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Ayub Khan Din Leads The New Group's BUNTY BERMAN PRESENTS…, Opening 5/9

The New Group announced today that Ayub Khan Din has stepped into the title role in the new musical Bunty Berman Presents..., replacing actor Erick Avari who withdrew from the production last week on doctor's orders following an injury. The world premiere of this musical comedy, with book & lyrics by Ayub Khan Din and music by Ayub Khan Din and Paul Bogaev, is directed by Scott Elliott. Previews began April 12. Performances resume Wednesday, April 24 in advance of Official Opening Night on Thursday, May 9 at 7:00pm. A limited Off-Broadway engagement is slated through June 1 at The New Group at Theatre Row (The Acorn Theatre / 410 West 42nd Street).

Director Scott Elliott shares, "I've always loved Ayub as a playwright but it was as an actor that he first caught my eye - I'll never forget his brilliant and sexy performance as Sammy in the Stephen Frears' film Sammy And Rosie Get Laid. For the past 15 years that we've been collaborators, I've tried to get him on stage. That it's happening at this moment, in the first musical he's written, is thrilling to me. We're in rehearsal and I can't wait for audiences to see him as Bunty Berman; I truly think he's written himself the perfect part."

Set in a failing 1950s Bollywood studio, with songs in the sparkling style of Hollywood's Golden Age, Bunty Berman Presents... features book & lyrics by Ayub Khan Din and music by Ayub Khan Din and Paul Bogaev. Movie producer Bunty Berman has long been the toast of Bombay, but now Raj, his biggest star and best friend, is beginning to lose his lustre. When their new movie bombs, Bunty must navigate through divas, mobsters and ambitious tea-boys to keep his studio alive.

As Bunty Berman, Ayub Khan Din joins Raja Burrows, Nick Choksi, Katie Chung, Sevan Greene, Andrew Guilarte, Shoba Narayanan, Lyn Philistine, Debargo Sanyal, Pallavi Sastry, Gayton Scott, Lipica Shah, Alok Tewari and Sorab Wadia in the cast.

This production includes Choreography by Josh Prince. Set Design is by Derek McLane. Costume Design is by William Ivey Long. Lighting Design is by David Lander. Sound Design is by ACME Sound Partners. Projection Design is by Wendall K. Harrington. Orchestrations and Arrangements are by Paul Bogaev and Boko Suzuki. Music Supervision is by Paul Bogaev. Music Direction is by Boko Suzuki.

Ayub Khan Din (Music, Book, Lyrics) has credits including East is East (Royal Court Theatre, London; The New Group, New York), which he adapted into a film. Honors for East is East include: Evening Standard Best Film Award; Writers' Guild Award for Best New Writer and also Best West End Play; John Whiting Award Best Stage Play; Olivier Award nomination for Best New Comedy, 1997 season. Other works include Rafta, Rafta... (National Theatre, London; The New Group, New York), which won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2008. A film version, All in Good Time, was released in 2012. His additional works for the stage include Last Dance at Dum Dum (Ambassadors Theatre), Notes on Falling Leaves (Royal Court) and All the Way Home (The Library Theatre, Manchester). He also wrote the film West is West, the 2011 sequel to East is East. As an actor, he appeared on screen in Hanif Kureishi's Sammy And Rosie Get Laid (dir. Stephen Frears) and on stage in many plays in London prior to becoming a playwright.

Paul Bogaev (Music) is a multi-award-winning music director, arranger, conductor and composer. Broadway/Musical Director: Tarzan, Bombay Dreams (Tony nomination), Sunset Boulevard, Aspects of Love, Chess, Les Miserables, Starlight Express, Cats, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Grammys for Aida, for which he produced and conducted the Tony-winning score, and as Executive Producer of the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning Chicago. Other films include Nine, Across the Universe, Dreamgirls, The Lion King, Tarzan, Mulan. Music director of the ABC-TV film musicals Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Annie (Emmy) and South Pacific.

Scott Elliott (Director) is the founding Artistic Director of The New Group, where he has produced over 52 plays, 25 of which he directed, including the recent world premieres of Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport, Thomas Bradshaw's Burning, and the new musical The Kid (Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical). Earlier this season, he directed Francine Volpe's The Good Mother. He previously directed Ayub Khan Din's East is East and Rafta, Rafta... at The New Group.

Josh Prince (Choreography) has credits including Shrek, The Musical (Broadway and National Tour). His Off-Broadway and additional New York credits include: The New Group's The Kid; The Bridge Project (Brooklyn Academy Of Music; dir. Sam Mendes; 2009 [The Cherry Orchard; A Winter's Tale]; 2010 [As You Like It; The Tempest]); The Jerry Springer Opera (Carnegie Hall, starring Harvey Keitel; dir. Jason Moore). London credits: Shrek, The Musical; My Fair Lady; Prom 59: The Broadway Sound; The Bridge Project; Singin' In The Rain.

The New Group began its 2012-2013 season with the Francine Volpe's The Good Mother directed by Scott Elliott, and followed with Jonathan Marc Sherman's Clive, directed by and featuring Ethan Hawke in the title role, both world premiere productions.

Last season, The New Group (Scott Elliott, Artistic Director; Geoff Rich, Executive Director) presentEd Thomas Bradshaw's Burning, the extended run of Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport (both directed by Scott Elliott), and David Rabe's An Early History of Fire directed by Jo Bonney. In 2010-2011, the company presented Tommy Nohilly's Blood From A Stone featuring Ethan Hawke (Obie winner), the revival of Wallace Shawn's Marie and Bruce starring Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley, and One Arm by Tennessee Williams, adapted and directed by Moisés Kaufman. Other productions include A Lie of the Mind, The Kid, Groundswell, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Hurlyburly, Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years, Abigail's Party, Smelling a Rat, Goose-Pimples and Ecstasy, Wallace Shawn's The Fever and Aunt Dan and Lemon, Kenneth Lonergan's The Starry Messenger featuring Matthew Broderick and This is Our Youth, Kevin Elyot's Mouth to Mouth and My Night With Reg, and Ayub Khan Din's East is East and Rafta, Rafta.... The New Group is a recipient of the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical (Avenue Q). The New Group and Artistic Director Scott Elliott were honored with a Special 2010-11 Drama Desk Award "for presenting contemporary new voices, and for uncompromisingly raw and powerful productions."

Bunty Berman Presents... plays as follows at The New Group @ Theatre Row (The Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street): Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 7:00 PM and Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00 PM, with matinees Saturday at 2:00 PM. Tickets may be arranged through www.telecharge.com or (212) 239-6200, or at the Theatre Row Box Office (12-8 PM daily). Tickets are $60.00 plus $1.25 restoration fee.

Official Opening Night takes place Thursday, May 9 at 7:00pm.

For more info, visit www.thenewgroup.org.


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