As final preparations continue for its Broadway premiere next month, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams has announced that it will close in the West End this summer. The Bollywood musical has posted closing notices for 13 June 2004 at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it opened two years earlier, on 19 June 2002. The show had been booking up to 26 September 2004.
The musical is being substantially reworked for the American production, and this new script will be used for a UK tour in early 2005 ahead of a planned return to the West End later next year. In a statement released today, Lloyd Webber, who visited the US producers of Bombay Dreams earlier this month, explained: “Having been in New York, and seen some of the rehearsals for the show, I think that the exciting developments that have been made in terms of the book, the score, and the set designs mean that this is the show I would like to see in the UK.”
Bombay Dreams represented an unusual departure for Lloyd Webber. Although he conceived the new work, along with filmmaker Shekhar Kapur who co-produces, it does not feature any of his music. Instead, it is scored by young Indian composer A R Rahman, who has composed the music for more than 50 Hindi films and who Lloyd Webber has lauded as "one of the most exciting young composers of our time".
In the musical, young slum-dweller Akaash dreams of becoming a huge star in Bollywood, the £750 million Indian industry that produces and internationally distributes some 600 films a year. His encounter with beautiful Priya and her father, a corrupt movie mogul, sets him on his way. But is Akaash willing to pay the price of fame?
The current London cast of Bombay Dreams features Stephen Rahman-Hughes (as Akaash), Zehra Naqvi (Priya), Ravin J Ganatra (Madan), Munir Khairdin (Vikram), Royce Ullah (JK), Raj Ghatak (Sweetie) and Sophiya Haque (Rani).
The show has music by AR Rahman, with English song lyrics by Don Black, and a book by Meera Syal. The London production is directed by Steven Pimlott, choreographed by Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan, and designed by Mark Thompson.
The New York production of Bombay Dreams opens at the Broadway Theatre on 29 April 2004 (previews from 29 March). A feature film of the musical is also in the works.
- by Terri Paddock