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Rock the Casbah Synopsis

     Rock the Casbah is a jukebox musical about the power of song to bring enemies together as friends.
     The play uses hits by The Clash to highlight the story of Johnny Mohammad, an Arab-American medical student and guitar player who volunteers for the military to pay for his education and is soon sent to the war Iraq.
      In Iraq, Johnny and his friend and fellow soldier Billy Pilgrim are taken hostage by militants as they leave a teahouse where Johnny had flirted with a woman named Aliyah, the sister of Amir, an Iraqi militant leader.
     The militants hold Johnny and Billy in the basement of a mosque. Under interrogation, Johnny reveals that his last name is really Mohammad. His father changed the family name to “Moses” after arriving America.
      Johnny begs the hostage-takers not to hurt him. They spare him temporarily and he delays a plan by the militants to kill him by gradually coaxing them into forming a band and staging a semi-secret performance in the mosque. Johnny and Billy escape during the concert and rejoin their fellow soldiers.
     After being welcomed back, Johnny and Billy learn that the U.S. forces plan to bomb the mosque the next day.
    Johnny is desperate to prevent this, especially because Aliyah is also being held at the mosque. He had told Aliyah he’d never leave without her. Still, he fails to convince his commander that the bombing is unnecessary. So instead, Johnny tempts his follow soldiers into an impromptu rock gig -- this time in an underground passage beneath the mosque where some Al Jazeera sound and recording equipment is stashed. The session ends up thwarting the bombing as the people inside the mosque hear the music and panic, running out of the mosque just in time to escape the bombing.
     Mission accomplished, Johnny and his new band return head back toward the main camp where planes are waiting to take them out of Iraq. On the way out, Johnny decides he really can’t leave Aliyah behind. He bolts away from his fellow troops and heads back toward the mosque. He asks the first people he sees if they’ve seen Aliyah, and they tell Johnny she has refused to leave the mosque. He runs back into the mosque to find her there, waiting for him to return as promised. Just then, we hear jets flying overhead, and the bombs landing on the mosque.

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