Play: Everyone Has Tears by Cynthia Sophiea

Sun, April 3, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all plays »)

Accompanied by Zafer Tawil on oud, dumbek, and violin.

Directed by Robert McQueen

Tickets: $15

A woman—Lebanese, Palestinian, American—discover her roots. Now she’s telling her story—and unearthing voices rarely heard. Cynthia Sophiea’s solo performance, “Everyone Has Tears,” interweaves with honesty, humor, and song her journey and the tales of people who have deeply impacted her life: her Lebanese grandmother who came to America as a 20-year-old bride; her ‘broken’ Palestinian cousin, Salim, whose family lost everything in the violent birth of the state of Israel; a passionate Jewish-American writer and friend, defender of the Jewish state; the 'older than his years' Palestinian boy she met in a Beirut refugee camp in 1981; even Golde and Tzeitel from 'Fiddler on the Roof,' characters she has played and loved. Everyone Has Tears is a voyage that is at once personal but also emblematic of the general condition of exile, immigration and the existential conditions of contemporary humanity.

, an actress-singer-dancer has worked with many fine performers. Her years on Broadway include Victor Victoria, directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews and later Liza Minnelli; She Loves Me, directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Rob Marshall (Best Revival of a Musical); Kiss Me, Kate, with Brian Stokes Mitchell (Best Revival of a Musical); Zorba, with Anthony Quinn and Lila Kedrova; My Fair Lady, with Rex Harrison and Milo O’Shea; and The Scarlet Pimpernel. She toured the country in Mamma Mia as Tanya, one of her favorite roles and the role that took her to the West Coast. Other New York credits include Michael John LaChiusa’s The Petrified Prince, directed by Harold Prince for the Public Theatre; Gershwin’s Tip Toes, in Carnegie Hall; and Carnival, for City Center Encores. As a young woman she toured several times as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel, and when she was old enough played Golde with John Norman Thomas as Tevye (two Arab Americans playing two of the most famous Jewish roles of all times!). Television audiences have seen her in guest star spots in Raising the Bar, Twenty Good, Without a Trace, The Closer, Malcolm in the Middle, Pepper Dennis, and Zoey 101. She also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and The Ryan Seacrest Show. Film work includes Grindin? and Callers.

Zafer Tawil: An accomplished Palestinian musician based in New York City, Zafer Tawil is a virtuoso on oud, violin, and qanoun, and is a master of Arab percussion. He has performed with numerous musicians, ranging from the pop star Sting to avant-garde composer/performer Elliot Sharpe to masters of Arab music such as Simon Shaheen, Chab Mami, Bassam Saba, and George Ziadeh, among many others. Zafer has composed music for a number of film soundtracks, most recently Jonathan Demme’s My Favorite American (not yet released), Rachel Getting Married, and the documentary Until When. He has held workshops on Arab music at numerous universities throughout the United States. CDs include “Mumtastic,” by Shusmo; Gaida Hinawi’s debut CD, “Levantine Indulgence”; and two CDs by Amir AlSaffar’s Two Rivers: “Two Rivers Musicians,” and the yet-to-be-released, “Enaana.”

Robert McQueen’s recent directorial credits include THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at The Berkley Street Theatre in Toronto, and the Strauss opera CAPRICCIO for Pacific Opera Victoria.McQueen directed the production of WHERE ELEPHANTS WEEP,which had its world premiere in November 2008 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.The project engaged a company of actors, singers, and dancers from Cambodia, the U.S., and Canada, and was filmed for television broadcast in Cambodia.Following this project,he directed the Japanese-language production of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical CAROUSEL at the Galaxy Theatre in Tokyo in February 2009.

McQueen’s inspired 2007 production of THE MAGIC FLUTE for Vancouver Opera engaged a team of over 80 First Nations and non-Aboriginal artists and advisors.In addition to directing this production, McQueen’s English-language adaptation of the libretto brought into focus the specifics of this unique production and included, in the spoken text, words and phrases ofHalq’emeylem – the language of the Musqueam people, on whose ancestral land the Vancouver Opera House sits.This production will be re-mounted at Vancouver Opera in their 2013 season.Other recent projects include I AM MY OWN WIFE at the Belfry Theatre, Victoria;THE SPITFIRE GRILL at Theatre London; the Spanish-language production of MAMMA MIA in Mexico City, and the Portuguese-language productions in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. McQueen was also the Associate Director for the Broadway, U.S. nationals, Toronto, and Las Vegas companies of MAMMA MIA. Additional directorial credits include productions of LA BOHEME for The Canadian Opera Company, IL BARBIERE DI SEVIGLIA, L’ELISIR D’AMORE, and TURANDOT for Arizona Opera, and AS YOU LIKE IT for Bard on the Beach in Vancouver.


Alwan's Literary Programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Last updated: 2011-11-30 03:06:56

Cynthia Sophiea
Cynthia Sophiea
Zafer Tawil
Zafer Tawil

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