The joyously over-the-top extravaganza that is Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue is a kinetic non-stop evening of song and dance that celebrates the glitz and raucousness of Bollywood, India’s glitzy film industry. The crowd-pleasing North American touring production heats up the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7pm as part of Appalachian State University’s performing arts series, The Schaefer Center Presents.
Taj Express rhythmically blends a variety of dance styles — classic Indian to Western ballet and cotemporary — with a collection of music ranging from disco, rock and hip-hop to classical Indian and pop, with a tango and an old-fashioned waltz thrown in for kicks. Dance numbers are delivered at a frenzied pace and with phenomenal precision by the 20-plus person cast of some of India’s most popular actor-dancers. The razzle dazzle is complemented by a bevy of spice market-colored costumes and thrilling live music set to an unforgettable soundtrack featuring the songs of Oscar winner A.R. Rahman (“Jai Ho”, Slumdog Millionaire). The result is an unforgettable, high-energy celebration of the spirit of India and Bollywood.
Tickets are only $5 for all students, $15 faculty/staff/local resident discount (with proof of residence in Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties) and $25 adults. To purchase tickets, call or visit the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts Box Office at 800-841-2787, 828-262-4046 or visit: http://theschaefercenter.org
The Story of Taj Express
“If A.R. Rahman is the Mozart of Madras, I want to be the Beethoven of Bollywood.” So declares young aspiring Indian composer Shankar, who is given his first big break in the film business, employed to create the soundtrack for a brand-new Bollywood movie. Shankar dreams of writing a song as successful as A.R Rahman’s Oscar-winning smash-hit “Jai Ho” from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman is India’s greatest ever musical genius and Shankar is his greatest fan.
The plot of the film Shankar must score is a romantic adventure across kaleidoscopic India aboard one of India’s iconic trains. Shankar must create the music of the streets, the folk festivals, the temple rituals, and a love song for “the greatest love story ever told.”
Shankar invites the audience into his music studio where they meet the experienced session musicians he has employed to make the soundtrack under the producer’s punishing deadlines. Shankar’s youthful ambitions clash with the executive’s sarcasm and cynicism.
As each song is composed, the production cuts to the film set to illustrate how Shankar’s thrilling, rhythmic music is interpreted by a stunning company of gorgeous dancers. When Shankar hits writer’s block, he researches Rahman’s incredible life story to discover the reason for his success. Shankar becomes obsessed with Rahman’s life, beliefs and inspiration, struggles and set-backs, and Rahman’s determination to unite the nation with music.
At the heart of Taj Express is the story of one man’s passion and another man’s genius.
2019-20 Schaefer Center Presents Series
The performance series, presented by ASU’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, offers students, faculty, staff and the community a diverse array of music, theatre and dance events. The season also includes Old Crow Medicine Show (Sunday, Nov. 17), An Evening with Lyle Lovett (Saturday, Feb. 1), A.I.M – Abraham in Motion (Wednesday, Feb. 5), Trinity Irish Dance Company (Saturday, Feb. 22), L.A. Theatre Works: Seven featuring playwright Paula Cizmar (Tuesday, March 24), and Rosanne Cash – She Remembers Everything (Saturday, April 4).