(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Rimli Roy’s Ramaavan - A Musical, concluded its ten-show run in Jersey City and New York City, leaving audiences eager for more. Commencing with a three day run at the NJCU Margaret Williams Theater in Jersey City from October 20 - 22, 2023, the production moved to the historic off-Broadway theater in Manhattan, at The American Theater of Actors - Cullum Theatre between October 25 - 29, 2023.
The audience found Ramaavan - A Musical (RAM) a unique theatrical musical experience unlike others they have seen before. The integration of various musical and dance genres complemented by a theme that transcends boundaries of race, bias and preconceived notions lends to the uniqueness of RAM. An English adaptation of a 2000 year old story, RAM is relevant even today in our society . The production combines intricate and energetic dance choreography, melodious music, and a cast and crew with passion that transported audiences to Ayodhya, Panchavati and Lanka. Several new scenes and musical scores were added since it was last staged in 2022 in the same venue in Manhattan. Audiences praised the show's ability to blend tradition with innovation, taking them on a journey of love and justice. "Ramaavan - A Musical" struck a chord with both fans of the Ramayana epic and newcomers to the story, transcending cultural boundaries to offer a universal message of courage and compassion.
Rimli Roy, creator and director of Ramaavan said “This year has been our best rendition of Ramaavan - A Musical, so far, as every year I try to enhance the show by adding new elements to the production, but we still have a lot of work to do. I am grateful for the incredibly talented cast, crew and dedicated team along with our sponsors and supporters who have made this show series possible.”
The cast included: Jonathan Gregory Power (Ram); Akshat Jha (Ravan); Alondra Schuck (Sita); Andrew Leonforte (Lakshman); Roberto Facchin (Hanuman, Golden Deer, Dancer); Melissa Lubars (Surpanakha, Soul of Sita); Henry Frontini (Indrajit, Narrator); Ha Young Synn (Surpanakha II, Sita's Reflection, Bard); Sriradha Paul (Lead Indian Classical Dancer); Jeevika Bhatt(Jatayu, Indian Classical Dancer); Kijana Lewis (Dancer, Warrior); Annie Renita (Dancer, Ensemble); Sanika Pophale (Indian Classical Dancer); Tanvi Chandak (Dancer, Warrior, Monkey); U S Praveen (Mareech, Warrior, Monkey); Giordano Cruz (Warrior); Carly Sesti (Warrior, Ensemble)
Rakesh Kaul, Vice Chairman of IAAC, shared his thoughts on the performance, saying, "Ramaavan sticks close to the classic but artistically is a wondrous re-imagination of the tale all done in the English language. Ram is the protagonist who captivates all. The Asura dance sequences are full of fire and fury, and Ravana especially stomps the ground with vigor in the Shiva tandava stotram. Surpanakha delivers a Broadway-quality Italian opera when she sings the song 'Lascia Ch’io Pianga' during the The Soul of Sita scene. The tour de force is the golden deer. I had never understood why Sita, who had everything, would have been enamored by the golden deer, but the performance reveals why we all run into golden deer in our lives to our regret. You will leave the theater smiling, flying high like Hanuman and filled with the picker-upper that is the magical Sanjeevani herbs."
Anil Bansal, a Board Member of IAAC, shared his enthusiasm, saying, "Ramaavan is an absolutely amazing show. Look forward to seeing it again."
Nirmal Mattoo, Chairman of IAAC, was equally impressed, stating, "Creativity at its best. The dances were mesmerizing. The fast-paced scenes kept one glued to the stage. A tour de force and a must for the family."
Rajeev Kaul, a Board Member of IAAC, expressed his pride, saying, "Indian music, dance, and storytelling are woven wonderfully to create a theatrical experience that everyone will enjoy. So proud of Rimli and her dedicated cast."
Richard Tigga, Chief Administrative Officer of IAAC, also had positive words, mentioning, "I really liked the show - it was filled with great performances with talented and committed young artists - they did a great job and it was very nice of IAAC to showcase their talents."
The cast featured actors from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, coming together to bring this epic story from India to life. The attendees were equally mesmerized by characters like Jatayu (The Vulture King friend of Prince Ram), the enchanting Golden Deer Sita is bewitched by and the versatile monkey God Hanuman who can dance as well as sing!
The success of Ramaavan - A Musical would not have been possible without the generous support of their sponsors and the dedicated team of professionals who worked tirelessly to bring this production to life. They extend their heartfelt gratitude to all who contributed in making this musical a resounding success.
The crew: Rimli Roy (Concept, Creation, Direction, Choreography, Costume & Scenic Design); Arati Roy (Script, Lyrics, Costume Design and Creation); Sumit Roy & Rajesh Roy (Music); Rajesh Roy (Music Production); Sriradha Paul (Assistant Dance Director); Rajesh Roy (Musician - Keyboards); Elhadji Alioune Faye (Musician - Percussion & Rhythm); Yash Arora (Production Manager); Lauren Lee (Lighting Design); New York Combat for Screen and Stage (Combat Direction), Arham Kazi, Harsh Shakti & Megha Sanghavi (Prop and Production Assistants); Jay Banerjee (Sound and Projection Design); Melissa Lubars, Ha Young Synn & Carly Sesti (Voiceover)
Produced by: Rimli Roy and Surati for Performing Arts; Presented by: IAAC (Indo American Arts Council) & Surati for Performing Arts.
Sponsors: IAAC, Dance NYC, NJ Arts and Culture Renewal Fund, Visit NJ (NJ Tourism), Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, Jersey City Arts and Culture Trust Fund, NJCU Center for the Arts.
Surati For Performing Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that educates and enriches communities through dance, music, and theatre rooted in Indian art, themes and culture. Based in Jersey City, New Jersey, Surati brings to the communities of the tristate area and beyond a range of traditional and contemporary dance theatre and original staged productions which the company has also extensively toured with. Surati also produces several cultural festivals throughout the year.