THE Playhouse Company is set to open its popular annual Christmas Season with Bollywood Song and Dance, a production under the helm of dance doyenne Smeetha Maharaj.
The production will be staged on November 19 and 20 in the Playhouse Drama Theatre. It pays homage to the tradition of the Indian cinema industry.
Bollywood Song and Dance will showcase the Nateshwar Dance Company, and it will be anchored by radio presenter and Bollywood aficionado, Varshan Sookhun.
The production is designed and directed by Rakesh Maharaj. It features 14 dancers in elaborate costumes performing to the six-piece Tansen Nepaul Showband and vocalists Umita Kalyan and Preetesh Singh live on stage.
The show features Bollywood songs from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, with hits from each era highlighted in various medleys. The songs include: Bobby, Hum Thum Ek Kamre Mai Bandh, Kabhi Kabhi and Dream Girl (70s), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Qurbani and Masoom (80s), and Dilwale Dhulan, Kuch Kuch and Anjam (90s), and more.
In an interview with The POST, Maharaj, the artistic director of the Nateshwar Dance Company, said they were honoured to be opening The Playhouse’s Christmas Season.
“It is quite appropriate because the show also opens just after our festive season, which is Diwali. People will enjoy a nice celebration with this production. This is a great opportunity that The Playhouse has afforded us to get back on stage at this time. It is a special time of year when people are ready to celebrate and let their hair down after a year of working hard. Bollywood shows are light-hearted entertainers for all. It's family-orientated, and the songs cater for older and newer generations.”
Maharaj said Bollywood continued to be popular among younger generations.
“They seem to be so much more into Bollywood than the older generation right now. At the dance school, we found that when the students come to enrol, they might not necessarily just want to train in classical dance. They are also really interested in learning the Bollywood style of dancing. I think the film industry is also helping the younger generation to be involved more in our culture indirectly. Through movies, the culture, the language, the music is explored.”
Maharaj said now that South Africa was on level one of the lockdown, it was hoped more people would come out in support of live shows.
“If we have people attending and supporting our shows, we, as artists, grow, and we will also be inspired to make more productions. Many artists were without work for some time, and now they are coming back to stage. So we hope the audiences will come out in support as we get back to some sort of normalcy in life.”
Fest stage feast
A press release said The Playhouse Company’s Christmas Season was traditionally a time of family productions and whimsy, laughter and fun, pantos and ballet, song and dance. It said, this year, the company had produced a carefully-curated programme of old-school nostalgia, with a contemporary twist.
Bollywood Song & Dance is the opening production of the season. Bigly Yuge will stage on December 3 and 4. The Joburg Ballet will perform The Nutcracker on December 18 and 19 and the KickstArt family panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, will stage from December 18 to 30. For more information about these shows and ticket prices, visit www.webtickets.co.za or The Playhouse Company website.
During this period, The Playhouse will also hold its regular sundowner concerts and poetry sessions featuring a host of artists. These sessions are free of charge. For more information, visit The Playhouse Company website
* Bollywood Song and Dance will stage at The Playhouse Opera Theatre at 6pm. Tickets are R100 throughout via www.webtickets.co.za, or webtickets outlets at select Pick ‘n Pay outlets. For more information, call 031 369 9540.