Childhood fairy tales have a penchant for evoking nostalgia when we think of them, and no matter how old we grow, they will always linger in our memories.
And when Disney brought its timeless tale ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to India for the first time ever, we proved that our love for song and dance transcends beyond Bollywood and extends to Broadway.
The recent success of Beauty and the Beast running to full houses is indicative of the discerning middle class and their evolving tastes. Our upper and upper middle-class is well travelled, well-read and has an affinity towards the finer things in life. They are also more inclined towards new experiences and are willing to spend a premium towards this. Not surprisingly, their expectations have increased as well and have advanced from the traditional options of watching a movie or spending time at a mall or dining at a restaurant as family entertainment options. Gauging by these trends and the success of Disney’s risk and experimentation in bringing live acts to India, it is safe to say that Broadway is a viable option for entertainment in India.
For Broadway to continue its charm in India, companies need to keep in mind that the Indian audience loves a story that they can connect to, in terms of culture or familiarity. Popular Disney classics are the seemingly obvious choice for many a reason and will always find takers. These factors worked in our favour with Beauty and the Beast, coupled with a familiar story, one that has been passed down for generations and continues to enthral audiences of all ages. Audiences also love seeing their favourite characters come alive to song-and- dance-routine. This doesn’t mean that original scripts will not find favour. This is a good time for all forms of creative arts and play writers, musicians, directors et al, developing their own IPs or recreating popular movie scripts.
While preparing for shows of such magnitude, one is certainly going to face challenges towards making Broadway a success in India. Infrastructure is the primary concern. Dome’s in-house engineering team and load-bearing ceiling are equipped to man shows of such magnitude. A large seating capacity is also crucial because not only will the show be witnessed by a larger audience, it will also generate the needed revenue.
Such events are also a great avenue for advertisers and need a proper marketing strategy. Finding the right sponsor is only one part of the story. Without adequate propaganda, such events won’t reach the people and may suffer silently. Musicals and live theatre are an art that needs reviving and promotion for the current generation to wake up to it. The globe-trotting generation may be excited to see such shows when they go abroad, but they forget that the home ground is no less blooming.
With the stage set, Mumbai has definitely proven that we are not just the financial capital of India, but the arts and entertainment capital as well, on par with bigger cities around the world. Continuing down the already paved path, we can soon fill the void in our entertainment sector and be on par with New York’s Broadway Theatre and London’s West End Theatre.
Broadway, New York
Article Courtesy: Mr. Mazhar Nadiadwala