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Disney India ventures into theatre production with ‘Beauty and The Beast’

The classic musical extravaganza will be showcased across Mumbai (Dome, NSCI theatre) and Delhi (Tyagraj theatre) from October to December

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | August 13, 2015


In a move that is likely to give a major fillip to the struggling theatre industry in India, Disney India has announced its plans to bring the classic ‘Beauty and The Beast’ to Indian stage for the first time. Based on the Academy-award winning animated feature film, the classic musical story will be presented to Indian audiences on the same scale as the mega productions seen on New York’s Broadway and on London’s West End.

‘Beauty and The Beast’ will be completely developed locally in India, while retaining the original script and music of the Broadway show. The production will be in English at 130 minutes in duration, with select shows across Mumbai (Dome, NSCI theatre) and Delhi (Tyagraj theatre) from October to December, 2015.

Siddharth Roy Kapur Siddharth Roy Kapur

Commenting on the development, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Managing Director, Disney India, said, “At Disney India, we are always thinking of ways in which to bring our audiences truly world class entertainment experiences, and this pioneering effort to locally produce one of our most beloved Broadway musicals is another example of that ongoing effort. ‘Beauty and The Beast’ is a story that has resonated with millions of fans around the world and we are sure it will do so in India as well.”

For a country that only throngs to watch Bollywood films and cricket matches, hasn’t Disney India taken a huge gamble by investing in theatre, which itself is struggling for survival? To this, Kapur replied, “There’s a saying that till you’ll never know till you try. I think families and the audiences haven’t had the opportunities to entertainment experiences of the kind that we have announced. I think when you give them such an experience, it is something that they will cherish and enjoy. You are right when you say that Bollywood and cricket have been the mainstays, but that’s purely because they have been the most easily accessible forms of entertainment so far. However, whenever one does something innovative and different, it gives the audiences a chance to have a new experience of something that they’ll really enjoy. And we believe that we will be doing that ‘Beauty and The Beast’.”

When asked whether Disney was catering to a niche-within-a-niche market, bringing theatre in English language, Kapur explained, “The great thing about India is that even a niche can be a large number. If you look at the population of our country and if you look at the English speaking population in the country and within that those who would enjoy live entertainment in English language, you will be quite surprised by the number, it’s actually very significant. Indians today have had a chance to be exposed to great entertainment experiences from around the world.”

When asked about the commercial viability of the project, Kapur replied, “We are clearly very bullish about our prospects, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it, but obviously it is something that we will have to wait and watch. We will be putting our best foot forward. We hope to put on a great show and hope it resonates with the audiences. I wouldn’t comment on the cost, but all I will say is that we are going to bring it in a grand scale to India.”

Commenting on the marketing strategy, he said, “In Mumbai and Delhi, there will be a lot of targeted communication involving print, outdoor, radio as well as digital. We will use the strength of our television network for the communication. There will be certain innovations, but it is too early to talk about them.”

Kapur refuses to divulge details about the number of shows or ticket prices, but added that the audience would get value for their money.

Globally, some of the world’s most renowned creative artists have brought to life the magic of ‘Beauty and The Beast’ on stage. For the production in India,

Disney India has roped in some of the finest artistes in the country. Some well-known names involved in the Indian production include – Vikranth Pawar (Show Director and Creative Head, Live Entertainment at Disney India), Leslie Lewis (Music Direction), Terence Lewis (Choreography), Varsha Jain (Set Design), Gavin Miguel (Costume Design), Pallavi Devika (Hair and Make-up) and Suzanne D’Mello (Vocal Training).

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