St. Ann's Warehouse Extends MONSOON WEDDING for Three Weeks

Preview performances begin at the Brooklyn waterfront theater on May 6.

By: Apr. 28, 2023
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St. Ann's Warehouse Extends MONSOON WEDDING for Three Weeks
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St. Ann's Warehouse, responding to extraordinary demand for tickets, has announced a three-week extension of Monsoon Wedding, the Musical, Mira Nair's live theatrical adaptation of her landmark film. The new production, featuring actors and theater-makers from India and the global Indian diaspora, welcomes audiences inside the lavish wedding plans and frenzied leadup to an arranged marriage beset by modern tensions. Preview performances begin at the Brooklyn waterfront theater on May 6.

Filmmaker Mira Nair and screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan's 2001 film, which they intended to be, in Nair's words, an "intimate family flick" set in their home city of Delhi, was a runaway success. It won the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and became one of the highest-grossing foreign films of all time. Over the course of the last 15 years, Nair has assembled a spectacular dream team to adapt the movie into a musical, including legendary composer Vishal Bhardwaj, book writers Arpita Mukherjee and Sabrina Dhawan, lyricists Masi Asare and Susan Birkenhead, scenic designer Jason Ardizzone-West, lighting designer Bradley King, projection designer David Bengali, and costume designer Arjun Bhasin, who also designed costumes for the film.

Monsoon Wedding, the Musical is a joyful and triumphant love song to Nair's Delhi roots, Punjabi culture and families: how they love, rejoice, and endure together. The production begins with a Baraat, a wedding brass band that greets the "guests of the bride and groom" (the audience) in the Max Family Garden and foyer of St. Ann's Warehouse. The Garden, one of New York City's most popular and photogenic locations for pre-wedding couples, is the entryway to a modernist, Corbusier-style Delhi house and courtyard, alive with Punjabi aunties rehearsing wedding songs for the celebration to come. As the festivities unfurl, expectation, reality, and class collide, creating what Nair describes as "a crackling tale of all kinds of love."

Monsoon Wedding, the Musical features Namit Das (PK Dubey), Sharvari Deshpande (Ria), and Gagan Dev Riar (Lalit), three world-famous actors of Indian film, TV, and theater, and all players in Nair's 2020 BBC/Netflix limited series A Suitable Boy. The 25-member cast also includes Manik Anand (Vikram/Ensemble, understudy for Tej, Mohan Rai), Sargam Ipshita Bali (Shashi/Ensemble), Meetu Chilana (Saroj Rai/Ensemble), Savidu Geevaratne (Tamezuddin, understudy for Hemant, Varun), Palomi Ghosh (Pimmi/ Ensemble, understudy for Aditi, Ria), Bhaskar Jha (Bholuram/Ensemble), Deven Kolluri (Hemant), Miriam A. Laube (Vijaya/Ensemble), Sharayu Mahale (Ensemble, understudy for Aliya), Anu Mysore (understudy for Aditi, Alice, Shashi/Naani, Vijaya, Ria, Ensemble), Anisha Nagarajan (Alice), Jamen Nanthakumar (Lottery, understudy for Hemant, Mohan Rai), Shreya Navile (understudy for Alice, Pimmi, Vijaya, Aliya, Saroj Rai, Ensemble), Nasir Panjwani (understudy for Varun, Mohan Rai, Bholuram, Lottery, Tamezuddin, Vikram), Salena Qureshi (Aditi), Jonathan Raviv (Mohan Rai/ME understudyfor Tej, Lalit), Devina Sabnis (Ensemble, understudy for Ria, Aliya, Saroj), SEVAN (CL, understudy for Lalit), Kinshuk Sen (Varun, understudy for Dubey and Lalit), Alok Tewari (Tej), Aathaven Tharmarajah (understudy for Dubey, CL, Varun, Bholuram, Lottery, Tamezuddin), and Rhea Yadav (Aliya).

Monsoon Wedding, the Musical is an international extravaganza of spectacle and authenticity-in its design, music, and costumes-playful, irreverent, and modern. Vishal Bhardwaj's luscious score is based on Indian classical ragas, but also sizzles with the pulse of pop. It is brought to life with sitar, tabla, flute, guitar, and Baraat horns and drums, orchestrated by Tony Award winner Jamshied Sharifi, with additional orchestrations and arrangements by Rona Siddiqui. The musical forces are overseen by music producer Sunny Jain and music director Emily Whitaker, who conducts and plays keyboards. The complex sound design for the production is by David Schnirman. Under Nair's direction, choreographer Shampa Gopikrishna, movement director Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, associate choreographer Rohit Gijare, and associate director Arpita Mukherjee work together to help interweave the multiple family dramas, the exuberant production numbers, and, finally, the Monsoon Wedding.

The Monsoon Wedding, the Musical musicians are Soumitra Thakur (sitar), Alison Shearer (soprano saxophone, flute, Orchestra Manager), Armando Vergara (trombone), Kenny Bentley (sousaphone, bass), Ruan Dugre (guitars), Greg Gonzalez (drums, percussion), Mahavir Chandrawat (Indian percussion), Neel Murgai (sitar cover), Avirodh Sharma (Indian percussion, cover and rehearsal), Evan Amoros (trombone cover), Jonathan Goldberger (guitar cover), Jordan Pettay (reed cover), Ray Cetta (bass/sousaphone cover), and Chris Eddleton (drums cover).

Of Monsoon Wedding, the Musical, Mira Nair says, "People see themselves in the story of this family that does not want to split, that does not want to break despite the vicissitudes of life. In Monsoon Wedding, the story of this family is told in a combination of great truth and great fun. Fun is critical, but cannot mask darker things. We strive for a beautiful balance between silence and music, darkness and real joy. That is what I hope to create onstage-a feeling of masti, of a kind of intoxication with life."

Monsoon Wedding, the Musical is produced by St. Ann's Warehouse in partnership with Ruth and Stephen Hendel, Mira Nair, and Rahul V. Chittella. Associate producers are Hypokrit Live Arts and Roy Gabay. The world premiere of Monsoon Wedding, the Musical was produced in May 2017 by Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Tony Taccone, Artistic Director; Susan Medak, Managing Director). It then played in Delhi, India at Black Box Okhla (Nikhil Mehta, Founder and Director) in January 2019. At the invitation of Qatar's Ministry of Culture and Her Royal Highness Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, a new production was staged at the Abdul Aziz Nasser Theatre, Souq Waqif in November 2022 as part of Qatar Creates for the FIFA World Cup 2022. The St. Ann's Warehouse production is the culmination of all these past efforts.

Tickets and Additional Information

Performances of Monsoon Wedding begin May 6 and now run through June 25 at St. Ann's Warehouse (45 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201). The production officially opens on May 22.

Tickets, starting at $49, are on sale now at stannswarehouse.org and 718.254.8779.

About Mira Nair (Director/Producer)

"If we don't tell our own stories, no one else will."

Academy Award-nominated film director Mira Nair began her career as an actor in a Theatre Action Group in New Delhi, India in 1973. She is best known for groundbreaking films that cross borders of all kinds: Salaam Bombay! (Caméra D'or, Cannes 1988), the pioneering Asian-African romance Mississippi Masala (1991), Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning Hysterical Blindness (2001), and the international hit Monsoon Wedding (2001), for which she was the first woman to win the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion. Also known for her literary craftsmanship in subcontinental fiction, Nair has filmed The Namesake (2006), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012), Vanity Fair (2004), A Suitable Boy (2020) and Queen of Katwe (2016). At home everywhere, she recently directed the TV pilot of the iconic film National Treasure. Her next film will be AMRI, an experimental portrait of the artist Amrita Sher-Gil.

An activist by nature, Nair founded Salaam Baalak Trust for street children in 1988 and the Maisha Film Lab in East Africa, to train filmmakers on the continent in 2004. In 2012, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honor.

About St. Ann's Warehouse

St. Ann's Warehouse, located in Brooklyn Bridge Park, plays a vital role on the global cultural landscape as an American artistic home for international companies of distinction, American avant-garde masters and talented emerging artists ready to work on a grand scale. St. Ann's signature flexible, open space allows artists to approach work with unfettered creativity, knowing that the theater can be adapted to suit their needs.

The Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Theater offers artists vast raw space within the original walls of an 1860's tobacco warehouse. The building complex includes a Studio for smaller-scale events and community uses, and The Max Family Garden, designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, is open to Brooklyn Bridge Park visitors and tourists.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Ann's reconfigured its facade and rooftop balconies for public art presentations of music and visual art, offering its arches, walls and lightboxes to BIPOC artists such as Supremacy Project, committed to ending violence through art. The theme of refugees permeated this season's programming, opening with Fandango at the Wall, a free concert in the Park, led by Arturo O'Farrill, commemorating cross border concerts at the San Diego/Tijuana wall. With The Walk Productions, St. Ann's mobilized artists, cultural institutions, and members of NYC's diverse immigrant communities to walk New York City with Little Amal, a 12' tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian girl, on behalf of refugee children worldwide. And the immensely acclaimed play The Jungle, a Good Chance Theatre co-production with London's National Theatre and The Young Vic, returned to St. Ann's for a second triumphant, sold-out run. In 2019, St. Ann's co-production of Oklahoma! won a Tony Award for Best Musical Revival; went on national tour, and recently won two Olivier Awards at London's Young Vic and on the West End. SAW has championed such artists as Jeff Buckley, Hal Willner, Enda Walsh, Emma Rice, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Edouard Louis, and many others, providing an American home and years of memorable artistry and work.

www.stannswarehouse.org

Photo Credit: Amir Hamja



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