Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ starring Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed at Atlantic Theater Company, extends through July 12

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Pulitzer Prize® finalist Rajiv Joseph’s play Guards at the Taj, starring Tony Award® nominees Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed, and directed by Tony Award® nominated actor and director Amy Morton, opened to critical acclaim on June 11. Guards at the Taj was awarded the 2015 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, given annually for an unproduced, full-length play of social relevance by an emerging American playwright.

Playwright Rajiv Joseph wins Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for New Play GUARDS AT THE TAJ; Set for World Premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in May 

Guards at the Taj began previews on May 20th and was scheduled to play a limited engagement through Sunday, June 28 Off Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company at The Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street, but has been extended through July 12. Click here to purchase tickets.

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

In 1648 India, two Imperial Guards watch from their post as the sun rises for the first time on the newly-completed Taj Mahal – an event that shakes their respective worlds. When they are ordered to perform an unthinkable task, the aftermath forces them to question the concept of friendship, beauty and duty, and changes them forever.

Arian Moayed and Omar Metwally in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Arian Moayed and Omar Metwally in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Check out what the critics are saying:

“FRISKY, FUNNY DIALOGUE!
Directed by Amy Morton with a RICH SENSE OF ATMOSPHERE that raises potent questions about the human price paid throughout history for the caprices of the mighty!”   – The New York Times

“RIVETING! The most astounding brutal tableau you’ll ever see on stage!
Beautifully illustrated by Metwally and Moayed who bring
QUIET INTENSITY, FEROCITY, and UNBRIDLED EMOTION!
YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO LOOK AWAY FROM THESE TWO ACTORS!” 

 Entertainment Weekly

“An ENVELOPE-PUSHING PLAYWRIGHT and TWO STUNNING ACTORS
under the MUSCULAR DIRECTION of Amy Morton!
It’s DEEPLY MOVING, LOVINGLY ACTED, and PACKED WITH IDEAS with
EXISTENTIAL ANGST, SILLINESS, HORROR and PITCH-BLACK HUMOR!”

 Associated Press

“STRIKING ORIGINAL DRAMA!
Director Amy Morton has done a SUPERB JOB!
Two EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES KEEP US ENTERTAINED!”
 Variety

“HIGHLY CAPTIVATING. Joseph writes SLY, FUNNY DIALOGUE
laced with JOLTS OF LYRICISM. Directed with SUPPLE MODULATION…
Morton has coaxed LAYERED PERFORMANCES from
EXEMPLARY ACTORS at the top of their game…
AN EXQUISITE PIECE OF WRITING with SPIKY CHARACTER
INTERPLAY and WICKED HUMOR.
AN UNEXPECTEDLY MOVING EXPERIENCE.”

 The Hollywood Reporter

“NAIL-BITING AND URGENT ENTERTAINMENT!”
 NBC New York

Click here to read all the reviews.

Omar Metwally, director Amy Morton, playwright Rajiv Joseph and Arian Moayed in rehearsal for Atlantic Theatre Company's production of GUARDS AT THE TAJ. Photo courtesy of Rajiv Joseph

Omar Metwally, director Amy Morton, playwright Rajiv Joseph and Arian Moayed in rehearsal for Atlantic Theatre Company’s production of GUARDS AT THE TAJ. Photo courtesy of Rajiv Joseph

Steppenwolf Theatre Company member Amy Morton’s directing credits include The Way West, Penelope, Clybourne Park, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Pillowman, Dublin Carol and Topdog/Underdog for the company. She received Tony® and Drama Desk award nominations for both her acclaimed performances in the most recent revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and August: Osage County on Broadway in addition to appearing in over thirty Steppenwolf Theatre Company productions.

Playwright Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph‘s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize® and received a Drama Desk award nomination for Outstanding Play. His other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The North Pool, The Lake Effect and Mr. Wolf. He is the librettist and co-lyricist for the musical, Fly. Joseph also wrote for the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” for its third and fourth seasons and was the co- screenwriter of the film Draft Day, which was released last year, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. Joseph received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and his M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa. Joseph was named a 2010 Rockefeller Fellow by United States Artists. He is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award, the Whiting Award, the Glickman Award, the 2013 Equity Jeff Award for The Lake Effect, produced by Silk Road Rising in Chicago and the prestigious 2013 Steinberg Playwright Award from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Joseph just returned from Morocco and the set of Army of One, a new film he co-wrote with Scott Rothman, loosely based on a GQ article by Chris Heath about Gary Faulkner, an ex-con who made 11 attempts to travel to the most volatile region of Pakistan to capture Osama bin Laden, armed with only a sword. Directed by Larry Charles (“Borat”), Army of One stars Nicholas Cage, Russell Brand, Denis O’Hare, Ken Marino, Paul Scheer, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Rainn Wilson. Click here to read the full article. In 2016, Opera Theatre of St. Louis will present the world premiere of composer Jack Perla and Joseph’s Shalimar the Clown, adapted from the novel by Salman Rushdie.

Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Guards at the Taj features scenic design by Timothy R. Mackabee, costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilley II, lighting design by David Weiner, original music and sound design by Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen, special effects design by Jeremy Chernick and fight direction by J. David Brimmer.

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Arian Moayed in Atlantic Theater Company’s world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj. Photo by Doug Hamilton

Atlantic Theater Company presents a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy) & Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph (Guards at the Taj). These two prolific creators of theater share the process of writing their stories and bringing them to the stage.

Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 

THE GET DOWN, Baz Luhrmann’s New Drama Series Set in 1970s NYC That Gave Birth to Hip-Hop, Punk and Disco, to Premiere on Netflix in 2016

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

Related Articles
Video: ATC Uncovered: Guards of the Stage — A Playwright’s Talk with Stephen Adly Guirgis and Rajiv Joseph
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 
Production Photos: Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ at Atlantic Theater Company; Opens June 11 
Production Photos: Jon Tenney, Emily Ruth James, Tessa Auberjonois, John de Lancie, and Kwana Martinez in World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s MR. WOLF at South Coast Repertory through May 3 
Playwright Rajiv Joseph wins Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award for New Play GUARDS AT THE TAJ; Set for World Premiere at Atlantic Theater Company in May 
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents Rajiv Joseph’s THE LAKE EFFECT Starring Adam Poss, Nilanjana Bose, Jason Bowen through March 29
The Old Globe Presents World Premiere of Christopher Gattelli Helmed IN YOUR ARMS Featuring Vignettes written by David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Douglas Carter Beane, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage, and Alfred Uhry, September 16 – October 25
Jaime Castañeda to Helm Rajiv Joseph’s GUARDS AT THE TAJ at La Jolla Playhouse, February 2-28, 2016
NYU Theatrical Production Presents the World Premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night in the Shubert Theatre at Tisch School of the Arts through November 24
East West Players’ Los Angeles Premiere of “Animals Out of Paper” by Rajiv Joseph, Featuring C.S. Lee and Tess Lina, Opens Sept. 10, 2014
Dec. 16: Award Winning Playwrights Rajiv Joseph and Tarell Alvin McCraney, the focus of PBS Film, Playwright: From Page to Stage
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards

Other articles by Lia Chang
Photos:Lunch with Tony Winner Lea Salonga and George Takei, Stars of ALLEGIANCE
Award-winning Filmmaker Jennifer Phang’s Sci-Fi film ADVANTAGEOUS starring Jacqueline Kim, Ken Jeong and Samantha Kim, available on Netflix and iTunes
Photos: Garth Kravits, Michael Keyloun, Klea Blackhurst, Eloise Kropp, Maxine Linehan, and Aaron Ramey in GROUNDED FOR LIFE at The York
WORLD PREMIERE of THE TOP TEN 72 Hour Shootout films of 2015 at Village Cinema East on July 25
China: Through the Looking Glass Exhibition Extended through September 7 at Metropolitan Museum
Photos & Video: Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper, Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Harriett D. Foy, Laiona Michelle and Tom Hewitt in AMAZING GRACE
Ebony Jo-Ann Celebrates PLEASE SAVE YOUR LOVE FOR ME CD Release, with a concert at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar on July 15
Two-Time Tony nominee André De Shields, Tony Winner Lillias White, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK’s Lori Tan Chinn, Stephanie Powers, Georgia Engel & More Will Lead Broadway-Bound Musical GOTTA DANCE in Chicago
Behind the Scenes of the Asian American Film Lab’s 72 Hour Shootout with Lia Chang, Garth Kravits, Evan Daves and Alicia Manns in HIDE AND SEEK
Photos: The 11th Annual 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Launch Party at The Korea Society; TWO FACES is this year’s theme 
The King and I wins 4 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical, Kelli O’Hara (Best Leading Actress in a Musical), Ruthie Ann Miles (Best Featured Actress in a Musical) and Catherine Zuber (Best Costume Design)
The King and I’s Ruthie Ann Miles Wins #TonyAwards for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Photos: 2015 Tony Award Winners and Performances
Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang’s Commencement Speech at SUNY Purchase
Photos: Traveling through the mouth of the Dragon with BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’s James Hong, Peter Kwong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, George Cheung, Al Leong, Jeff Imada, James Lew, Gary Goldman, Eric Lee
Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station
Michael K. Lee, Christopheren Nomura, Greg Watanabe and More Join George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung in Broadway’s ALLEGIANCE; Full Cast Announced!
Photos: Edie Falco, Bryce Pinkham, Stephanie McKay, Lena Hall, Nick Blaemire, Jacob Ming-Trent, Matthew Saldívar at The 52nd Street Project’s Gala FANCY THAT
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 
ABC Renews “Fresh Off the Boat” and Picks up Ken Jeong’s “Dr. Ken”
An Intimate Evening with Author Amy Tan at the New-York Historical Society 
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13
Crafting a Career

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s