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Broadway theatre could provide fillip to theatre culture in India


New Delhi:  Disney India’s attempt at bringing the timeless classic story of “Beauty and the Beast” to India via a Broadway musical was a success in Delhi and Mumbai. The show’s director, Vikranth Pawar, says such “entertaining” endeavours with homegrown talent can give a fillip to the popularity of live theatre in the country.

After bedazzling the people of Mumbai by bringing the story of a girl falling for a prince-turned-beast, to life, the musical show enthralled people in Delhi last month.

“It is important to attract audiences by doing work that they find entertaining like Broadway on a good scale with Indian talent. People will come to watch, they will love the presentation and then the culture of the theatre will grow with the whole process,” said Pawar, creative head and show director, Live Entertainment, Disney India.

Of course, the story was re-imagined to suit the sensibilities of the Indian audience.

“The script and the score are original, but the rest has been re-imagined by Indian talent. From the 360 degree sets with houses and cobbled streets, the script and costumes, we took the liberty to use the embroidery and embellishments which the audience are familiar with and can connect with,” Pawar said.

Pawar, who is also credited for musicals like “Jhumroo” and “Zangoora”, noted that the feedback from Mumbai’s “flabbergasted” audience took the enthusiasm on a whole new level.

“The audience in Mumbai was flabbergasted. It is a big spectacular show nothing that India has seen before and the talent exhibited is Indian as well,” said the director.

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, the classic musical love story was presented to Indian audiences on the same scale as the mega productions seen on New York’s Broadway and in London’s West End.

Pawar had a huge team to unfold the whimsical chapter in India. Some eminent names involved in the Indian production included Leslie Lewis (music direction), Terence Lewis (choreography), Varsha Jain (set design) and Gavin Miguel (costume design).

Directing Broadway has been a great journey for Pawar, who is in his late 30s.

“It has been a great journey so far right from the time I read the script and visualised how it can be done. Getting to do this with Disney banner is such a privilege. And for me, it has been such a great experience to put out what was in my head and to get appreciated by the crew. It has been a very humbling at the same time, a very rewarding journey”. (IANS), (image courtesy: gstv.in)

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Alabama Theatre cancels screening of “Beauty and the Beast” because film features Disney’s first openly Gay Character

Beauty and the Beast poster, Source-Disney Movies UK

Washington, March 6, 2017: Alabama Theater cancelled screening of “Beauty and the Beast” because the film features Disneys first openly gay character.

The Henagar Drive-In Theatre in DeKalb County has cancelled its screenings of “Beauty and the Beast” because the film will feature Disney’s first openly gay character, reports hollywoodreporter.com.

Director Bill Condon earlier this week told Attitude magazine that Josh Gad’s LeFou — villain Gaston’s (played by Luke Evans) eccentric sidekick — will be Disney’s first-ever LGBTQ character — a way of honouring the original 1991 animated film’s late lyricist Howard Ashman.

Opened in 1999, the Henagar Drive-In screens family-friendly double features. The theater’s shift away from “Beauty and the Beast” was decided by the business’ new owners, who took over in December.

“When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine,” the business said in a statement on Facebook.

The statement further read: “If we cannot take our 11-year-old grand daughter and eight-year-old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.

“I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine.

“We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”

Disney hasn’t responded on the matter. (IANS)