Zealot - 2014 Pacific Playwrights Festival
by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Marc Masterson
April 25, 2014 - April 25, 2014


At the British consulate in Mecca, a tactical tea is interrupted by news of nearby violence. When a witness seeks asylum, a diplomatic battle of wits ensues, while a life hangs in the balance.

A $75 package to see all four readings and The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois (in the Nicholas Studio) is available online, or by calling the Box Office at (714) 708-5555. This package is available to SCR Super Subscribers for $65—only by phone.

Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced playwright whose New York productions include Dead Accounts, Seminar, The Understudy, Mauritius, The Scene, The Water’s Edge, Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection, Spike Heels, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann, View of the Dome and Omnium Gatherum (co-written, Pulitzer finalist). Her publications include her Collected Plays Volumes I, II and III, Free Fire Zone, all with Smith & Kraus; and two novels, Three Girls and Their Brother and Twelve Rooms With a View, with Random House/Shaye Areheart Books. Her films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks and Seducing Charlie Barker (adapted from her play The Scene). Her awards include the Writer’s Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama and a Peabody Award for her work on “NYPD Blue,” the National Theatre Conference Award, the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award, the PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award, the Athena Film Festival Award, an Alex Award, a Lilly Award and in 2011 she was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek. She is the creator of the NBC drama, “Smash.”

Omid Abtahi* (Usama) is making his SCR debut. His recent credits include the Emmy award winning “Homeland” as well as the 2012 Academy Award Winning film Argo.His past film credits include Brothers, Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Boys of Abu Ghraib. He has also been a series regular on “Those Who Kill,” “Sleeper Cell” and “Over There.” He previously appeared at The Public Theater in New York in Mona Mansour’s Urge for Going. He is currently filming the fourth installment of The Hunger Games. 

Tala Ashe* (Marina) is making her first SCR appearance. She is appearing this Spring in Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Pulitzer Prize Winner, Ayad Akhtar’s new play, The Who and the What. Her previous theater credits include Troilus and Cressida and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Urge for Going (The Public Theater), Welcome to Arroyo’s (The Old Globe), Beirut Rocks (Barefoot Theater Company), Autophagy (Drama League) and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Huntington Theater). Her television credits include “Smash,” “Law & Order: Crminal Intent,” “30 Rock,” “Law & Order” and “As the World Turns.” She received her BFA from Boston University.

Adam El-Sharkawi (Yousef/Stage Directions) is thrilled to be participating in this year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival. He is a recent graduate of the MFA Acting program at California State University, Fullerton. At CSUF, credits include Dollhouse, Twelve Angry Jurors, Lobby Hero, Drunken City and Measure for Measure. Other credits include All’s Well That Ends Well (Great River Shakespeare Festival), Sinbad: The Untold Tale (Adventure Stage Chicago), Harper Regan (Steep Theatre), and The Book of Liz (Chemically Imbalanced Comedy).

Penny Johnson Jerald* (Ann) is excited to be returning to SCR. Best known as the scheming and conniving Sherry Palmer on “24,” Jerald won much critical acclaim for the role and made the list of television’s 50 Most Powerful Divas. Jerald completed two seasons as Dean Etwood on ABC’s “October Road,” recurred on the sitcom “Eve,” played Condoleezza Rice on ABC’s “Path to 9/11,” was Maxine on “House of Payne,” and has had numerous other roles on such shows as “Bones,” “Law & Order” and “NCIS,” among others. She was nominated for both a Cable Ace Award and an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series as quick witted assistant Beverly on “The Larry Sanders Show.” She also spent four seasons on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” as Captain Kasidy Yates—Commander Sisko’s love interest and then loving bride—and is proud to have a huge Trekkie following. When not shooting film or television, Jerald works side by side with her husband, Gralin, for the couple’s theatre group, OCTC (Outreach Christian Theatre Company) or producing vocals in her recording studio, Behind The World Productions (www.behindtheworld.net). She continues to do public speaking engagements, personal appearances and to help charities close to her heart. A veteran theater actress, Jerald most recently won critical acclaim for her portrayal of Rose in Chicago’s Goodman Theatre production of Regina Taylor’s Trinity River Plays. She has directed over 45 plays, including The Vagina Monologues and Moist! Theater performance credits include her one-woman show, Not My Child, Our Country’s Good, The Debutante Ball, The Night of the Assassin, The Two Sisters, The Vault and The Derelict. Jerald also offers you to take her challenge—Penny’s workout warriors in her 50-day workout challenge: (www.facebook.com/PJJs50day).

Alan Smyth* (Edgar) made his SCR debut last season in Absurd Person Singular. He is from Ireland where he trained at The Oscar School of Acting. His theatre credits include The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Salome, Pride and Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, The Sunshine Boys (Gate Theatre); The Freedom of the City, The Importance of Being Earnest (Abbey Theatre); The Plough & the Stars, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear (Second Age Theatre Company); Cinderella, Mother Goose, Aladdin, Jack & the Beanstalk, Snow White & the Seven Dwarves, Sleeping Beauty (Gaiety Theatre); The Merchant of Venice, How the Other Half Loves (Andrews Lane Theatre); and Normal and Trios (Meridian Theatre Company). He produced the Irish premieres of Burn This by Lanford Wilson, Dinner with Friends by Donald Margulies and The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard. On television he appeared in “Ballykissangel,” “Career Opportunities” (BBC), “CSI: NY,” “NCIS,” “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” “The Bold & the Beautiful” (CBS), “Leverage,” “The Last Ship” (TNT), “Grimm,” “Person’s Unknown” (NBC), “Children’s Hospital” (Adult Swim), “The Middleman” (ABC Family) and currently on “Caper” (Geek N Sundry). He was also a series regular on Ireland’s number one show, “Fair City,” for five years. Film credits include Bobbie’s Girl (Showtime), Becoming Jane (JA Films), The Fallen Faithful (Other Side of the River Prod.), Botched (Madigan Pictures) and The Crooked Mile (Tribeca ‘First View’ Award). Follow him on Twitter @AlanGSmyth.