From India and the global Indian diaspora, the upcoming Off-Broadway production of Monsoon Wedding has found its stars. Mira Nair's stage musical adaptation of the 2001 film will play St. Ann's Warehouse beginning May 6. It will open May 22 for a run through June 4.
The international cast of 22 will star Broadway alums Anisha Nagarajan (Bombay Dreams, Company) and Alok Tewari (The Band's Visit), Namit Das (Sumit Sambhal Lega, A Suitable Boy), Sharvari Deshpande (Chhapaak, A Suitable Boy), Gagan Dev Riar (A Suitable Boy), Salena Qureshi (The Society, Madam Secretary), Deven Kolluri, and Palomi Ghosh. Riar reprises his role as Lalit Verma from the Delhi workshop while Ghosh and Nagarajan starred in a previous production at Berkeley Rep.
Also featured in the cast will be Manik Anand, Sargam Ipshita Bali, Meetu Chilana, Savidu Geevaratne, Bhaskar Jha, Miriam A. Laube, Sharayu Mahale, Anu Mysore, Jamen Nanthakumar, Shreya Navile, Nasir Panjwani, Jonathan Raviv, Devina Sabnis, SEVAN, Kinshuk Sen, Aathaven Tharmarajah, and Rhea Yadav (Aliya).
The musical is set in the lead-up to a wedding in Delhi where a couple's arranged marriage faces modern tensions. As it follows the two families and the wedding's staff through the festivities, family secrets bubble up and chaos ensues as romance becomes redefined. The show will be immersively staged at St. Ann's by beginning in the Max Family Garden with a wedding brass band that leads guests into the house and courtyard of a modernist, Corbusier-style Delhi home.
Serving on the creative team to immerse the audience in authentic versions of Delhi are set designer Jason Ardizzone-West, lighting designer Bradley King, projection designer David Bengali, costume designer Arjun Bhasin (who also designed the film), sound designer David Schnirman, choreographer Shampa Gopikrishna, and movement director Carrie-Anne Ingrouille. Orchestrations are by Tony winner Jamshied Sharifi with additional orchestrations and arrangements by Rona Siddiqui, and music produced by Sunny Jain. Emily Whitaker serves as music director, conductor, and keyboard player.
Monsoon Wedding features a book by Arpita Mukherjee and Sabrina Dhawan, with lyrics by Masi Asare and Susan Birkenhead and music by Vishal Bhardwaj. It is based on the film which was conceived and directed by Nair; Dhawan wrote the screenplay.
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.”
The world premiere of Monsoon Wedding, the Musical was produced in May 2017 by Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and subsequently played in Delhi, India. The work was also staged at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Monsoon Wedding, the Musical is produced by St. Ann’s Warehouse in conjunction with Mira Nair, Ruth and Stephen Hendel, and Rahul V. Chittella. Hypokrit Live Arts is associate producer.