There are 18 people in a circle, doing warm-up exercises. We’re not in a gym. We’re in Andheri, at a rehearsal of the 18-member principal cast of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast musical. Shortly, the reading session starts, with the background music playing from a laptop, to give cue to the actors.
Vikranth Pawar, the director, says, “The day begins with physical training, and moves on to the reading session, followed by training for vocals and dance. It seems like a long day, but you don’t realise that when you are working with passionate people,” he says.
The overall cast, when the play debuts in Mumbai on October 23, will be over a hundred strong.
Left: Anil Chandiramani as Maurice; Right: Meher Mistry as Belle
It includes some of the finest talents in the country, like Bugs Bhargava who plays Cogsworth (trivia: Ian McKellan is set to play the same character in the upcoming international live-action version), Brian Tellis as Lumiere, Meher Mistry as Belle, Edwin Joseph as Beast.
Finding the right talent that could ably dance, sing and act was a tough task, but the whole act is slowly coming together, says Pawar. The actors laugh at the jokes in the script, smile encouragingly at their co-actors and applaud when Joseph delivers a well-performed monologue.
Come October, Pawar is confident about the kind of response: “The six year olds can enjoy the fairytale come alive. As for the adults, they can relish the dance and music,” he signs off to enjoy his lunch break.
Left: Brian Tellis as Lumiere; Right: Bugs Bhargava as Cogsworth
October 23, 8pm | October 24 and 25, 3pm and 8pm
October 30, 8pm | October 31, and November 1, 3pm and 8pm
Venue: [email protected], SVP Stadium, Worli, Mumbai
Tickets: Bookings open on September 18 at bookmyshow.com
Price: Between Rs 1000 – Rs 5000
Vikranth Pawar, the director (Photo courtesy: Sherwin Crasto/Solaris Images)