THE FOUNDER

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He may wear all the trappings of a Middle Eastern matriarch when he portrays "Im Hussein" on stage, but when the curtain goes down, Najee Mondalek resumes his rightful place as producer, director, writer, technical advisor and stage sweeper, on occasion.

If few people know Najee, it is because the character he created has eclipsed his own persona. He is, in fact, the brain behind the Arabic plays that have toured the United States and Canada since 1989 to sidesplitting laughter and thunderous applause.

Born in Lebanon, few years before the war erupted that would last more than a generation, Najee grew up in a fearful environment. That he emerged as a brilliant playwright, particularly of comedy, is not surprising. In the bomb shelters of Jdeidet Marjeyoun, Lebanon, he passed the time imitating friends and neighbors from his home village. In the midst of terror, humor still has its place.

Najee came to the United States in 1985. He received an Associate degree from Macomb Community College in 1988 and later that year enrolled in Wayne State University, where he received his Bachelor degree in Mass Communications in 1992. In 1997 he earned his Master's degree in Virtual Reality, 3D Animation and Visualization from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Throughout hardship and hard work, Najee has remained true to his dream of becoming a successful writer, producer, actor and director. The "roar of the crowd" keeps him going.

Najee has a knack for taking every day situations and putting a humorous spin on them. His plays and skits deal with the little things in life, the slips of the tongue and "bon mots" that carry humorous overtones.