Actor and playwright Mohammed Saad Ali's new play A Lonely Night in Coney Island is being produced by Bensonhurst's Genesis Repertory on April 28 as part of the Rise of the Phoenix Festival in the East Village. Set on the Coney Island Boardwalk and in a nearby housing project and police precinct, the play has a Puerto Rican/Arab-American protagonist who represents every immigrant kid growing up in the neighborhood and "what you do to get by," says the playwright. "Sometimes you get in trouble, sometimes you get lucky."
Ali, whose family emigrated from Pakistan to Brooklyn when he was a four-year-old, says that the world to him growing up was from Brighton Beach and Coney Island to Church Avenue, from Flatbush to 86th Street. "Brooklyn is pretty much all I know as home, and I love it." As a student at Kingsborough Community College, he took his first acting class and credits his theater professor Jay Michaels, who heads Genesis Rep, as his guide and mentor.