Sakina's Restaurant, writer-actor Aasif Mandvi's solo piece set in an Indian eatery, will clean its plate Jan. 3, 1999 and go on the road. Now playing at the second-stage of Off-Broadway's American Place Theatre, the show will reach Toronto's Winchester Street Theatre, Jan. 25-Feb. 14, 1999, according to American Place artistic director Wynn Handman, who helped nurture the show from the beginning.
The run of the one-man collection of monologues about the Indian immigrant experience, in APT's 75-seat space on 46th Street, will have played 12 previews and 188 regular performances by its Jan. 3 close. The show opened June 24 for what was intended as a three-week run.
After the Toronto engagement, Sakina's Restaurant will reach Chicago and San Francisco, according to production spokesperson Charlie Siedenburg (of the Springer Chicoine office).
As for the success of Sakina, which looks at the zeitgeist and characters of a family-owned Indian restaurant in New York, spokesperson Susan Chicoine attributes audience interest to the uniqueness of the show's milieu. "The show is picking up a following in the East Indian community," said Chicoine, "because [Mandvi's] done it at benefits and gatherings. And he's often given comments like, 'The way you pick up your sash and wipe your forehead remind me of how my mother did that all the time.' The cultural references are so specific, and it's quite evocative."
* Among the characters created and played by Mandvi: Sakina, Samir, Ali, Farrida, Azgi and Hakim. Sakina premiered at Access Theatre's New Works Festival in 1997. Mandvi's acting credits include subUrbia and the surly delivery man in Death Defying Acts. He studied performance with Handman, artistic director of the American Place Theatre, which led to Sakina's slot as the last show of the 1997-98 season. Kim Hughes, who directs the piece, also helped develop it.
Designing Restaurant, which opened June 24, are Tom Greenfield (set), Ryan McMahon (lights) and David E. Wright (sound).
For tickets and information on shows at The American Place Theatre, 111 West 46th St., call (212) 239-6200.
Theatre For A New Audience will be using the mainstage space for the next two shows: The Iphigenia Cycle (previews Jan. 19, opens Jan. 24, 1999) and Macbeth (previews March 9, opens March 14, 1999). On the second stage, Dreaming In Cuban arrives in April 1999. In June, Julia Dahl's Wintertide goes up on the mainstage