, Yussef El Guindi and Heather Raffo. Several plays included in this popular series have gone on to have productions at the Humana Festival, Portland Center Stage, and Here.

8th Annual Highlight Reading Series

Fall 2017


September 26, 2017


By Houssein Almoreey
Directed By Kate Moore Heaney

A story with many starts and one ending. The story of the first protests that took place in Syria against a brutal regime. Wooden boxes that open on possibilities of hope and or violent crackdown. Tombs, prisons, and terrified states of minds, the boxes are arranged throughout the Syrian uprising and the lives of its rebels. Wooden Boxes is dedicated to the Syrian revolution and its revolutionaries Razan Zaitouneh, Samera Al Khalil, Fadwa Suliman, and many other noble icons of the Syrian revolution.


October 10, 2017


By Melis Aker
Directed By Kim Kerfoot

Avery and his Iranian partner Parastoo struggle with the looming figure of their sperm donor Reza, who is somehow mysteriously connected to two pilots in flight. 330 Pegasus explores what it means to have cultural and genetic ownership over one's heritage, identity, and body in a world defined by subtle mythology, uncanny mishaps, love letters, silent landlords, and other such bad omens.


November 14, 2017


By Sylvia Khoury
Directed By Gaye Taylor Upchurch

Taroon once served as an interpreter for the United States military in Afghanistan.  Now the Americans – and their promises of safety – are gone, and Taroon spends his days in his sister Afiya’s apartment, hiding from the increasingly powerful Taliban.  Desperate to escape with his wife and newborn son, Taroon must navigate a country left in upheaval, in which everyone must fend for themselves and few can be trusted.


December 12, 2017


By Sevan K. Greene
Directed By Ed Sylvanus Iskandar

Tommy, Jules, and Omer are tired of their worlds, their countries, their governments, and their families. They're tired of being invisible. They're tired of being disenfranchised. They're tired of being no one. And as they've found a supportive family with one another they've found the solution to their problems: Joining ISIS. A coming-of-age story for a new generation, You, the Fire, and Me asks how far you would go to have your voice heard and to finally be seen as someone rather than just anyone. 

7th Annual Highlight Reading Series

Fall 2016


September 26, 2016


By Ismail Khalidi
Directed By Charlotte Brathwaite
With Music By Hadi Eldebek

Featuring: Doug Chapman, Peter Ganim, Nadine Malouf, Rocco Sisto, Hadi Tabbal, and Chinaza Uche


November 15, 2016


By Dalia Taha
Translated by Clem Naylor
Directed by Katie Pearl

Featuring Amr El-Bayoumi, Francis Benhamou, Caitlin Cassidy, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Marjan Neshat and Debargo Sanyal


December 13, 2016


By Heather Raffo
Directed By Joanna Settle

Featuring Dahlia Azama, Caitlin Cassidy, Peter Ganim, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Heather Raffo, and Logan Settle Rishard

6th Annual Highlight Reading Series

Fall 2015


September 29, 2015


By Amer Hlehel
Directed By Jessica Blank

With Dariush Kashani & Rasha Zamamiri


October 12, 2015


By Sevan K. Greene
Directed By Johanna McKeon

With Fajer Al-Kaisi, Caleb Bark, Rendah Heywood, Lameece Issaq & Rasha Zamamiri


November 17, 2015


By Ramiz Monsef
Directed By Pirronne Yousefzadeh

With Josh Bonzie, Michael Crane, RJ Foster, Peter Ganim, Megan Hill, Aaron Lynn and Larry Powell

December 8, 2015


By Amir Nizar Zuabi
Directed By Shana Gold

With Jacqueline Antaramian

5th Annual Highlight Reading Series

Fall 2014

September 15, 2014


By Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Johanna McKeon

With Amir Arison, Erik Jensen and Lameece Issaq


October 7, 2014


By Nine Courageous Women At Queens College
Edited By Heather Raffo
Directed By Maha Chehlaoui

With Tala Ashe, Dahlia Azama, Veracity Butcher, Caitlin Cassidy, Amr El-Bayoumi, Sade Namei, Jamie Rezanour, Sarah Sakaan, Dina Shihabi, Pascale Seigneurie and Heather Raffo


November 18, 2014

The Vagrant

By Mona Mansour
Directed by Mark Wing-Davey

With Aaron Costa Ganis, Ramsey Faragallah, Marianna McLellan, Daniel Pearce, Jamie Rezanour, Cara Seymour, Hadi Tabbal and Rasha Zamamiri

December 9, 2014

Behfarmaheen (If You Please)

Written and Performed by Barzin Akhavan
Directed by Shana Gold

With Fajer Al Kaisi

4th Annual Highlight Reading Series

Fall 2013


September 23, 2013

Sabra Falling

By Ismail Khalidi
Directed by Noelle Ghoussaini

With Leila Buck, Demosthenes Chrysan, Gamze Ceylan, Laith Nakli, Ariel Shafir, Hadi Tabbal and Sheila Vand


October 7, 2013


Ibn Daniyal Trilogy

Translation By Dr. Safi Mahfouz And Dr. Marvin Carlson
Directed By Lisa Peterson

With Fajer Al-Kaisi, Maha Chehlaoui, Demosthenes Chrysan, Michael Crane, Kathryn Grody, Heather Raffo

November 18, 2013


By Rahaleh Nassri
Directed By Sarna Lapine

With Barzin Akhavan, Fajer Al-Kaisi, Tala Ashe, Yair Ben-Dor, Demosthenes Chrysan, Ariya Ghahramani, Sarah Nina Hayon, Kathryn Kates, Leyla Modirzadeh, Alex Morf, Al Nazemian, Matt Saldivar, Babak Tafti and Alok Tewari

3rd annual highlight reading series

Fall 2012


November 12, 2012

The Prophet

By Hassan Abdul Razzak
Directed by Kareem Fahmy

With Barzin Akhavan, Leila Buck, Ramsey Faragallah, Adi Hanash, and Laura Piquado

Co-presented with The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

2nd Annual Highlight Reading series

Fall 2011

September 19, 2011

I Am Yusef and This is My Brother

By Amir Nizar Zuabi
Directed by Erin Mee

With Sevan Greene, Kathryn Kates, Marjan Neshat, Jesse Presler, Ryan Shams, Ted Sod, Babek Tafti and Sona Tatoyan

November 14, 2011

The Strangest

By Betty Shamieh
Directed by May Adrales

With Barzin Akhavan, Jacqueline Antaramian, Amir Arison, Ruba Audeh, Ramsey Faragallah, Andrew Guilarte, Lana Joffrey, and Daniel Pierce.

December 5, 2011


Written and performed by
Denmo Ibrahim

Directed by Isis Saratial Misdary

1st Annual Highlight Reading Series

Fall 2010

September 13, 2010

Forgotten Bread

Written by Sevan Greene
Directed by Johanna McKeon

With Noel Allain, Jacqueline Antaramian, Kim Morgan Dean, Ramsey Faragallah, Sevan Kaloustian Greene, Piter Marek, Michele Rafic, Peter Sabri, Sona Tatoyan, Tamar Vezirian, and Audra Wahhab

October 18, 2010

Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes

Written by Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Pippin Parker

With David Wilson Barnes, Peter Ganim, Daoud Heidami, Jenny Seastone Stern, Emily Swallow & Michelle Vanegas

November 15, 2010

The Hour of Feeling

Written by Mona Mansour
Directed by Sharon Lennon

With Maria Cellario, Dan Coleman, Ramsey Faragallah, Peter Ganim, Polly Lee, Piter Marek, and Rasha Zammamiri


December 13, 2010

Fit for the Queen: A Tragicomedy

Written by Betty Shamieh
Directed by Lisa Peterson

With Kathleen Chalfant, Demosthenes Chrysan, Lanna Joffrey, Laith Nakli, Michele Rafic, Ariel Shafir, Ted Sod, and Rasha Zamamiri