A New York Minute of Fame: Theater Producer Saima Huq

Finding yourself in New York isn’t just something that happens on TV and in the movies. It’s actually an amazing place to try exciting new things socially and professionally, and theater producer Saima Huq has experienced that first hand. Although she grew up not too far away in Central Jersey, her life in New York is far different now.

Saima Huq Always Love Lucy Theatre
Saima Huq (far right) in her production of “Hello From Bertha”

In addition to being a public health researcher, Saima is the founder and producer of Always Love Lucy Theatre, which has been running for three years and recently wrapped its fourth production, “Hello to Rose: One Act Plays by Tennessee Williams.

After connecting on Instagram, That’s So Manhattan spoke with Saima to learn more about her views of New York:

That’s So Manhattan: What brought you to New York?

Saima Huq: I always wanted to come to NYC. When I was little, I knew Sesame Street was in New York and that was where all the kids of color were — I was only one of 3 in my elementary school. I lived in D.C. and Boston before coming to NYC, and I felt instantly at home here in a way that I never did in other places.
 
TSM: What part of New York do you live in, and what do you think of the area? 
SH: Right now, I live in Bed-Stuy. I have been here five years and lately I see a lot of girls living out their Lena Dunham moment on the corners in a way that was not here even a year ago. I am getting ready to move out. I’ve lived in Astoria for six years and Morningside Heights for two, so now I’m thinking of trying the Bronx or Staten Island, as I have not lived in either of those boroughs yet.
 
TSM: How did you start Always Love Lucy Theatre, and what have you produced on so far?
SH: I began it 3 years ago when I read Arthur Miller’s memoir Timebends, and I read that in the 1980s he produced his play Death of a Salesman in Beijing with an all Chinese cast and then wrote a whole other book, Salesman in Beijing, about the experience. It inspired me to produce Death of a Salesman with the Lomans as South Asians. We also did Pygmalion with Eliza transforming into Elijah, and five one-act plays by Tennessee Williams. We closed the latest in July 2017. We were sold out!
 
TSM: What do you like and dislike about Manhattan? 
SH: Ironically, over the last few years, what I dislike about Manhattan (and most of the city) is the cell phone service in the trains. At first I thought it was great but now it seems all people use it for is to fight with people they probably wouldn’t fight with in person. And it also causes people to walk slowly and stand in front of stairways as they text.
 
I like everything below 30th Street, especially below 14th Street. But I love how there are amazing things in every neighborhood. Last week, after a photo shoot in the East Village with a photographer from the Philippines, I went to an audition in the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights. I didn’t get it, but it was just such a Manhattan thing to do.
 
TSM: What do you think makes something “so Manhattan?”
SH: The answer changes depending on where in Manhattan. But I would say, overall, it’s beautiful architecture and parks. This place is visually stunning.

NYC skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge - photo by Saima Huq
NYC skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge – photo by Saima Huq (@alwayslovelucy)

 

Soho architecture - photo by Saima Huq
Soho architecture – photo by Saima Huq (@alwayslovelucy)

 

Yoga in Bryant Park - photo by Saima Huq
Yoga in Bryant Park – photo by Saima Huq (@alwayslovelucy)

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