Sakina's Restaurant, writer-actor Aasif Mandvi's solo piece set in an Indian eatery, will serve up its 100th performance, Sept. 24, at the American Place Theatre Off-Broadway.
The run of the one-man collection of monologues about the Indian immigrant experience, in APT's 75-seat space on 46th Street, is still considered indefinite and open, with no closing date, according to spokesman Charlie Siedenburg (of the Springer/Chicoine office). It opened June 24.
Meanwhile at APT, the remount of the company's popular 1990 staging of Laurence Holder's bio of Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston (on the verge of her decline), begins previews Oct. 20 in the Mainstage space. It opens Oct. 29, with Elizabeth Van Dyke in the lead. No closing date has been announced.
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.