UNDER THE BOHDI TREE A Musical Adaptation on the Life of Prince Siddhartha Opens at Royal Family Performing Arts Space 5/2
Under the Bodhi Tree, a musical adaptation on the life of Siddhartha, his search for enlightenment and his transition into the Buddha, will open for a limited run engagement on May 2 - 14 at The Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 W 46th Street, NYC).
It has been a 10-year journey for composer Jingoo Lee (music) and his writing partner, Julie Song (book and lyrics), developing the concept of the story from a concert performance in Korean, to a workshop performance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. It now culminates with the Off-Off-Broadway production, which transposes the sixth century B.C. Prince, his father King Suddhodana, leader of the Sakya, a large clan in what is now the region of Nepal, and places the story and cast against a current backdrop.
Set in a city park, akin to New York City's Central Park, where a Bodhi tree has been planted, the legend comes to life.
Siddhartha, played by Joshua Grosso, a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon, finds himself tormented by the age-old issues of inequality, fairness, death and the benevolence of a God that would condone the suffering and punishment of those in need. His questions remain relevant today as he wrestles to understand, "How can a mother who loves her child and shields him from harm, be considered lowly and less than a soulless animal?"
King Suddhodana, played by Lawrence Street, who had the recent distinction of playing Louis Armstrong in Terry Teachout's "Satchmo at The Waldorf," struggles to ensure his son and heir continues on the path toward becoming a military leader and conqueror. But the prophesies of the holy man who
foresaw another path for Siddhartha when he was only a few days old, seem to be coming to pass which heightens palace intrigues and tensions to a breaking point.
In addition to Joshua Grosso and Lawrence Street, the diverse cast includes Charles Barksdale (Broadway tour: Sister Act; Regional: Ain't Misbehavin) as Chantaka (and others); Charnette Batey (National Tour: The Book of Mormon, Sussical) as Alara Kamala (and others); Elaine Cotter as Yasodhara, Siddhartha's beloved wife; Jordan J. Ford as Mara; Aleksa Kurbalija (Tours: My Fair Lady, How the Grinch Stole Christmas), as Debadatta (and others); Jamen Nanthakumar, (Pittsburgh Public Theatre, The Fantasticks), as Monk (as others); Jamila Sabares-Klemm, (Regional: Hair, Rent), plays an Untouchable (and others); Herman Sebek (Broadway: West Side Story 1980 revival, Cats),as Krideva (and others).
The ensemble cast is directed by Aaron Galligan-Stierle who brings with him, an impressive list of directorial and associate director credits (The Tempest at The Sacramento Theatre Company; Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, National Tour). Timothy Ellis Riley is the company's general manager/Associate Director and fight choreographer, as well, he is Director of Operations for the Royal Family Performing Arts Space. Annalisa Ledson is choreographer; Christopher D. Littlefield (National Tours: The Addams Family, 9-5), is the music director/keyboard I; Daniel Lincoln (Broadway: Wicked, On Your Feet), is the music supervisor/additional book and lyrics; with English adaptation by Matthew Mezzacappa; costume designer is Sarah Lawrence; Rocky Noel (Kristin Chenoweth: My Love letter to B'Way), is lighting designer; sound designer is Jorge Morales; production stage management team includes Craig M. Rosenthal and Shae Candelaria.
Under the Bodhi Tree will open at the Royal Family Performance Art Space on Tuesday, May 2, 7:00 pm, and runs to May 14, 2017. Tickets for the production are $50 and can be purchased online at UndertheBodhiTreeTheMusical.com, where you can also inquire about the availability of select discounts.