In to America at Griffin Theatre directed by Dorothy Milne

Chicago Tribune

But there is also undeniable value — especially these days — to giving center stage to the voices of the dispossessed and the displaced, who refuse to surrender their dignity even in the face of the ugliest xenophobia dished out. Omer Abbas Salem plays a Syrian peddler in rural Oklahoma (shades of Ali Hakim from "Oklahoma!") who ingratiates himself into the home of a farmer and his wife on a cold winter's night — and ends up with new friends for life.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/reviews/ct-america-griffin-review-ent-0328-20170327-column.html

Chicago Theatre Beat

The actors are phenomenal, particularly Omer Abbas Salem and Scott Shimizu, the latter of whom recounts a World War II-era raid to a Japanese American family home that brings more than one tear to the eye.

http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2017/04/02/in-to-america-review-griffin-theatre/#review

New City Stage

These pieces are drawn from letters and journals and there are few storytellers in the cast. Juanita Andersen, Aneisa Hicks and Omer Abbas Salem are charismatic.

http://www.newcitystage.com/2017/04/01/out-of-the-woods-a-review-of-in-to-america-at-griffin-theatre-company/

Merge at The New Colony directed by Andrew Hobgood

Chicago Reader

Pacing the show itself as if it were a Pac-Man game is only amusing until it starts to warp the narrative and stunt characters. Still, Wes Needham, Lindsey Pearlman, and Omer Abbas Salem manage to stay vivid throughout.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/merge/Event?oid=23972609

TimeOut

The show’s best moments and performances are its calmest and quietest. Pearlman steals every single scene she’s in as the droll, sarcastic Patti, as does Omer Abbas Salem as a slimy WB exec named Manny.

https://www.timeout.com/chicago/theater/merge

PerformINK

And once the comedic timing of Lindsey Pearlman and Omer Abbas Salem find their way on stage, the last hour flies by leaving you wanting more.

http://perform.ink/new-colony-merge-review/

Windy City Times

Omar Abbas Salem's corporate bisexual coke sniffing flirt is hilarious. The full commitment and humor of this cast is infectious.

http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/THEATER-REVIEW-Merge/56872.html

Even Longer and Further Away at The New Colony directed by Thrisa Hodits

Chicago Theater Beat

And the two most interesting and likable characters, Roy and lodge proprietress Trudy (Reed-Foster), are reduced to archetypes and aren’t fleshed out nearly as much as they could be. (That said, both Salem and Reed-Foster are excellent. Salem provides much-needed comic relief.

http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2016/04/30/even-longer-and-farther-away-review-the-new-colony/

Chicago Critic

The acting didn’t help much, either. With the exception of Omar Abbas Salem, who embraces his comedic supporting role with enthusiastic gusto, the other, more principal roles feel barely lived-in. 

http://chicagocritic.com/even-longer-farther-away/

Windy City Times

Finding out the interlinking connections between the characters keeps interest throughout Even Longer and Farther Away, but it doesn't hide the fact that Marcantel's writing also trades in stereotypical characters like the "magical negro" or the "sassy gay friend." Luckily, the performances under Hodits' direction make these types more full-bodied and well-rounded people, especially in dedicated turns by Reed-Foster and Salem.

http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/THEATER-REVIEW-Even-Longer-and-Farther-Away/55050.html

Washer/Dryer at Rasaka Theatre directed by Kaiser Ahmed

 

New City Stage

 

Add their nosy flamboyant neighbor Sam (Omer Abbas Salem, who steals the show with charisma and comic timing) in the mix, and an already great day just gets better.

 http://newcitystage.com/2015/09/21/review-washerdryerrasaka-theatre-company/

 

Buzz on Stage

 

Reason 3: Comedic Writing is on Point!

Sonya & Michael’s downstairs neighbor Sam. Don’t get me wrong, Sonya and Michael’s story is great…and even Michael’s mother, Dr. Lee is absolutely hilarious; as well, the co-op President Wendee… but the real scene grabber is Sonya’s downstairs gay neighbor, Sam. From his snappy one-liners, fabulous caftan dress, to his wine guzzling as the story unfolds, nearly every word out of his mouth brought a hearty laugh out of the crowd.

https://www.buzzonstage.com/chicago/comedy-drama/lincoln-park/rasaka-theatre/articles/buzz-eriously-3-reasons-to-see-washer-dryer-from-rasaka-theatre

 

Princess Mary Demands Your Attention at Bailiwick Chicago directed by Lili-Anne Brown

 

Chicago Tribune

 

The interplay between Fields' Amari and his three amigos — Nathaniel (TJ Crawford), Bastian (Omer Abbas Salem) and Christian (David Kaplinsky) — gives "Princess Mary" its most delightful moments, and Brown's direction nails the overlapping teasing wordplay and pop culture wink-and-nod references in which the characters are steeped. The makeover montage before Amari heads out for his club night is a particular crowd-pleasing highlight.

(http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/reviews/ct-princess-mary-demands-review-20150126-story.html)

 

TimeOut

 

But Crawford and Salem have a great energy and chemistry as the comic relief friends who fall into hooking up, and the nascent crushing between Fields’s Amari and Kaplinsky’s Christiano is cute and rootable enough.

(http://www.timeout.com/chicago/theater/princess-mary-demands-your-attention)

 

Splash Magazine

 

This production has a wonderful ensemble feel to it. Everyone has good intentions and the cast plays well off each other specifically TJ Crawford and Omer Abbas Salem as Nathaniel and Bastian.

(http://chicago-splash.com/publish/Entertainment/cat_index_chicago_performances/princess-mary-demands-your-attention-bailiwick-chicago-theatre-review.php)

 

Edge Media Network

 

The three men who help draw Mari out of his shell, played by TJ Crawford, David Kaplinsky and Omer Abbas Salem, stole every scene they were in and were mesmerizing in their chemistry together. In the second act when they were not on stage for a while, I found myself missing their warmth and humor.

(http://www.edgeboston.com/entertainment/theatre/reviews//169423/princess_mary_demands_your_attention)

 

Chicago Stage Standard

 

As Amari’s friends and support network TJ Crawford, Omer Abbas Salem and David Kaplinsky (as the patient suitor) throw themselves into their roles with sexy abandon, lighting up the stage whenever they are on, whether discussing their debauchery, dancing or providing moral support leavened with humor. 

(http://chicagostagestandard.com/reviews/princess-mary-demands-your-attention-almost-does-bailiwick-chicago/)

 

Chicago Theater Review

 

Of Amari’s three new friends, Omer Abbas Salem makes Bastian a very funny, over-the-top force to be admired and enjoyed.

(http://www.chicagotheatrereview.com/2015/02/a-boy-and-his-drag-queen/)

 

Trafford Tanzi at Prologue Theater directed by Carrie Hardin:

 

Chicago Theater Beat

 

Omer Abbas Salem announces the rounds with great relish and good comic effect. Salem plays both the Ref and the creepy school psychiatrist that Tanzi sees when she has trouble reading at age 11. Salem has (perhaps subconsciously) lifted his character from Scott Thompson’s Buddy Cole on “Kids In The Hall”. The martini swilling and arch asides are quite hilarious.

(http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2014/06/20/trafford-tanzi-review-prologue-theatre/)

 

The Reader

Often more entertaining than the main event is the disdainful ringside commentary provided by Omer Abbas Salem as a martini-swilling referee.

(http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/trafford-tanzi/Event?oid=13842073)

 

 

Invasion! at Silk Road Rising directed by Anna Bahow:

 

Chicago Tribune

 

Bahow's quartet of actors, which in addition to Hans and Sabbagh includes Glenn Stanton and Omer Abbas Salem (an understudy who ably stepped in for an injured Dan Johnson), negotiate the hairpin twists and turns in Khemiri's caustic series of tales with admirable flexibility.

(http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-08-09/entertainment/ct-ent-0810-invasion-review-20130809_1_silk-road-great-lakes-first-play)

 

Chicago Sun Times

 

And expert understudy Omer Abbas Salem nailed the roles of fellow class clown and military man, replacing Dan Johnson, whose foot injury keeps him sidelined.

(http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/21687599-421/invasion-arrives-at-worlds-divisive-time.html)

 

Time Out Chicago

 

Of the four-person cast, Omer Abbas Salem seemed to show the best poise and comic timing at the press opening—surprising since he's an understudy who took over the track of injured primary cast member Dan Johnson (who's pictured in the production photos above) just a day prior.

(http://www.timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/16373111/invasion-silk-road)

 

Chicago Theater Beat

 

Bahow’s ensemble cast the night I attended – Kamal HansOmer Abbas SalemAmira Sabbagh and Glenn Stanton - morphs with a collective ease through the shifting stories that unfold within the production. With minimal costumes on an essentially bare set, they create a crowd of unique voices, all clamoring to be heard. (http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2013/08/10/review-invasion-silk-road-rising/)

 

Splash Magazine

 

No small part of “Invasion!”’s ability to engage comes from its stellar cast –understudy Omer Abbas Salem, Kamal Hans, Glenn Stanton, and Amira Sabbagh.  These four actors play numerous roles and handle quick conversions from one persona to another seamlessly...The actors’ roles require great flexibility and they are all up to the task.  It was especially noteworthy that we could not discern who was the understudy until we combed through the playbill and program notes.
(http://www.lasplash.com/publish/Entertainment/cat_index_chicago_entertainment/invasion-review.php)

 

 

A Shot in the Dark at Leftend Productions directed by Kris Kontour

 

Chicago Theater Beat

 

On his first case in Paris, examining magistrate Paul Sevigne, earnestly played by Omer Abbas Salem, is under pressure to conclude the case quickly...The interplay between Salem and Warfield, as the magistrate conducts his interrogation, makes up most of this three-act play...Salem plays the straight man well. (http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2013/03/07/review-a-shot-in-the-dark-leftend-productions/)

 

 

Commedia King John at Chicago Dell'Arte by Derek Jarvis

 

Chicago Theater Beat

 

While it isn’t possible to have true standouts in a cast this uniformly talented, a nod must be given to Omar Abbas Salem as Capitano France, and Mark Soloff as Dottore. Salem’s Capitano France is a fabulous, preening French king complete with outrageous accent, flamboyant gestures, and a passionate love for… himself. His portrayal of the inhabitants of the entire country of France (all twelve of them) is a masterpiece. (http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2012/09/10/review-commedia-king-john-chicago-)

 

 

Reviews

© 2013 by Omer Abbas Salem. All rights reserved

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