Will Bombay Dreams Play Bombay?

News   Will Bombay Dreams Play Bombay? Bombay Dreams, the Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced musical that first played London and later Broadway, may wind up in the city that inspired its rags-to-riches story.

Reuters reports that the Bollywood-themed musical may play Bombay and other Asian cities within the next year's time. Kerry Comerford, the general manager of Really Useful Company in the Asia Pacific, told Reuters, "[Bombay Dreams] will require some re-visiting, as audiences here are exposed to this type of fare, so we have to see if they'll want to see it live. . . There's been a lot of interest from India, from Singapore, Malaysia, China and South Korea, so we are here to identify possible venues and sponsors."

The musical, according to Reuters, would feature an all-Asian cast and would cost $7 million to produce in each country.

The musical — featuring a score by A R Rahman and Don Black and a book by Meera Syal and Thomas Meehan — was based on an idea by Shekhar Kapur and Lloyd Webber, who co-produced the London mounting. The New York production at the Broadway Theatre played 31 previews and 284 regular performances before closing Jan. 1, 2005.

Bombay Dreams tells the story of Akaash, a brash young slum dweller who dreams of becoming a Bollywood movie star and meeting his idol, the voluptuous screen siren Rani. And wouldn't you know it, his dreams come true—but not without some personal costs and a good dousing in an on-stage dancing fountain.

The production mirrors many a Bollywood musical in its lavish and plentiful production numbers, which find a good portion of the grinning Bombay population joyously dancing in unison to a propulsive beat. The show's centerpiece is perhaps the disco-ish "Shakalaka Baby," in which Rani and Akaash dance in and around a growing fountain. The musical was directed by Steven Pimlott and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan. The show, which brought East Indian-flavored music and dance to the West End and later to Broadway, had its world premiere at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre on June 19, 2002.

Song titles include "Salaa'm Bombay," "Bollywood," "Love's Never Easy," "Lovely, Lovely Ladies," "Bhangra," "Shakalaka Baby," "I Could Live Here," "Is This Love?," "Famous," "Chaiyya Chaiyya," "How Many Stars?," "Hero," "Ganesh Procession," "The Journey Home" and "Wedding Qawali."

A scene from the original Broadway production of <i>Bombay Dreams</i>
A scene from the original Broadway production of Bombay Dreams Photo by Joan Marcus