Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Office of News & Public Affairs

Boston College Theatre Department Presents
The Arabian Nights: Nov. 15-18, 2012


Chestnut Hill, Mass. (November 2012) – The Boston College Theatre Department continues its 2012-2013 season with The Arabian Nights, Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation of the ancient Arabic tales. Directed by BC Associate Professor of Theatre John Houchin, the production will be presented on the mainstage of the University’s Robsham Theater Arts Center from November 15 through 18. 

The play centers on Scheherazade, who delays an untimely death at the hands of her husband, the cruel King Shahryar, by entertaining him with a variety of stories for 1,001 consecutive nights. In these hypnotic tales of kings, jesters, thieves and genies, love prevails over vengeance.  Masterfully, Scheherazade weaves one story into the next in the hopes that prolonging her life will also soothe the King's savage temper and even cure his madness. Combining powerful narrative with vibrant music and colorful imagery, this adaptation underscores the importance and power of storytelling.

“There’s a transformative power in storytelling,” says Houchin. “The Arabian Nights entertain and redeem lives all the while affirming this true art form.”

Zimmerman's adaptation of The Arabian Nights was occasioned in part by the increased interest in Arabic culture that followed the first Gulf War. In 1992, she directed the original production at Chicago’s acclaimed Lookingglass Theatre Company; it was revived by the company in 1997 and 2009. The play has been celebrated by critics and audiences in Chicago and all over the country, with the Chicago Tribune hailing it as a "masterwork" and the San Francisco Chronicle calling it "hilarious and poignant."

"What makes a story spellbinding?" asks BC Theatre Department Chair Scott T. Cummings. "Last year's [BC Theatre Department] production of Into the Woods drew on Grimm's fairy tales.  Again this season, with this exciting production of The Arabian Nights, we explore our fascination with narrative."

The Arabian Nights cast features Chris Gouchoe ’13 as Shahryar, Thais Menendez ’14 as Scheherazade, Tim Kopacz ’13 as Harun al-Rashid, Stephanie Flores ’14 as Dunyazade, Stephen Wu ’14 as Wazir, Ryan Cooper ’16 as Jafar, Leo Magrini ’16 as Madman, Nick Gennaro ’16 as the Jester, Alexandra Lewis ’14 as the Jester’s wife, Shannon Debari ’13 as Sympathy the Learned, Christine Movius ’13 as Perfect Love, Loucie St. Germain ’14 as Azizah, and Jared Reinfeldt ’16 in assorted roles. The cast also features dancers and percussionists who also play various roles: Alexis Berlinger ’13, Jilliene Jaeger ’14, Tatiana Schaefer ‘16, Taleen Shrikian ’15, Scott Jean ’14, Aryn Mello Pryor ’16, and Kathryn Raskin ’15.  

In addition to Houchin, the production team includes BC Theatre Department faculty members Crystal Tiala as scenic designer, Jacqueline Dalley as costume designer, Jeff Adelberg as lighting designer, and Sun Ho Kim as choreographer. Local musician Mike Davis serves as musical director and BC junior Jon Silva as stage manager.

The production opens on Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. and runs through a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 18 in the Robsham Theater Arts Center (RTAC). Tickets are $15 and $10 for students, seniors, and BC faculty and staff. All tickets are available online at, through the RTAC Box Office, or by calling 617-552-4002. For more information, please go to