"A rich new play, both contemplative and comic!" - Jesse Green, The New York Times World Premiere Co-Production with Roundabout Theatre Company by Sanaz Toossi directed by Knud Adams


by Sanaz Toossi
directed by Knud Adams

February 5 – March 20

Linda Gross Theater

2020 Steinberg Playwright Award and the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award winner Sanaz Toossi returns to Atlantic following her Middle Eastern MixFest debut!

More Info

Two words set in motion award-winning playwright Sanaz Toossi’s intricate and profound New York debut: “English Only.” This is the mantra that rules one classroom in Iran, where four adult students are preparing for the TOEFL — the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Chasing fluency through a maze of word games, listening exercises, and show-and-tell sessions, they hope that one day, English will make them whole. But it might be splitting them each in half.

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Running time: approximately 100 minutes, with no intermission


  • For the 2021|2022 season we are offering a contactless e-ticket experience!
  • If you select the E-Ticket option at checkout, your order confirmation will include a button to “view e-ticket,” which you may either print and bring with you to the theater or simply open on your mobile device. When you arrive, you may head straight to either theater door. No need to stop by the Box Office!
  • If you select the Will Call option, please stop by the Box Office to pick up your tickets
  • Both options will be scanned by our ushers at the door. This will mean less physical contact, reduced box office lines, and a smoother arrival experience all around!


A rich new play! Both contemplative and comic. The director Knud Adams gently underlines the calm, almost classical rhythms of Toossi’s writing. The cast is uniformly excellent.



“One of the best plays in New York right now! Exquisitely written, performed, and directed. Those plays that appear, shimmer, and conquer an audience so wholly you feel a delicious, building two-way crackle in the room as a performance progresses. English  is one such gem. This critic’s advice is pretty simple. Book a ticket!”

tim teeman, The daily beast


An outstanding play. A masterfully executed look at the impossibility of translating humanity through imperfect means.



“Fascinating and completely satisfying. Toossi’s implications would be admirable at any time, but it is unquestionably relevant to 2022.

david finkle, new york stage review


English  is both a buoyant comedy of communication and a subtle but probing exploration of what it means to speak and feel understood. That one play can accomplish as much with wit, ease, precision, and heart, makes it among the best new plays of the season.”

Naveen kumar, new york theatre guide


“Profoundly cathartic. It elicits understanding and empathy for the struggles people face in learning and fully comprehending language that’s foreign to them. Insightful and thought provoking.

deb miller, dc metro theater arts


“An exquisitely crafted production. Sanaz Toossi has given a gift to native English speakers and foreigners alike, through which we get to interrogate our very sense of self. My experience at English  was a nostalgic, enlightening, and somewhat shattering one.”

ran xia, did they like it


Must-see theater. Toossi’s brilliance lies in her capacity to illuminate the intangible. Expertly written, beautifully acted and sensitively directed.

sarah downs, front row center

Additional Resources

Upstage Playgoers guide

We’re thrilled to be working with Roundabout Theatre Company to co-produce this beautiful play! Check out their Upstage Playgoer’s Guide to learn about the historical context for the play and dig into the artistic choices made by the show’s creative team.

ENGLISH Study guide

To view the English Study Guide for educators, click HERE.

Health & Safety

At Atlantic, we are committed to providing and maintaining a gathering place that is free of known hazards. In order to safeguard the health of our entire community, we are requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccinations for all employees and audiences moving forward. We will additionally require mask-wearing indoors at our theater for all audience members and staff until further notice. Click here to read more about our health and safety protocols.


Photos by Ahron R. Foster.

Access25 tickets for English will go on sale Thursday, January 20, 2022 at noon ET.


A post-show panel following the March 3 performance of English with moderator Salma S. Zohdi (Noor Theatre) and panelists Sanaz Toossi (playwright), cast members of English, and Catherine Coray (Noor Theatre, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The Lark Middle East/US Playwright Exchange) on representation and this season of Middle Eastern work.

This celebration of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian communities is part of our Community Audience Partnership (CAP) program, which aims to connect deeply and authentically with audiences from a broad range of economic backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and perspectives.

Watch the recording of this event HERE.


* Member Talkback
^ Educator Night
** Community Influencer Night
+ MENASA (Middle Eastern, North African & South Asian) Night

English Member Talkback

After the performance on February 15, longtime friend of Atlantic, Arian Moayed (“Succession,” Guards at the Taj) moderated a discussion between Sanaz Toossi (playwright), Knud Adams (director), and the wonderful cast of English. They explored their own experiences with the English language, the process of bringing English to life at Atlantic Theater Company, and what it means to present this play at this moment.

Watch the talkback here: