The American premiere of the London hit, East is East, a Manhattan Theatre Club co-production with The New Group, directed by Scott Elliott, begins previews May 4 at MTC's Stage I.
Actor-playwright Ayub Khan-Din's play is a chronicle of life in a mixed race family -- overseen by a domineering Pakistani father, a liberal English mother -- in England in 1971. Six siblings represent the family's conflicting traditions, mores and loyalties. Opening is May 25.
The cast includes Edward A. Hajj as patriarch George Khan and Jenny Sterlin as mother Ella Khan. Their children are played by Dariush Kashani, Rahul Khanna, Amir Sajadi, Gregory J. Qaiyum, Purva Bedi and Rishi Mehta. Christine Child, Sendhil Ramamurthy and Ajay Mehta round out the cast.
The play, Khan-Din's first, was a success at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1996 and won the Writers' Guild Awards for Best New Writer and Best West End Play. A film version is in the works. The playwright was seen as an actor in the films, "My Beautiful Launderette" and "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid."
Director Elliott, artistic director of The New Group, helmed Three Sisters and Present Laughter for Broadway. It will be the final staging of The New Group's 1998-99 season. As artistic director of The New Group, Elliott has directed Hazelwood Jr. High, Goose-Pimples, Ecstacy and Curtains, among others.
MTC is staging East is East in favor of two previously-announced one acts by Harold Pinter, The Lovers and A Kind of Alaska.
East is East was first produced on tour and in London by The English Stage Company and Tamasha Theatre Company.
Designers are Derek Mclane (set), Mattie Ullrich (costume), Brian MacDevitt (lighting) and Red Ramona (sound).
MTC is at City Center, 131 W. 55th St. (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues). Single tickets (Stage I, $50; Stage II, $36) can be reserved by calling (212) 581-1212.
MTC offers $20 student tickets for all performances and $15 general admission passes for Stage II, both subject to availability.
La Terrasse is the next production at MTC's Stage II, beginning previews May 18 and opening June 8. Mike Ockrent directs the American premiere of the Paris comedy by Jean-Claude Carriere.
-- By Kenneth Jones