'Monsoon Wedding' Storms Berkeley

Mira Nair’s "Monsoon Wedding" shows May 5 to June 25 at Berkeley Rep.


Mira Nair directs the musical adaptation of her 2001 hit movie.

Photo by Ishaan Nair

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has had good luck with its musicals lately, with American Idiot and now Amélie going on to Broadway. Now, Berkeley Rep follows up Amélie with, oddly enough, yet another world premiere of a stage musical adaptation of a hit 2001 international movie: renowned Indian director Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding.

Nair herself directs the show at Berkeley Rep, with music by Vishal Bhardwaj (himself the acclaimed director of films such as the Shakespeare adaptations Maqbool and Omkara), lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam, Working), and a book by Sabrina Dhawan based on her own screenplay for the original movie. The choreography is by Lorin Latarro, who recently choreographed Waitress, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and Waiting for Godot on Broadway.

Monsoon Wedding is the story of a wealthy Delhi family’s hectic planning for a large wedding in an arranged marriage to an Indian-American man whom the bride has never met. Various complications and uncomfortable secrets inevitably emerge, as well as the monsoon promised in the title. The cast features a bunch of South Asian actors all making their Berkeley Rep debuts, including Jolly Abraham, Monsoon Latané Bissell, Meetu Chilana, Namit Das, Sharvari Deshpande, Jaaved Jaaferi,  Michael Maliakel, Alok Tewari, and Kuhoo Verma. With a whole lot of music and dance in the story to begin with, it’s an inspired choice for the musical treatment, and it would be awfully surprising if the show didn’t go on to bigger things after its debut in Berkeley. Someday, you can say you saw it at the very beginning.

Monsoon Wedding, May 5-June 25, Tue., Thu., Fri., Sat. 8 p.m.; Wed., Sun. 7 p.m.; Sat., Sun. 2 p.m., Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, $35-$125; 510-647-2949, BerkeleyRep.org.


This report appears in the May edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.


Published online on May 2, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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