'Goddess' by Jocelyn Bioh '08 and Saheem Ali '07 Premieres at the Berkeley Rep

William Hutton
May 16, 2022

Alumni Jocelyn Bioh ’08 and Saheem Ali ’07 wrote and will direct, respectively, the new musical Goddess, set to have its world premiere at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre on August 13, 2022.

Inspired by the myth of Marimba, Goddess follows a young man who returns home to Mombasa, Kenya to marry his fiancée and step into his family’s political dynasty. But when he visits Moto Moto––a steamy afro-jazz club and stomping ground of his youth––he finds himself drawn to a mysterious new singer. Goddess is a joyful infusion of contemporary romance, ancient magic, and the irresistible vibes of African, Jazz, and R&B music.

Jocelyn Bioh is a Ghanaian-American writer/performer from New York City. Her play School Girls Or, The African Mean Girls Play recently completed successful runs at the MCC Theater and Center Theatre Group. Bioh also conceived and wrote the libretto for The Ladykiller’s Love Story (music/lyrics by Cee Lo Green), which is in development at New York’s historic Apollo Theatre. Other plays include Happiness and Joe, Nollywood Dreams and African Americans. Currently, she is under commission to Manhattan Theatre Club and the Atlantic Theater Company and is a Resident Playwright at LCT3. Most recently, Bioh staffed season two of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It for Netflix and wrote an episode of the Netflix show Russian Doll. She received her MFA in Theatre/Playwriting from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. 

Saheem Ali is a theater director based in New York City. Besides Goddess, upcoming productions include Fat Ham at New York’s Public Theater. Among recent productions are Merry Wives by William Shakespeare (Public Theater, 2021), Nollywood Dreams (MCC Theater, 2021), and Romeo y Julieta (Public Theater, 2021). Ali received an MFA in Directing from Columbia University, where he was a Shubert Fellow.