Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo

Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo

By Rajiv Joseph

Directed by Moisés Kaufman

Originally produced at Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA.

May 17, 2009 through June 7, 2009

About the Premiere Production:
Two homesick American soldiers, a tormented Iraqi, and a displaced tiger collide on the streets of Baghdad in this arresting world premiere drama set against the backdrop of the Iraq War. Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo is an eerily surreal and darkly humorous play about the madness of life in war and what it means to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Directed by Moisés Kaufman, the Tony-nominated director of I Am My Own Wifeand Gross Indecency, this riveting new play by Rajiv Joseph vibrates with lyricism and delivers a haunting, yet cathartic, look at the aftermath of violence.

Artistic Statement: 
We are thrilled to be producing the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a powerfully moving, deeply resonant production that raises important and timely questions about the moral complexities of war. This highly theatrical play – full of spiritual visits, chronological tinkering, and horrifyingly surreal moments – speaks to the ways in which history and politics shape individual lives. Although the script delves into dark subject matter, Joseph writes with a lilt and wit that belies the play’s inherent tragedy.

 The production will also feature the directorial talents of Moisés Kaufmann, who has garnered numerous awards for his work and established his deft ability to bring highly theatrical material to vivid life while honoring the story’s integrity. I am confident that the play’s thought-provoking subject matter, Joseph’s riveting script, and Kaufman’s superb direction will combine to create a unique theatrical event that sparks meaningful dialogue and broadens the horizons of those who attend.

Director: Moisés Kaufman

Pulitzer Prize, 2010 Finalist

Subsequent Productions:

San Francisco Playhouse

San Francisco, CA

October 1, 2013 - November 16, 2013

Company One

Boston, MA

October 19, 2012 - November 17, 2012

Round House Theatre

Silver Spring, MD

September 5, 2012 - September 30, 2012

Center Theatre Group

Los Angeles, CA

April 14, 2010 - May 30, 2010



In October 2008, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded an Outstanding New American Play selection to Bengal Tiger at The Baghdad Zoo, a new play by Rajiv Joseph, as a part of the organizations’s New Play Development Program, the award includes $90,000 for advanced development of the play, culminating in a full scale production. Administered by Arena Stage, the new initiative is intended to help the nation’s nonprofit theaters bring more new plays to full production. More information is available on the NEA Web site.