Ajay Naidu - ASHES
Ajay Naidu grew up in Chicago where he worked extensively as an actor in both film and theatre from a very young age. He is a graduate of the American Repertory Theatre's Institute for Advanced Theatre, training at Harvard University. He has appeared as an actor in over 50 films and television projects. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 1996 for his performance in Rick Linklater's film Suburbia. Ashes marks his directorial debut.
Faran Tahir - KARTIK
Faran Tahir stars in John Favreau's Marvel Comic blockbuster Iron Man alongside Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Terence Howard as Iron Man's nemesis "Raza," the arms dealer who kidnaps billionaire playboy industrialist Tony Stark (Downey Jr.), resulting in his transformation into "Iron Man." He switched gears from villain to good guy in J.J. Abrams's, Star Trek, as the Federation Captain, starring wit Eric Bana,... (read more) Chris Pine, Winona Ryder, Zachary Quinto, and more. Tahir was the first Federation captain in the history of middle-eastern ethnicity - truly a groundbreaking role. His television credits include Lost, NYPD Blue, Cold Case, Charmed, and 7th Heaven.
Tahir was born in Los Angeles to Pakistani parents, both of whom were well-known actor/writer/directors in Pakistan. Tahir continued his studies at Harvard where he acquired a graduate degree. He currently resides in San Diego, California with his wife and two children. (read less)
Heather Burns - JASMINE
Heather Burns burst on to the scene in Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail and has been busy ever since. With her first feature film, Burns set a trend - those who work with her almost always work with her again. She more recently appeared in Ephron's Bewitched, starring opposite Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell.... (read more)
Burns also reprised her role as Miss Rhode Island from Miss Congeniality in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. The actress worked previously with Sandra Bullock and writer / director Marc Lawrence in Miss Congeniality and Two Weeks Notice.
Burns graduated from the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School, through TISCH School of the Arts NYU, and has since returned with All Things Considered, directed by David Pittu; and Writer's Block, directed by Woody Allen. Burns has twice worked with writer Kenneth Lonergan: in Lobby Hero, directed by Marc Brokaw at Playwrights Horizons and John Houseman Theatre; and in London's West End production of This is our Youth at the Garrick Theatre, directed by Lawrence Boswell. She returned to Playwrights Horizons in 2006 as Mia Farrow's daughter in Jame's Lapine's Fran's Bed and in 2008 appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Christopher Durang's The Marriage of Bette and Boo.
In the independent world, she can be seen in Kill the Poor, produced by John Malkovich and directed by Alan Taylor; and the features Brooklyn Lobster, with Jane Curtin and Danny Aiello; Perception, with Piper Perabo, Seth Meyers and Ajay Naidu: The Groomsmen, written and directed by Ed Burns: Choke, winner of the 2008 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Cast, with Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Houston: and the upcoming Valley of the Sun and Weakness.
On the small screen, Burns was a series regular in the Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson produced The Beat, starring opposite Mark Ruffalo, and the NBC series Twenty Good Years opposite John Lithgow and Jeffery Tambor. She is currently a series regular on HBO's Bored to Death. (read less)
Piper Perabo - BETTINA
Piper Perabo is one of the most talented and versatile actresses working today. In May of 2009 she made her stage debut in Neil Labute's controversial play Reasons To Be Pretty directed by Terry Kinney. She co-starred alongside Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski and Pablo Schreiber. Although new to the theater, she is no stranger to the screen. In 2007, she was seen in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, in... (read more) Because I Said So with Diane Keaton and Lauren Graham and in First Snow, a film directed by Mark Fergus, costarring Guy Pearce and Adam Scott.
Next, Perabo can be seen in John Glenn's disturbing thriller The Heaven Project with Paul Walker and Disney's South Of The Border alongside Jaime Lee Curtis.
Perabo recently finished filming Paramount Vantage's Carriers in New Mexico. She plays the female lead opposite Chris Pine and Lou Taylor Pucci in the post apocalyptic thriller about four friends trying to escape a viral pandemic.
Some of her more recent films include Adam Shankman's Cheaper By The Dozen 2 in which she reprised her role as the eldest daughter to Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt along with the romantic comedy Imagine Me & You with Lena Heady and Matthew Goode and the crime drama 10th & Wolf with an ensemble cast that included James Marsden and Dennis Hopper.
Her feature film debut was in the comedy White Boyz, written by Danny Hoch. She also starred in Coyote Ugly.
Piper lives in New York City. (read less)
Firdous Bamji - PINKY
Firdous Bamji was born in Bombay and raised in Bahrain, South India and South Carolina. Right out of graduate school he was cast in Lincoln Centre Theatre's world premiere of Eric Bogosian's SubUrbia. Since then he has gone on to play leading roles in many plays in New York and around the country, including world/American premieres of works by Tony Kushner and Tom Stoppard, among others. He has also had guest starring roles on Law & Order and... (read more) Law & Order (SVU). Recently, Firdous performed in A Disappearing Number, produced by the British theatre company Complicite. A Disappearing Number won the Laurence Olivier Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for "Best New Play" and the The Evening Standard Award for "Best Play." Firdous was a co-writer of the piece and played the role of Al Cooper. ADN toured Europe, was seen in London's West End, and finished it's run at the Sydney Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia. In 2006 Firdous was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as Best Supporting Actor for his critically acclaimed work in the film The War Within. In 2006 Firdous was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as Best Supporting Actor for his critically acclaimed work in the film The War Within. (read less)
Samrat Chakrabarti - RISHI
Samrat Chakrabarti started performing on the stage at a young age in the Indian community of Boston, Massachusetts. There he became well versed with the music, poetry, and plays of Rabindranath Tagore. At the age of seven, he was introduced to a Bollywood film called Namak Halalstarring a young Amitabh Bachchan. Growing up in the United States, this British born, Bengali Samrat, had only been exposed to American cinema such as E.T. and... (read more) Star Wars. Amitabh Bachchan was the first one that Samrat had seen who looked like him, specifically Indian, on the big screen, with a substantial role. This, along with Samrat's parents, inspired him to watch more Indian cinema (such as Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy) and ultimately planted the dream of one day becoming a screen actor. Samrat continued to act all through school and college.
Samrat continued to act all through school and college. Eventually, he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree (M.F.A.) in Acting from the A.R.T/ Moscow Art Theatre School Program at Harvard University. Then he moved to New York City and has been working professionally as an actor since. He has done several Guest Stars and Recurring Roles on American TV shows, such as Law and Order (NBC), The Sopranos (HBO), All My Children (ABC), and Damages (FX). He has also been consistently working in films, both Hollywood and Independent, ranging from Spike Lee's She Hate Me (distributed by Sony Pictures Classics) to Amyn Kaderali's Kissing Cousins to Joseph Castelo's The War Within (which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award).
In the last few years, he's been working on quite a few international projects, including: Manish Acharya's Loins of Punjab Presents (with legendary actress Shabana Azmi), Kabir Khan's New York (distributed by Yash Raj Films), and Joseph Matthew's Bombay Summer (with Tannishtha Chatterjee from Brick Lane). Recently, critics named Samrat Chakrabarti as one of the top six fresh faces to emerge from Toronto International Film Festival 2009, for his breakout performance as Krishna in Claire McCarthy's The Waiting City (with Hollywood star Radha Mitchell). In February 2010, the actor made the winners' list of the Triangle Media Group's Global Awards, which honor South Asian achievements in both arts and sciences. Other honorees included Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman, Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, Bollywood director Ashutosh Gowariker, Actor Irrfan Khan, Actress Nandita Das, director Anurag Kashyap, actress Lisa Ray, and Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj.
Samrat is also an established international musician and has won numerous awards for his music, including: a U.S. CARA for Best Original Pop/Rock Song, for his composition, What's It all About. (read less)
Wayne Kasserman - MOISHE
Wayne Kasserman is a founding partner/creative director at NYCOLLECTIVE PARTNERS in NYC where he produces film and theater projects (most recently EXTINCTION) and creative directs on corporate marketing and strategy campaigns to find solutions to the problems companies might label "difficult." When he's not cracking the whip at NYCOLLECTIVE, Wayne works as a professional actor. His film credits include Ashes and... (read more) Imaginary Heroes and major roles in theatrical productions, as well as work on television series such as Knight Rider, The Kill Point, Crash, Law & Order and The Jury. He holds his MFA from A.C.T. and his BFA from NYU. (read less)
Peter Macon - EDDY
Peter Macon, currently playing Othello at Oregon Shakepeare Festival. Broadway Yak in Drowning Crow, Manhattan Theatre Club. Multiple roles in TWILIGHT LOS ANGELES at Lincoln Center, as well as other prominent stages through out the country including Oedipus at The Guthrie Theatre. Malcolm,in Medea Macbeth Cinderella, Yale Repertory Theatre. Aaron, in Titus Andronicus, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington D.C. Phillip... (read more) the Bastard, in King John, Shakespeare & Co. Bill Cracker, in Happy End, American Conservatory Theatre. Witch/Donaldbain, in Macbeth, Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Obreon, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Caliban in The Tempest, Cornwall in King Lear, Nurse, in Medea, Lorenzo, in The Merchant of Venice, Thurio, in The Two Gentleman of Verona, California Shakespeare Festival. Macbeth in Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Hope, in the upcoming international film FRIENDSHIP which just premiered in Berlin.
Numb (Sony Pictures). Dexter (SHOWTIME). Law and Order (NBC). Without a Trace (CBS). Super Natural (CW). The Shield (FX). Chappelle's Show (Comedy Central). Animated Tales of the World (HBO). Awards Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Voice Over Narration. Herschel Williams award for outstanding achievement in acting from the Yale School of Drama Education MFA Yale School of Drama, BFA San Francisco Art Institute. (read less)
Jeremiah Clancy IV - DR. CLANCY
Jeremiah Clancy is a performer and visual artist living and working in New York. He was an original member of FischerSpooner, the art/performance group that also toured as a pop act. Through the years he has worn many hats in the film industry- from actor, additional cameraman, still photographer, to production designer. He can be seen in downtown theater, commercials, and at the restaurant he owns and operates, Mama's Food Shop in the East Village.
Ron Cephas Jones - FLOYD
Ron Cephas Jones is currently working on the second installment of Sam Mendes' The Bridge Project as Caliban in The Tempest and Charles the Wrestler of As You Like It which will be an international tour through the end of this summer. He most recently appeared as Wolf in Two Trains Running as part of the Signature Theatre's season of August Wilson for which he won an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatre. He created the roles... (read more) of Rooftop in Our Lady of 121st St and Lucius Jenkins in Jesus Hopped The A-Train for New York's Labyrinth Theatre. Other theatre credits include The Wooden Brinks with MCC, Richard III at The Public Theatre, Othello at London's Royal Theatre, The Exonerated at the Culture Project, Romeo and Juliet at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, TeeVee in Black Codes from the Underground, Silas in Holiday Heart at Manhattan Theatre Club and Everybody's Ruby. Connecticut Critic's Circle Award: Outstanding Actor in a Play for Thunder Knocking on the Door at Yale Rep. Ron won the Adelco Best Actor Award for his performance at the Nuyorican Poet's Cafe of Don't Explain. His film credits include Half-Nelson, Across the Universe, Carlito's Way: Rise & Fall, He Got Game and Woody Allen's Sweet and Low Down. Independent film credits include, On the One, Little Senegal, A Day in Black And White, Murder and Magic, Bachelor's Club, Naked Acts and Real Men, Sex & Friendship. TV credits include the role of Willy in the upcoming movie of Raisin in the Sun for ABC, Lipstick Jungle, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, All My Children, NYPD Blue; Feds, and NY Undercover. (read less)
Ajay Mehta - MR. PATEL
Ajay Mehta was born in New Delhi, India & educated in two of the most prestigious institutions there-- Mayo College [boarding school] & St. Stephens College, Delhi University. He attributes his acting talent genes to his parents, particularly his father Lt. Col. Baij Nath Mehta, a war hero declared Missing in Action in 1962 while commanding the 1st Sikh Regiment against the Chinese Aggression in N.E. India. Ajay's father enjoyed acting, directing &... (read more) writing playlets as an army officer. Ajay believes he is blessed with his father's looks, voice & personality & was born to act.
After university Ajay moved to Hong Kong. While there, he did continuity announcing & scriptwriting for HK TVB Pearl-English, cameos in TV dramas & Commercials, TV & Print. He made his U.S. Primetime TV debut in 1989 on NBC's Around the World in 80 Days opposite Sir Peter Ustinov. The scene was shot in Hong Kong & then Ajay made his way to New York City.
Ajay's versatility and range as an actor, be it drama or comedy, has enabled him to play memorable characters on Primetime Television in Recurring Guest Starring roles; A Middle Eastern Ambassador on 24, a Neurosurgeon on Eli Stone & an international Real Estate tycoon on Royal Pains. He has also guest starred on Lie To Me as a university professor, Cold Case as a software company CEO, NCIS as an Iranian doctor & spy, The E-Ring as a Pakistani General , Without A Trace as a gas station owner, Strong Medicine, a diplomat/business tycoon, Nip/Tuck as a surgeon, The Street as a Saudi oil billionaire, The Nanny the Sultan's Aide, Soulman a doctor and several other doctor roles on drama/comedy shows like Private Practice, CSI-New York,Queens Supreme,The Education of Max Bickford, Law & Order-SVU, a corrupt corporate CEO on The Sopranos, a diamond merchant on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a busboy on Sex and the City, & a undocumented immigrant on Tracey Ullman's, State of the Union.
Ajay's film roles have enabled him to work with some of the biggest names in the industry;Acceptance with Joan Cusack, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim world with Albert Brooks, People I Know with Al Pacino, Spiderman with director, Sam Raimi, and Serendipity (w/ Molly Shannon & Kate Beckinsale).
Ajay made his theatrical debut in Manhattan Theatre Club's critically acclaimed production, East is East as Mr.Shah. He has done several TV commercials and his melifluous voice has been used in dozens of voiceovers for TV & Radio spots. Since the Summer of 2007 Ajay has been the Campaign Spokesman for Fiber One brand products and Fiber One Yoplait, playing a Regional Manager of a supermarket. (read less)
Reena Shah - CHANDINI
Reena Shah is a multidisciplinary artist who was born & raised in Livingston, New Jersey. The oldest of 4 children, she is an accomplished actress, professional classical Indian dancer, innovative choreographer, voice-over artist, & abstract visual artist. Reena is most recognized for her work in Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient, Nina Paley's Award Winning Animated Feature Film, Sita Sings the Blues, where she was the speaking voice of Sita & sang... (read more) "Agni Pariksha", in which she was also rotoscoped dancing.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien. She has also appeared in comedy sketches on The Daily Show and Lipstick Jungle as a dancer and has choreographed for Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Reena was the Assistant Choreographer & a Dancer in the Universal Pictures Feature, The Guru, where she taught Bollywood Dancing to Marisa Tomei, Heather Graham, Jimi Mistry, & Michael McKean.
Reena tours with DJ Rekha as a Dancer & Bhangra Dance Instructor and has performed with her at Central Park Summerstage, S.O.B.'s, Hammerstein Ballroom, the 2009 Wakarusa Music Festival, & the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Reena was a Principal Dancer in Noemie LaFrance's AGORA II, a site-specific dance project inside the abandoned McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her solo work was also accepted into Chashama's Oasis Dance Festival and she has been featured in music videos for the Sugababes & Electric Kulintang's Cotabato City.
Reena's film credits include indie hits such as American Chai, Stay Until Tomorrow, Funny Valentine, and The Lucky Ones. She has also appeared in Falling Up and Spike Lee's Inside Man. She narrated Tami Yeager's PBS 'Independent Lens' Documentary, A Dream In Doubt, about an immigrant story in a world in which patriotism has morphed into murder, when Rana Singh Sodhi's brother is killed in America's first post-9/11 revenge murder.
On Stage, Reena has portrayed real life gang rape victim, Mukhtaran Mai, in the production of Seven - Journeys, written by Susan Yankowitz and directed by Tony Award nominee & Obie Award winner Evan Yionoulis for Culture Project & La Mama ETC. in New York City. Overseas, she performed in special performances of SEVEN in Deauville, France and London, England. Additional Stage Credits include Suzan-Lori Parks' 365 Days/365 Plays (The Public Theater/Desipina), Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues (Arthur Seelen), Nandita Shenoy's Marrying Nandini (Green Light), along with notable staged readings at The Lark Theater Company, Workshop Theater Company, and Desipina & Company.
Currently, Reena performs with her husband, musician/composer/singer Todd Michaelsen, in their rock band MY PET DRAGON, where she dances, sings, & provides percussion using a number of instruments including her traditional Indian Ghungroo Anklet Bells. My Pet Dragon was recently signed to Gimme That Sound Productions and will be releasing their upcoming album, Mountain & Cities later this year.
Reena graduated from the Padmini Institute of Fine Arts, where she studied Bharata Natyam, an Indian Classical Dance Form, under The Late Guru Padmini Ramachandran, a renowned Indian Actress & Dancer. Reena holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies with a Concentration in Mass Media & Society from New York University. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, AFTRA, & ACTORS' EQUITY. Her life mantra is: Rock on with Peace Love Respect Always. Website: www.DancingReena.com. (read less)
John Barilla - MR. CHRIFFIELD
Melissa De Sousa - CAMILLE
Vontress Mitchell - HOMELESS MAN
Vontress Mitchell will appear in Los Angeles Opera's highly anticipated final installment of Wagner's Ring Cycle (Götterdämerung). He was last seen in the world premiere of Phillip Glass' Appomattox at San Francisco Opera. He has also performed with Redlands Opera, Opera Nova, Celestial Opera Company, Golden West Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. Vontress is a graduate of the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced... (read more) Theatre Training at Harvard University. On the mainstage at A.R.T., he has appeared in Henry IV, parts I & II,Waiting for Godot, The Three Penny Opera, Demons, and The America Play. Earlier this year, Vontress received rave reviews for his portrayal of "Garnett" in Oliver Mayer's play Blade to the Heat in both San Francisco and San Jose. His New York stage debut was in Shlemiel the First at the Serious Fun Festival. His off-off Broadway credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theoclymenus, and Othello. He has been favorably mentioned in both the Boston Globe and The New York Times with a feature in the American Theatre Magazine. Vontress has recently finished the filming of the independent feature entitled Ashes where he portrays a homeless opera singer.
Reviews: "Finessing the James Brown knee drops and one-legged shimmies," Mitchell brings off one of the play's high points - both for its musical brilliance and its emotional significance" - Metro Active San Jose, CA
"Garnet (Vontress Mitchell), a lounge singer who makes ends meet by impersonating Jackie Wilson" - SF Station San Francisco, CA (read less)
Atul Ohri - JAY
Debargo Sanyal - DHARMESH
Debargo resides in New York City, where he attended Columbia University and was a Guest Artist Actor ('05) at The Juilliard School Drama Division. Feature Film Credits: Everybody's Fine (opposite Robert De Niro & Kate Beckinsale), Today's Special (opposite Aasif Mandvi & Naseeruddin Shah), Made for Each Other, Sita Sings The Blues (Tribeca '08), West 32nd (Tribeca '07), Karma Calling, Red Hook, My Sassy Girl, Quarter Life Crisis,... (read more) Sad Sack Sally, and Drawing with Chalk. Short Film Credits include: Modern Day Arranged Marriage, Dry Clean Only, Windows Vista Predator Edition, Roulette Night, L'emon, Theen, Aimee Undercover, Babette, and The Waiting Room. Sanyal has guest appeared on Law & Order, The Sopranos, Law & Order-Criminal Intent, The Unusuals, and Law & Order-Special Victims Unit. Off-Broadway Stage Credits: Chuck Mee's Queens Boulevard The Musical (Signature Theatre Company), Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink (NY Premiere, Alter Ego Productions), Port Authority Throw Down (The Working Theater), and Looking for the Pony (Vital Theater Company). (read less)
Vishal Vaid - VISHAL
Maurice J. Carr - MO
Born and raised on Chicago's south side, Maurice has been an artist since day one. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Maurice has a bachelor of arts degree in film and video production. He has also acted in numerous independent film and theatre projects. A renaissance man, constantly involved in different community-oriented activities in the arts, Reese continues to expand himself as an artist, by constantly living beyond limits.
Vikram Chatwal - DISTANT WARLORD