Denver Center Reveals Casting for World Premieres of Inana and Dusty | Playbill

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News Denver Center Reveals Casting for World Premieres of Inana and Dusty Casting has been announced for Denver Center Theatre Company's world-premiere productions of Inana and Dusty and the Big Bad World, the centerpieces of the upcoming Colorado New Play Summit.

A Denver Center commissioned world premiere, Inana — Michele Lowe's play about Middle Eastern cultural treasures, directed by Michael Pressman — begins Jan. 16, opens Jan. 22 and continues to Feb. 28 in The Ricketson Theatre.

The cast includes Denver Center newcomers Piter Marek as Darius Shalid, Mahira Kakkar as Shali Shalid, Laith Nakli as Abdel-Hakim Taliq, Alok Tewari as Mohammed Zara/Messenger, Reema Zaman as Mena Mohammed/Hama Shalid and Nasser Faris, plus company member David Ivers as the Waiter/Dominic Colon.

According to production notes, director Pressman sees "a clear theme of attempting to regain the innocence and beauty of a culture that is being destroyed." The cultural setting is Iraq. Inana is billed as "a poignant love story about an Iraqi museum curator's desperate attempt to save an ancient and treasured statue before the U.S. invasion of his country. Amidst a background of international intrigue and marital discovery the situation in Iraq is mirrored in the life of the curator and his new bride from an arranged marriage."

The design team includes scenic designer Vicki Smith, costume designer David Kay Mickelsen, Tony Award-nominated lighting designer Ann G. Wrightson and sound designer Morgan A. McCauley. Dramaturg is Douglas Langworthy. The composer is Lindsay Jones.

Denver Center artistic director Kent Thompson directs Cusi Cram's Dusty and the Big Bad World, running Jan. 23-Feb. 28, and opening Jan. 29 at The Space Theatre. Thompson selected the comedy to be read at the 2008 Colorado New Play Summit, and for this world premiere production, because he "loved the way the play deals with the way we teach our children, Children's TV, and gay marriage — taking the audience to surprising places, politically." Dusty and the Big Bad World "is a wildly humorous story about bigotry and the censorship of 'Dusty,' a public television children's series about a dust ball. Playwright Cusi Cram writes for the PBS animated series 'Arthur' and was inspired by a spin-off of that show called 'Postcards from Buster.' Part documentary, part animation, the episode dealt with a girl with two gay moms in Vermont. The head of PBS and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education became involved and eventually the funding was pulled for the program. It became known as 'Buster-gate' and affected Cusi and her husband (also a writer for 'Arthur') directly."

The cast includes Kelly McAndrew as as Jessica, Jeanine Serralles as Karen, Charlotte Booker as Marianne, Sam Gregory as Nathan and Chloe Nosan as Lizzie Goldberg-Jones.

Designing a children's animated show that is set in the suburbs are scenic designer William Bloodgood, costume designer Bill Black, lighting designer Charles R. MacLeod and sound designer Jason Ducat.

Dramaturgy is by Paul Walsh. Voice and dialect coach is Kathryn G. Maes.

Audience members are invited to explore the world of "Dusty" — "everyone's favorite magic dust ball" — by visiting a special website created for the show The site includes information about the fictional TV series, the animated "Dusty" theme song, "Dusty" merchandise, and reviews of the series by some of Denver and the nation's top TV critics.

DCTC's venues are in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, CO. For tickets and more information, call (303) 893-4100 or (800) 641-1222 or visit

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