Ayad Akhtar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ayad Akhtar
Ayad akhtar 2012.jpg
Akhtar at the 2012 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1970-10-28) October 28, 1970 (age 45)
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actor, writer

Ayad Akhtar (born October 28, 1970) is an Pakistani American actor and writer. He is the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Akhtar was born in Staten Island, New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After spending most of his childhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he attended Brown University where he majored in theater. After graduation he moved to Italy and studied acting with Jerzy Grotowski for a year.[2] Akhtar then returned to the United States to teach acting classes with Andre Gregory and earn his Master of Arts in directing from Columbia University School of the Arts. While at Columbia he and classmates Tom Glynn and Joseph Castelo formed the idea for The War Within, a film about an ordinary man radicalized into becoming a terrorist.[2] Akhtar also starred in the film playing Hassan, the would-be terrorist.[3] In 2011 he played Neel Kashkari in the HBO film Too Big to Fail.[4]

Akhtar has written for the stage. His playwriting credits include Disgraced, which premiered at The American Theater Company in January 2012[5] and which was staged at LCT3/Lincoln Center in New York in October 2012, and won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.[1] The play's New York cast included Aasif Mandvi, Heidi Armbruster, Erik Jensen and Karen Pittman.[6] Disgraced was revived on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, beginning on September 27, 2014. The cast included Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Josh Radnor, and Karen Pittman.[7]

His play, The Invisible Hand, opened Off-Broadway at the New York Theater Workshop on December 7, 2014.[8] Directed by Ken Russ Schmoll, the cast features Justin Kirk, Jameal Ali, Usman Ally and Dariush Kashani.[9] The play had its world premiere at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in March 2012[10] and then was produced at ACT Theatre, Seattle in September 2014.[11] In association with ACT Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland presented the play in March 2015.[12] The play won the 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award, John Gassner Award.[13] It will be performed at the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, California in June 2016.[14]

His first novel, American Dervish, was published by Little Brown Publishing in January 2012 to positive reviews from critics. He is working on his second novel.[15]


Film and television[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2002 "Life Document 2: Identity" Ahmad Directed, wrote script and served as editor
2005 The War Within Hassan Co-wrote script
2006 2006 Independent Spirit Awards Himself Documentary
"Long After" Naseer Short
2008 "FCU: Fact Checkers Unit" Short
2011 Too Big to Fail Neel Kashkari TV film


Year Title Notes
2011 Disgraced Writer
2012 The Invisible Hand Writer
2014 The Who & the What Writer




  1. ^ a b c Associated Press (April 16, 2013). "Ayad Akhtar’s ‘Disgraced,’ play about a dinner party gone awry, wins Pulitzer Prize for drama". Washington Post. 
  2. ^ a b Wagner, Annie (October 19, 2005). "Annie Wagner Talks to Ayad Akhtar and Tom Glynn". The Stranger. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ Pais, Arthur J. (October 6, 2005). "What goes on in a terrorist's mind". Rediff. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  4. ^ Dudek, Duane (May 19, 2011). "Akhtar finds new opportunities in fiction, HBO". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  5. ^ Jones, Chris (Jan 21, 2012). "Tolerance is no easy out in riveting 'Disgraced'". Chicago Tribune. 
  6. ^ Broadway.com. "Lincoln Center Theater to Kick Off LCT3 Season with Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced". 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review. A Hostage Bets on the Market for Survival" The New York Times, December 8, 2014
  9. ^ Staff. "Casting Announced for Pulitzer Prize Winner Ayad Akhtar's 'The Invisible Hand' at NYTW" playbill.com, October 30, 2014
  10. ^ Hetrick, Adam. Ayad Akhtar's 'The Invisible Hand' Will Premiere in St. Louis" playbill.com, February 27, 2012
  11. ^ Berson, Misha. " 'The Invisible Hand': A taut thriller, starring terrorism and high finance" Seattle Times, September 12, 2014
  12. ^ Homepage Artists Repertory Theatre
  13. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'Curious Incident' Top Winner at Outer Critics Circle Awards" playbill.com, May 11, 2015
  14. ^ http://www.marintheatre.org/productions/2015-16-season
  15. ^ Akhtar, Ayad (January 6, 2012). "'Dervish' Whirls Into Publishing World". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Little, Brown and Company Fall '11/Winter '12" (PDF). Little, Brown and Company. May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  17. ^ King, Susan (November 30, 2005). "Getting into the Spirit of awards season". Los Angeles Times. p. E3. 
  18. ^ ""Six Finalists Named For Steinberg/ATCA," nation's largest new play award". 
  19. ^ "OBIE Winners" playbill.com

External links[edit]