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About the MENASA Diversity Showcase by Studio For Performing Arts LA & MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition

The MENASA Diversity Showcase is a unique and impactful initiative aimed at providing a platform for actors of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian (MENASA) descent.

Within the past three years, the showcase has brought together more than 225 talented performers from the MENASA community, providing them with a valuable opportunity to showcase their skills to industry professionals in LA and NY, completely free of charge.

This initiative is particularly important as it addresses a significant disparity in the entertainment industry.

Our annual event is produced by Studio For Performing Arts LA and the 2021 BroadwayWorld Regional Awards "Best Special Event" winner, in collaboration with the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC) and with the support of the Casting Society of America (CSA).

According to a study conducted by our event co-partners, the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC), only 1 percent of TV actors are of Middle Eastern or North African descent. Similarly, the Hollywood Diversity Report from UCLA found that there were zero MENA actors cast as leading actors in films in the past year.

The MENASA Diversity Showcase is designed to help address this issue by providing a platform for talented performers to gain exposure to industry professionals and potentially secure new opportunities, all virtually and at no cost to the performer.

The showcase is not only an excellent opportunity for actors to perform a one-minute monologue but also to provide exposure to industry supporters including casting professionals, agents, managers, writers, directors and producers based in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta and beyond.

The MENASA Diversity Showcase is an essential initiative that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion within the entertainment industry, providing a valuable opportunity for MENASA actors to gain exposure and recognition.

Founded by Walid Chaya of Studio For Performing Arts LA and Azita Ghanizada of the MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition with the generous support of industry professionals including:

- Barrie Adleberg, Writer/Producer & Founder, Split Ends Media

- Marilyn Atlas, Producer/Manager, Marilyn Atlas Mgmt. & Co-Author of "Dating Your Character"

- Ani Avetyan, Casting Director & Producer

- Janelle Bernard, Theatrical Talent Agent, Daniel Hoff Agency

- Robin Carus, Casting Director

- Karyn Casl, Casting Director

- Anne Chapman, Casting Director

- Kristene Davis, Talent Agent, SLA Talent Agency

- Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick, Casting Director

- David Donihue, Director

- Debralynn Findon, Manager/Owner, Discover Management

- Michelle Glisson-Pullam, Manager/Owner, Stellar Artists Management

- Vicki Goggin, Casting Director

- Rachael Jimenez, Casting Director, Goodman Theatre

- Rosalie Joseph, Casting Director, CBS

- Stephanie Klapper, Casting Director

- Ted Maier, Talent Agent, Avalon Artists Group

- Angela Mickey, Casting Director, Liz Lewis Casting Partners

- Mike Mosallam, Writer/Director, Brothers, Breaking Fast (President, Mike Mosallam Productions)

- Steven Tyler O'Connor, Casting Director

- Lisa Pantone, Casting Director/Producer

- Alexa Pereira, Casting Director

- Rita Powers, Casting Director

- Rachel Reiss, Casting Director

- Javier Salgado, Manager, Chamber 37 Ent.

- Michael Sanford, Casting Director

- Cindy Schoonover, Talent Agent, Eris Talent Agency

- Paul Sinacore, Casting Director

- April Webster, Casting Director, April Webster Casting

- Stephanie Yankwitt, Casting Director

The MENASA Diversity Showcase annually airs as a YouTube Premiere in April, which is recognized as Arab American Heritage Month. This timing is significant as it provides a special opportunity to highlight the rich cultural heritage and contributions of MENASA communities to the arts and entertainment industry.

By holding the showcase during this month, the event not only provides a valuable platform for MENASA actors to showcase their talents but also raises awareness and promotes greater understanding of the diverse cultures and experiences of these communities. This serves to further the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the entertainment industry and beyond.

Actors can register for the showcase starting in early April. To stay updated on the latest developments, sign-up for email updates and learn more about our diversity programs. If you have any questions or if you are an industry professional interested in attending our annual online screening, please email


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