The hit Fox show Glee, about a group of misfits who love to sing and dance, has just wrapped up its third season. Whether it matches up to the accolades heaped upon it or not, there’s one thing Glee can be accused of that no other hit TV show can — introducing youngsters across the world to the music of classic Broadway plays.
Theatre artiste Raell Padamsee has put together Broadway & Beyond, a performance piece that gives its viewers a taste of the diversity and eclecticism of musical theatre. A two-hour long melodic extravaganza, Broadway & Beyond has about 22 different acts that pay tribute to famous musicals such as Cats, Cabaret, Evita, Chicago and The Wiz, while doffing its hat to artistes like Queen, ABBA and Frank Sinatra.
There’s a growing audience for theatre of this kind, according to Padamsee. “I grew up listening to, watching, absorbing and imbibing all sorts of musicals. They’re very close to me,” says Padamsee. “The whole spectacle of it abroad is something that really got me thinking,” she adds. “I saw the range of talent in the city when we (Padamsee’s production house) did Sound of Music last year.”
It’s this huge range of talent that she hopes to showcase with Broadway & Beyond.
“Everybody’s doing so much across the board. Delna (Mody) is going abroad to Germany to perform. Ramona (Arena) has just come in from abroad.” Padamsee promises that we’ll see performers doing things they aren’t normally known for.
“It’s nice to do things one’s comfortable with and that’s okay,” says Padamsee. “But when you push the envelope, it gets interesting and challenging.”
The cast of Broadway & Beyond includes Joe Alvares from Jesus Christ Superstar, Shahriyar Atai from The Wiz, Delna Mody from The Sound of Music as well as VJ Ramona, among others. Also making their presence felt are Armaan Malik and Tara Sutaria, both aged 17.
“Bombay needs a play like this,” says Shahriyar Atai, magician, ventriloquist, stand-up comedian, actor, songwriter, singer and performer on Broadway & Beyond.
“You’re not doing this for the money, you’re doing it for the pleasure,” adds Atai. “Every act is so meticulous, we have the sets, we have the props, the lighting. We’re not just doing songs, we’re also doing scenes leading up to the songs.”
The two shows they’ve performed so far have received standing ovations, a matter of intense pride for Atai, as is the fact that no two shows of Broadway & Beyond are the same. “With the kind of talent we have here, we can overshadow Broadway!” he says, laughing. There are artists calling, wanting to be a part of the show. “This has only just begun,” Atai finishes.
ON: 7.30 pm, July 1
AT: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
Tickets: Box Office, NCPA and on bookmyshow.com