The Lake Effect | 2016-2017 Season

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The Lake Effect

Feb 2 – Feb 19

Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Scenic Design by David Arsenault
Costume Design by Amanda Doherty
Lighting Design by Seth Reiser
Original Music & Sound Design by Daniel Perelstein
Dramaturgy by Becca Poccia
Stage Manager Stephie Kesselring

During a fierce winter storm, estranged siblings reunite in their family’s restaurant amid pungent memories of tandoors and tikka masala. When a regular customer claims to know more of their family history than they do, Vijay and Priya are forced to consider the future of the business. Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph serves up a spicy menu of family secrets, sibling rivalry and unlikely friendship.




NEIMAH DJOURABCHI is a Brooklyn-based actor, musician, and stunt performer who is making his Geva Theatre Center debut in The Lake Effect. New York theatre credits include Universal Robots (Sheen Center/Gideon), Honeycomb Trilogy: Sovereign (Judson); Kill Shakespeare (HeRe Arts); Jesus in India (Ma-Yi); The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (Vampire Cowboys/ Ma-Yi); Thieves (The Public); Action Philosophers and Hack! (Impetuous/Brick); 12th Night of the Living Dead (Impetuous); Open Door (LaMama, Etc) and Hamlet (LaMama, Etc). Film/Television credits include Imitation Girl (Ilium) “Blacklist” (NBC) “Madame Secretary” (CBS), “Gotham” (Fox), “AKA Jessica Jones” (Netflix) and “Odyssey” (NBC). Mr. Djourabchi currently plays bass for Supermajor, more info at: Thanks to Geva for having me, Lorna and the T.E. team, love to Audrey and Smaug.



CLINTON C. LOWE, a Bronx native, was a series regular on “The Hustle” (Fuse TV’s Award winning comedy series), appeared on “Law & Order: SVU,” “Blue Bloods,” “Louie,” “Rescue Me,” the film American Gangster, numerous commercials; and most recently worked with Golden Globe winner Richard Gere, and Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg, respectively. Last year he starred in one of “The 10 Best New Jersey Theater Productions of 2016” – The Brothers Size (Luna Stage); and Off-Broadway in The Block (Working Theater). Other stage work includes classics like Romeo & Juliet (national tour) and The Three Sisters, but he loves to develop new work such as Holler If Ya’ Hear Me (Tupac Shakur inspired Broadway Musical) and Broken Fences (dramedy about gentrification in a tough Chicago neighborhood). He’s also the co-founder of Artists 4 Change NYC (a volunteer group that promotes community activism) and Shakespeare Chicken‘n’Beer (a meet-up for People of Color to freely explore Shakespeare). You can follow him on Instagram & Twitter, @clinton_lowe, or friend him on FB. Mr. Lowe would like to encourage us all, to recognize ourselves in each other, no matter how different the surface may seem. This William Esper Studio Graduate (NYC) is very excited to be making his Geva Theatre Center debut! 



LIPICA SHAH is thrilled to make her Geva Theatre Center debut in this incredible play! Select New York credits include Bunty Berman Presents… (The New Group), Coping (NY Fringe Festival), Rachel: The Musical (The Wild Project – Fruitie Award Outstanding Featured Performance) and Lonely Leela (HERE Arts). Regional credits include Orange, Passing Strange, and the Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy – title roles in The Chronicles of Kalki and Shiv (all at Mixed Blood Theatre), The Who and The What (Gulfshore Playhouse) and Dov and Ali (Chester Theatre). Film credits include Admission; Arbitrage and Let’s be Out, the Sun is Shining (NYIFF Best Actress Nomination) and television includes “Limitless,” “The Following,” ”Person of Interest,” “White Collar,” and “Pokémon.” Catch her on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Regal Academy” and upcoming TV series “Time After Time.”



RAJIV JOSEPH’s Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist for drama, and also awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts.  Mr. Joseph’s New York productions include Guards at the Taj (Atlantic Theater Company, 2015) which was awarded the 2016 Obie award for Best New Play and the  Lucille Lortel award for Outstanding Play, The North Pool (Vineyard Theater, 2013), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Stage Theatre, 2011), Animals Out of Paper (Second Stage Theatre, 2008), The Leopard and the Fox (Alter Ego, 2007), Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre, 2006), and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre, 2006).  Other recent plays include Mr. Wolf (South Coast Repertory, 2015), The Lake Effect (Crossroads Theatre in New Jersey, 2013) and Monster at the Door (Alley Theatre in Houston, 2011).   Mr. Joseph wrote for the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” for seasons 3 and 4 and was the co-screenwriter of the film Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.  He is the book-writer and co-lyricist for the musical, Fly, which premiered at the Dallas Theater Center in 2013.  Jack Perla and Mr. Joseph’s opera Shalimar the Clown, adapted from the novel by Salman Rushdie, recently had its highly anticipated world premiere at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The Wall Street Journal called Joseph’s libretto “a remarkably succinct and faithful distillation” of Rushdie’s novel. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University and his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal and now lives in Brooklyn.



PIRRONNE YOUSEFZADEH is a Brooklyn-based theatre director, writer, and educator. She has directed and developed new work at The Public/Joe’s Pub, New York Theatre Workshop, Ars Nova, Soho Rep, New Georges, Partial Comfort Productions, Rising Phoenix Rep, Noor Theatre, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Dramatists, The Lark Play Development Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, InterAct Theatre Company, and Hangar Theatre, among others. Her productions of In the Blood (Theatre Horizon) and The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane by Jen Silverman together received fifteen Barrymore nominations, including Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production for both. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, New Georges Affiliated Artist, a Member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, a recipient of SDC’s Denham Fellowship and Williamstown’s Sagal Fellowship, and an alumna of the Emerging Artist Fellowship at NYTW, Drama League Directors Project, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Resident Director Program. Ms. Yousefzadeh is a frequent guest director at Juilliard, Fordham University, Yale School of Drama, NYU, and Ramapo College. She received her M.F.A. from Columbia University. Member, SDC.


Scenic Designer

DAVID L. ARSENAULT returns to Geva where he designed the sets for Dancing Lessons, Black Pearl Sings! and A Body of Water. Select NYC credits include Peer Gynt (Classic Stage Company), A Better Place (The Duke), Sense of an Ending (59E59) NY Times Critic’s Picks Handle with Care (Westside Theatre), The Awake (59E59), and Long Story Short (Prospect).  International credits include English Theatre Berlin, Germany. Regionally, Mr. Arsenault’s work has been seen at Bay Street Theatre, Opera North, Weston Playhouse, Dorset Theatre Festival, Northern Stage, Hangar Theatre, Merry Go Round Playhouse, Gulfshore Playhouse, Urban Arias, Bucks County Playhouse, and others. Broadway (Associate): The Color Purple (revival), Les Liaisons DangereusesKing Charles IIIConstellations, and Disaster! In 2011, he was nominated for the American Theatre Wing’s Hewes Award for his design of First Prize (kef Productions). He is a member of United Scenic Artists 829. Mr. Arsenault trained at Ithaca College.


Costume Designer

AMANDA DOHERTY is currently in her 16th season at Geva Theatre Center as the Costume Shop Supervisor.  While at Geva, she has had the opportunity to design costumes for the Wilson Stage productions of Miracle on South Division Street, Women in Jeopardy!, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Informed Consent, The Book Club Play, The Underpants and Shear Madness, the Fielding Stage productions of Mother (and me), Katherine’s Colored Lieutenant, Tinker to Evers to Chance, Stranded on Earth, Underneath the Lintel, Race of the Ark Tattoo, Lobby Hero and the Big Theatre for Little People productions of Meet Me Incognito and And Then They Came for Me.  Other designs include work for Kodak, Coca-Cola, Penn State’s University Resident Theatre Company and Cornell University.  Her draping skills have also been seen in productions at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and Pennsylvania Center Stage.  She received her M.F.A. in Costume Design and Technology from Penn State University and now happily resides in Rochester with her husband and two Bumpus Hounds.


Lighting Designer

SETH REISER is a lighting and set designer who works in theatre, opera, dance and music.  He lives here in Rochester and teaches at the University of Rochester.  New York credits include Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Public Theater; The Mysteries at the Flea, directed by Ed Iskandar; Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith’s Radio Play at PS 122, directed by Kip Fagan; Taylor Mac’s Obie Award winning production of The Lily’s Revenge at HERE ArtsRegional credits include Syracuse Stage: Chinglish, In the Next Room and Disgraced all directed by May Adrales; Shakespeare Theatre DC: Taming of the Shrew; Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Seattle Repertory: Vietgone directed by May Adrales; Dallas Theatre Center: King Lear directed by Kevin Moriarty, Clybourne Park directed by Joel Ferrell, Tigers Be Still directed by Hal Brooks; Alliance Theatre: Edward Foote directed by Chris Coleman; ACT: Between Riverside and Crazy directed by Irene Lewis; Two River Theatre Company: As You Like It directed by Michael Sexton; Chautauqua Theatre Company: A Raisin in the Sun directed by Ethan McSweeny, Our Town directed by Paul Mullins.  Lighting for concerts includes The Indian Queen in Concert (MusicAeterna) directed by Robert Castro; St. Matthew Passion (Berlin Philharmonic) at the Park Avenue Armory directed by Peter Sellars; Des Canyon Aux Etoiles… (St. Louis Symphony, LA Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony) directed by Deborah O’Grady.  Mr. Reiser received his B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and his M.F.A. at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.


Original Music & Sound Design

DANIEL PERELSTEIN is a freelance sound designer, composer, and musical director in Philadelphia. The Lake Effect marks his Geva Theatre Center debut! Mr. Perelstein is fortunate to be a frequent collaborator and good friend of director Pirronne Yousefzadeh. He has recently designed at Roundabout Theatre Company, Primary Stages, McCarter Theatre, Virginia Stage Co, Opera Philadelphia, Wilma Theater, Arden Theatre, People’s Light, Kimmel Center, and many others. He is an Artistic Associate at The Wilma Theater and a resident sound designer for the Bearded Ladies Cabaret. Mr. Perelstein is the recipient of two Barrymore Awards and fourteen Barrymore Award nominations in three categories as well as a 2013 Independence Foundation Fellowship. He received his B.S. in Engineering, B.A. in Music from Swarthmore College. In memory of Dad.



BECCA POCCIA is in her fifth season at Geva Theatre Center, where she has served as dramaturg for All Your Questions Answered, Tinker to Evers to Chance, Katherine’s Colored Lieutenant, The Road to Where and Miracle on South Division Street; as stage manager for the Late Nite Catechism plays, the Plays in Progress series and the Festival of New Theatre; and as venue manager for the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. Ms. Poccia holds an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and also works as a freelance dramaturg; favorite credits include Goliath (Planet Connections Theatre Festivity) and the world premieres of AK-47 Sing Along (New York International Fringe Festival), Lifetime Fairytale (Columbia Stages), Dirt: Part 1 (Enthuse Theater) and Foreign Wars (Random Access Theatre).


Stage Manager

STEPHIE KESSELRING is delighted to return to Geva Theatre Center for her seventh season. Some favorite productions at Geva include Spamalot!, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Little Shop of Horrors, The 39 Steps, Good People, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Perfect Wedding, Over the Tavern and Next to Normal. She has also stage managed  The Marvelous Wonderettes, Bob, A Body of Water, An Iliad and Dancing Lessons in the Fielding Stage; Action and Reaction, a staged reading of Macbeth at American Globe Theatre; and the Off-Broadway production of Captain Marbles and His Acting Squad.