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Normalizing positive representation for historically excluded voices

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GREGORY JAFARI VAN ACKER (They / He) is NY based casting director, author, educator, and playwright/lyricist who loves making connections and bringing people together, especially in the company of team members from Bass/Valle Casting and The Casting Collaborative! 

PLAYWRIGHT/LYRICIST: The Newest Newcomer (Sundog Theatre, touring 2025), The Price of Saffron (EMU), NOPLACE (Goodspeed Musicals/Johnny Mercer Grove selection, Eugene O’Neill National Music Theatre Conference semifinalist), Sugar Skull (Rhythm of the Arts, national tour), Thurgood Grows Up (Sugar Hill Museum of Art and Storytelling), The Book of You (Durango Arts Center), The Joining Place (avail on Bandcamp).

CASTING DIRECTOR: Kimia Zaman and the Whispers of the Mountains (dir. Shadi Ghaheri, Kennedy Center), Safe (dir. Jess McLeod, NYCLU/BAM), Como Correr (dir. Nico Raimont, Peak Performances), The Queen's Ball: A Bridgerton Experience (Netflix/Shondaland), Bite-Sized Broadway (Indieworks), Kisses and Bullets (dir. Faranak Sahafian), The Deciders (dir. Jess McLeod, Woolly Mammoth), Shoot For The Moon (dir. Raja Feather Kelly, MTF), The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (BFRJ Sings @ Little Island). 

CASTING ASSOCIATE: English (dir. Shadi Ghaheri, Alliance Theatre), Sunset Blvd (ACT of CT), House of Telescopes (world premiere, Pipeline Theatre Company), Stranger Sings: The Parody Musical (Playhouse 46 @ St. Luke's), The Great Gatsby (Immersive Everywhere), Journey! (dir. John Rando), and others. 

Recipient of the Dr. Kenny Hasija Encouragement Fund for Theatremakers Grant (presented by Ken Davenport). Van Acker and writing partner Joel Esher are recipients of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council/New York City Department of Cultural Affairs/Howard Gilman Foundation Creative Engagement Grant.

Available for freelance script doctoring, audition technique workshops, and can be found telling tales from Greece and the Middle East at NYC museums, attending SWANA roundtables, seeing new shows from new voices at all stages of development, or writing new musicals and TV series pitches with favorite collaborators such as Joel Esher and Scott Lilly. Van Acker is queer, gender-fluid, MENA, BROWN, and deeply committed to increasing positive representation for historically excluded voices.

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