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written and performed by Michael Shayan
directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
dramaturg: Abigail Katz
World Premiere
Segerstrom Stage

APRIL 29 - MAY 27, 2023

Talya Nevo-Hacohen & Bill Schenker

Farhang Foundation

LAist   Orange County Business Journal


Meet Roya, our fabulous hostess, as she welcomes you into her home to celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. She’s preparing a feast, but the main attraction is Roya sharing her great American journey from Tehran to “Tehran-geles,” California. Get ready for the time of your life with this hilarious and deeply personal tribute to the playwright’s mother, deliciously portrayed by the person who knows her best—her son. Traditions, humor and passionate storytelling transform this tale of family bonds into an unforgettable theatre event!

Previews: April 29-May 4, 2023
First Night: May 5, 2023
Regular Performances: May 6-27, 2023

Recommendation: Ages 16+ and the South Coast Repertory ​Box Office are the only authorized sellers of tickets for avaaz at SCR. Vivid Seats, Secure Box Office, Ticket Offices, Stub Hub​, Seat Geek,, and are not.

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  • Tickets go on sale Feb. 1


Michael Shayan on "avaaz"

About the Creative Team

Michael Shayan

Michael Shayan (Roya/Playwright) (he/him) is a queer Iranian-American Jewish Emmy-nominated writer and performer from “Tehran-geles,” California, next to that kabob shop you love. His play avaaz received the Sundance Institute’s inaugural Uprise Grant. He developed the play with SCR, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, La MaMa, and Theatre Aspen, where he won a grant to further its development. His plays have also been developed by Geffen Playhouse, New York Stage & Film, Rattlestick Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, Project Y, Art House, and Dixon Place, among others. He is currently writing Cruising, a new play commission for Audible, premiering in 2024. Shayan will be a Fellow at the Sun Valley Writers Conference in July of this year. He’s received honors from The Kennedy Center and Lambda Literary as an LGBTQ Voices Fellow in Playwriting. Residencies include SPACE on Ryder Farm, Stillwright, La MaMa Umbria, and Lambda Literary. He was a writer and Consulting Producer on the Discovery+ series “The Book of Queer,” and worked on Season 2 of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning “We’re Here.” At 13, he was the youngest performer at the Hollywood Magic Castle. He studied creative writing at Harvard and received his MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, under Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. 

Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Director) ​(he/him) has directed the Broadway productions of Theresa Rebeck’s Bernhardt/Hamlet starring Janet McTeer (Roundabout Theatre Company), Noël Coward’s Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline (three Tony nominations, including Best Revival) and Robert Askins’ Hand to God (five Tony nominations, including Best Play and Best Director). In London's West End, he directed Theresa Rebeck's Madhouse starring David Harbour and Bill Pullman and Hand to God (Olivier nomination). His off-Broadway credits include Theresa Rebeck’s Seared (MCC Theater), Larissa Fasthorse’s The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons), Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick (Ma-Yi Theater Company/The Public Theater), Nick Jones’ Important Hats of the Twentieth Century (Manhattan Theatre Club), Nick Jones’ Verité (Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3), Mike Lew’s Bike America (Ma-Yi), Nick Jones’ Trevor (Lesser America), Robert Askins’ Love Song of the Albanian Sous Chef (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Mel & El (Ars Nova), Michael Mitnick’s Spacebar (Studio 42) and Adam Szymkowicz’s My Base and Scurvy Heart (Studio 42). Regionally, he has directed for Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Alliance Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and more. He is the former artistic director of Studio 42, NYC’s producer of “unproducible” plays.

Beowulf Boritt (Scenic Design) is making his SCR design debut. His 29 Broadway designs include the Tony Award-winning set for Act One, the Tony nominated sets for The Scottsboro Boys, Therese Raquin, Potus and Flying Over Sunset. Also on Broadway, Hand To God, Bernhardt/Hamlet, The Piano Lesson, Ohio State Murders, The Old Man and the Pool, Come From Away, Freestyle Love Supreme, Be More Chill, The New One, Meteor Shower, A Bronx Tale, Prince Of Broadway, Sondheim On Sondheim, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, LoveMusik, Rock Of Ages, Chaplin, On The Town (2014), Sunday In the Park with George (2017), Bronx Bombers, Grace, and The Two And Only. He has also designed 100 off-Broadway shows, including Shakespeare in the Park’s Much Ado About Nothing and The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Last Five Years, Fiddler On The Roof (in Yiddish), Sleepwalk With Me and Miss Julie. He has designed for The NYC Ballet and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and around the world in England, Russia, China, Australia, and Japan. He received a 2007 OBIE Award for sustained excellence. His book about Broadway set design, Transforming Space Over Time, is available wherever books are sold.

Joshua "Domino" Schwartz (Costume Design) is proud to be designing his first production for SCR. Recent projects include "We’re Here" (HBO), for which he won an Emmy, "The Tamron Hall Show’s Halloween Special" (ABC), and looks for "RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race" (VH1). Other career highlights include designing for Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and RuPaul. He is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts Drama Department (Tech Track) and currently owns his own costume/custom fashion design business in NYC. 

Amith Chandrashaker (Lighting Design) is making his SCR design debut. His work has been featured at The Public Theater, Second Stage, Theatre for a New Audience, Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Horizons, Signature Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, Berkeley Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Colorado and The Glimmerglass Festival. He has created new dance works with Alexander Ekman, Liz Gerring, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Sidra Bell and Rennie Harris. He is the recipient of Drama Desk and Henry Hewes awards and is an Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at The University of Maryland’s school for Theatre Dance and Performance Studies. 

Noel Nichols, UptownWorks (Sound Design). UptownWorks sound is a dynamic team of designers that creates collaboratively for theatre, film, podcasts, music production and other media. Select sound design highlights include Clean/Espejos (Hartford Stage/Syracuse Stage); Which Way To The Stage (Signature Theatre DC); the ripple, the wave... (Berkeley Repertory/Goodman Theatre); Complicity Island (Audible); Blues Clues & You! (Round Room Live); Happy Life (The Hearth); Queen (Long Wharf Theater/A.R.T.NY); Choir Boy and Today is my Birthday (Yale Repertory); Fires in the Mirror (Baltimore Center Stage/Long Wharf Theatre); already there (The REACH at The Kennedy Center); First Down (59E59); Pleasure Machine (Colt Coeur); Sidewalk Echoes (En Garde Arts); Nightwatch (Dorset Theatre Festival); and The Masses are Asses (Wesleyan CFA). This design was led by Noel Nichols ( with co-design by Bailey Trierweiler ( and Daniela Hart ( Daniela, Noel & Bailey received their MFAs in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama.

Yee Eun Nam (Projection Design) is a visual artist and a media designer for live performances who returns to SCR after designing Clean/Espejos and The Canadians. Recent collaborations include Detroit Opera, Opera Omaha, LA Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Audible Theatre, Opera Saint Louis, Geffen Playhouse, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Lyric Opera, LA Opera On Now, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, BayStreet Theater, Ma-Yi Theater Company, SohoRep, Goodman Theatre, The Movement Theatre Company, LA Opera Connects, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Pasadena Playhouse, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, New World Center, The Soraya, Perseverance Theatre, Fountain Theatre, Getty Villa, Latino Theatre Company and many more. Nam was nominated for The Lucille Lortel Awards in 2022 and a winner of LADCC Theatrical Excellence for CGI/Video in 2020. She is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. She earned her MFA in Theater Design at UCLA and her BFA in Design and Metal Craft at SNU in Seoul, Korea. Portfolio:

Lauren Lovett (Vocal Coach) is a holistic dialect voice and character coach, a consultant for intimacy and consent-based practices for television, film and theater production, and a Somatic Experiencing practitioner. She is a graduate of The Juilliard Drama Division (Group 23), and is certified in Somatic Experiencing, Hypnotherapy, Integrative Health Coaching and Jungian Studies. As an actor, she worked with many of the top regional theaters from the mid 1990's through 2016, including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory, Alley Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Old Globe, Mark Taper Forum and Geffen Playhouse. As a coach for character work and/or consent-based practices, she has recently served Broadway Asia, The Old Globe, Goodspeed Opera House, La Jolla Playhouse, Diversionary Theater, IAMA Theater Company and The Antaeus Company.

Abigail Katz (Dramaturg) is a New York-based dramaturg and theater educator. She is currently Associate Producer for Atlantic Theater Company where she has been on the artistic staff since 2009. At Atlantic she expanded the play development program by creating the Amplified Reading Series as well as the Launch Commission for early career writers. She has been a dramaturg for several plays at Atlantic as well as for projects at Native Voices at the Autry, New Dramatists, The Kennedy Center, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and The Civilians, where she was Literary Associate and Dramaturg from 2007-09. Katz teaches at the College of Performing Arts at The New School and Atlantic’s conservatory, and previously taught in the MFA program at Columbia University School of the Arts and SUNY Stony Brook/Southampton. She received her MFA in dramaturgy from Columbia University School of the Arts.

Natalie Figaredo* (Stage Manager) has stage- managed the tours of My Fair Lady (first national tour) and regional productions of Staged (Laguna Playhouse); Snow White, A Shot Rang Out, American Mariachi, Poor Yella Rednecks, Amos and Boris, Little Black Shadows, Junie B Jones Is Not A Crook, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Yoga Play, Mr. Poppers Penguins, OrangeGoing to a Place where You Already Are, A Year With Frog and Toad, The Parisian Woman (South Coast Repertory); The Cake (Geffen Playhouse); The Cake (Echo Theater Company); With Love and a Major Organ (Boston Court Pasadena); and What You Are, Twelfth Night (The Old Globe). She is a graduate of CSULB and The London Academy of Music And Dramatic Art. 

Kathryn Davies* (Assistant Stage Manager) previously stage-managed Million Dollar Quartet, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Velveteen Rabbit, Poor Yella Rednecks, Sugar Plum Fairy, Orange, The Roommate, All the Way, Future Thinking, Red, Vietgone, The Whipping Man, Tartuffe, Reunion, Trudy and Max in Love, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, Sight Unseen, Topdog/Underdog, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, Doctor Cerberus, Ordinary Days, Our Mother’s Brief Affair and The Injured Party—all at SCR. Her favorite credits include The Wars at the Grand Theatre; Dividing the Estate at Dallas Theater Center; La Bohème at Tulsa Opera; The Mystery of Irma Vep at The Old Globe; Les Contes D’Hoffmann at Hawaii Opera Theatre; Of Mice and Men at Neptune Theatre; The Dresser at Manitoba Theatre Centre; Skylight at Tarragon Theatre; To Kill a Mockingbird at Citadel Theatre; and The Designated Mourner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Davies also worked as head theatre manager at the Toronto International, Dubai International, AFI, TCM and Los Angeles film festivals.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


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