December, 2012, New York City: A very Desi Christmas is how Bumbug the Musical is being touted by theater-goers who are flocking to performances of this limited engagement rock opera now playing at Theatre Row in Manhattan. An original piece written by Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri, Bumbug the Musical captures the essence of Immigrant-America in a series of vignettes woven through Christmas Eve at the local deli. With central themes of love, loss, family and lost aspirations, Bumbug reminds audiences this Holiday season that blessings are always in front of them…if they just open their hearts to the possibilities.
“It’s a universal story that touches upon the American dream,” says Samrat Chakrabarti. “Immigrants from all over the world come to NYC with a dream of a better life. But often, get disheartened by the hardships of reality and overwhelmed by this concrete jungle. No matter where you come from, what cultural background, what race, everyone has moments of loneliness and doubt in the city that never sleeps. In Bumbug, we explore the theme of community and intricacies of being Global Citizens in today’s world through the joy of music.”
The musical, which is currently playing at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, and is the first-ever full-length musical authored by the Indian-American diaspora to have a production on the stages of NYC. The musical stars newcomers and familiar faces with the likes of Falu, Debargo Sanyal, Andrew Guilarte, Lipica Shah and Adrienne Moore making up the central cast and Kiarri Andrews, Brooke Ishibashi and Matthew Knowland comprising the Ensemble. The band, featured prominently on stage, includes Chakrabarti, Bamboo Shoots member Shiv Puri, Konrad Payne and Ranjit Arapurakal.
Directed by Mercedes Murphy, Bumbug entertains audiences with extremes of raucous laughter and poignant moments strung together with a soundtrack of catchy songs and lyrics. From the bawdy, “Aja, Aja” with Falu, to the “ Turn that Frown Upside Down” father/daughter number, the rock opera steams through a range of human circumstance all the while goading audiences to, “Get on the Train” that is Bumbug the Musical.
Bumbug takes place on Christmas Eve for deli worker and disgruntled immigrant Scroogewala (Guilarte) as he tends shop dreaming of his happier times in India when in walks the lovely Sunita (Shah). Before anything can even blossom within their mutual attraction, he casts her off as an ABCD and she rejects him based on his closed-minded Indian-ness. Sad and lonely, Scroogewala is visited by an Angel (Moore) who shows him, in a series of sketches, how different his life would be if he had just followed his dreams and his heart.
Sound familiar, you betcha! But this this rock opera is what A Christmas Carol would look like after it got thrown in a blender along with MTV, ABC, NBC and Indian ITV all strained through the mistletoe of immigrant life in modern day America. Presented by LAUGHistan, Bumbug the Musical is a Must-See this holiday season.
Bumbug, www.BumbugtheMusical.com, is currently playing on a limited engagement until Dec 22, 2012. Tickets are $19.50 each and are available through Telecharge.com.
All Photos by Corky Lee