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zi alikhan

UPCOMING DIRECTING: You Are Cordially Invited to the End of the World! by Keiko Green at South Coast Rep's 2024 Pacific Playwrights Festival. 

DIRECTOR (Selected): On That Day in Amsterdam (Primary Stages, Drama Desk Award nomination-Outstanding Director, Lucille Lortel Award nomination-Outstanding Director), Sanctuary City (Pasadena Playhouse, LA Times 'Best of 2022'), The Band's Visit  (Writers Theatre/TheatreSquared, US regional premiere), RENT  (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Wizard of Oz (Geva Theatre Center), Snow in Midsummer (Classic Stage Company), Somewhere (Geva Theatre Center), The Great Leap (Portland Center Stage), A Nice Indian Boy (Olney Theatre Center), Manik Choksi’s The Ramayan (currently in development at Ars Nova), Ragtime (Playmakers Repertory Company), The Flick and Red Speedo (Juilliard), Lady Apsara (filmed for Prospect Theatre Company), Lippa's Wild Party (Yale University Theatre), Les Misérables (Pace University) and SUMMER&SMOKE (ACCESS). RESIDENT DIRECTOR: Hamilton: An American Musical (National Tour). ASSOCIATE / ASSISTANT: The Band’s Visit (First National Tour) with David Cromer, Six Degrees of Separation (Broadway) and The Rose Tattoo (Williamstown and Broadway) with Trip Cullman, Ripcord (Manhattan Theatre Club) and It Shoulda Been You! (Broadway) with David Hyde Pierce, Pete the Cat with Dan Knechtges, and Uncle Vanya with Hal Brooks at The Pearl. ALUM: TCG Rising Leaders of Color, Drama League Directors Project, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab (Year 18), Drama League Artist Residency Program, Manhattan Theatre Club Jonathan Alper Directing Fellowship, Williamstown Directing Corps, and Drama League Rough Draft. GRADUATE: NYU/Tisch.

things i know:

raised by two indian immigrants in the northern california suburbs, zi grew up reading the qur'aan in phonetic arabic and not understanding a single word. after two years studying sociology at uc berkeley, he transferred to nyu to pursue a degree in musical theatre. at nyu, zi developed a love for documentary plays, his queer theatre ancestors, musicals that would make rodgers and hammerstein's heads spin, and musicals that rodgers and hammerstein would love (and wrote). in the years since, zi has been able to make work throughout the city and across the states. some favorites include SHABASH! starring danny pudi and parvesh cheena (which was the first time a company of majority south asian performers and writers took the stage at lincoln center), an acclaimed reimagining of RAGTIME at playmakers rep in north carolina, and any time he's been able to reinvestigate a text whose history hasn't left much room for BIPOC folks with a lens toward BIPOC folks, particularly LES MIS at pace and RED SPEEDO at juilliard. he lives in chelsea with his chihuahua, judah. 

things i'm interested in knowing more about:

  • the intersection of activism, journalism, anthropology, and theatre. a theatre artist is a change agent by nature. 
  • divorcing our audiences of the traditional relationship between spectator and spectacle, creating an event-driven discursive arena out of our spaces (or, 'let's get messy'). 
  • making our plays feel more like our concerts, our holy spaces, our football games, and our photobooths all at once.

the people who know my social security number:

zi is represented by kevin lin and alex gold at CAA.

for professinal inquiries, please reach out to them at and

favorite color:


favorite pie:

strawberry rhubarb.

secretly a nerd for:

michel foucault, edward said, and the score of 'a little night music'.