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Bombay Dreams

by Robert Abrams
July 21, 2004
The Broadway Theatre
1681 Broadway at 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
212.239.6200

Andrew Lloyd Weber's Production of
A R Rahman's Bombay Dreams

(www.bombaydreamsonbroadway.com)

At
Broadway Theatre
1681 Broadway at 53rd Street
212.239.6200


Robert Abrams
July 21, 2004

Bombay Dreams starts with some necessary plot exposition. About ten minutes into the show, Bombay Dreams kicks into high gear and never looks back. The high energy song and dance numbers prove that you can translate the extravagant musical numbers of Bollywood films to the uneditable timescape of theatre. The first act peaks with the signature wet sari scene entitled "Shakalaka Baby". Think Marilyn Monroe in her white dress combined with Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain hitting all of his marks under a layer of water, performed live every night, and you will have some idea of the quality and accomplishment this scene represents.

At the end of the first act, my friends and I wondered how the performers could possibly keep the energy level going. They did. There was no shortage of extravagant dance numbers in Act II.

Despite all of the glitz, Bombay Dreams also manages to have something intelligent to say. By using a clean plot line and strong characters, a message about class, discrimination, prejudice and potential comes through clearly. The message is framed differently than it might be in a American context, India having its own unique history, but the commonalities are there if the audience is willing to hear them. In fact, Bombay Dreams might be a useful starting point for discussions on such topics precisely because its veneer of otherness could help people open up where they might be less willing to do so discussing the same issues about events closer to home.

Bombay Dreams is largely, but not entirely, in English. It showed that you can make a Bollywood style movie sung in English. Hopefully someone will get the crazy idea to make more of them.



Ayesha Dharker (center) and company
Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus



Ayesha Dharker (center) and company
Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus




Waxman Williams Entertainment and TGA Entertainment
In association with
Denise Rich and Ralph Williams
H. Thau/M. Cooper/AD Prods.
Scott Prisano and Danny Seraphine
Independent Presenters Network

Starring:
Manu Narayan, Anisha Nagarajan, Ayesha Dharker, Sriram Ganesan, Tanvir Gopal, Marvin L. Ishmael, Deep Katdare, Neil J. Shastri, Madhur Jaffrey, and Cast

Directed by Steven Pimlott
Music by A R Rahman
Lyrics by Don Black
Book by Meera Syal and Thomas Meehan
Music Director: James Abbott
Additional Arrangements: Christopher Nightingale
Music Coordinator: Michael Keller
Music Supervision: Paul Bogaev
Production Manager: Peter Fulbright
Casting by Tara Rubin Casting
Production Stage Manager: Bonnie L. Becker
Executive Producer: Waxwill Theatrical Division
General Management: The Charlotte Wilcox Company
Press: Barlow-Hartman
Marketing: Margery Singer Company
Sponsorship: Rhino Enterprises
Associate Producer: Sudhir Vaishnav
Associate Producer: The Entertainment Partnership
Associate Producers: Alexander Fraser and Ken Denison
Lighting Design: Hugh Vanstone
Sound Design: Mick Potter
Scenery and Costume Design: Mark Thompson
Choreography: Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan

The role of Salim was played by Rommy Sandhu.

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