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BWW Review: The Princess & the Pauper is a Delightful Bollywood Tale at Imagination Stage

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BWW Review: The Princess & the Pauper is a Delightful Bollywood Tale at Imagination Stage
Princess Razia begs her caretaker to let her travel beyond the palace walls. [L-R: Emily Madden, Anjna Swaminathan] Photo by Margot Schulman

What if you could switch places with someone? In Imagination Stage's The Princess & the Pauper - A Bollywood Tale, Rani (Alexandra Palting), the daughter of Hema, the royal seamstress, (Sarah Corey) and sister to Zoya (Nora Achrati), wonders what it would be like to live within the walls of the palace as she and her fellow commoners including her family's friend Nassim (Jordan Moral) prepare for the coming of the Tajdari feast. Meanwhile, in the palace, Princess Razia (Anjna Swaminathan), who is isolated in her room under the watchful eye of her nanny Fatima (Emily Madden), is practicing for her role in the coronation of Wazir (Jimmy Mavrikes), who will soon become Sultan. One day, Razia, who is becoming more and more frustrated with her circumstances, escapes to be in the mango garden and she ends up bumping into Rani. In a moment of mistaken identities, chaos ensues, and the girls must figure out how to adjust. Imagination Stage's The Princess & The Pauper - A Bollywood Tale, written by Anu Yadav and directed by Janet Stanford, successfully captures the ambience and energy of Bollywood in a show which is excellent for both kids and adults alike.

The cast of The Princess & the Pauper - A Bollywood Tale really get into their characters. Not only is the cast able to settle well into their roles, but they are also able to keep up with the Bollywood style choreography and singing, which often occurs at the same time. Standouts in this cast abound. Mavrikes' delightfully evil Wazir is roll out of your seat funny. Swaminathan's Razia and Palting's Rani are scene stealers especially when they are on stage together. Corey's Hema is wonderful as the doting mother.

BWW Review: The Princess & the Pauper is a Delightful Bollywood Tale at Imagination Stage
Rani, the dressmaker's daughter, imagines what life would be like if she were the Sultana. [L-R: Jordan Moral, Jimmy Mavrikes, Alexandra Palting, Emily Madden, Nora Achrati] Photo by Margot Schulman

The production aspects of the musical line up perfectly with ones often seen in Bollywood musical movies. The set, beautifully designed set by Emily Lotz, is a large opened columned room with detailed Indian accents and colors. The set's open space is perfect for dancing. In addition to the open space, the bottom floor of the set rotates slowly to allow for smooth scene transitions. The costumes, designed by Kristen P Ahern, fit well with the Bollywood ambiance. The music, by Aks, is so catchy that it makes anyone want to dance along with the cast. The projections, designed by Kelly Colburn, work well with the set's aesthetic especially during a scene in which Razia becomes lost in the jungle.

Imagination Stage's The Princess & the Pauper - A Bollywood Tale is a great show for kids with its action-packed scenes, fun dancing, and audience interaction. Parents will enjoy the production quality and the story's overall messages.

Running Time: About 1 hour and 30 minutes with a 10 minute intermission. 

THE PRINCESS & THE PAUPER - A BOLLYWOOD TALE plays at Imagination Stage-4908 Auburn Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814- through March 18, 2018. For tickets, call the box office at 301-280-1660 or purchase them online at


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From This Author Hannah Wing