News » Top Stories » Imagination Stage presents world premiere of reimagined Mark Twain classic ‘The Princess & The Pauper – A Bollywood Tale’

Imagination Stage presents world premiere of reimagined Mark Twain classic ‘The Princess & The Pauper – A Bollywood Tale’

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Mark Twain classic The Princess & The Pauper – A Bollywood Tale.

Imagination Stage, an organization promoting arts education, will premier its musical production of ‘The Princess & The Pauper – A Bollywood Tale’ directed by Artistic Director Janet Stanford Feb 10-March 18, 2018 in Imagination Stage’s Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre in Bethesda, MD.

In this Bollywood-inspired musical adaptation of the classic Mark Twain novel, the life of commoners is depicted who work long hours to support the luxurious lifestyle of the palace royals.

The play revolves around the life of Rani, a shy dressmaker’s daughter, who dreams of ruling the Sultanate with generosity and justice.

Meanwhile, a corrupt Wazir plots to steal the throne, and a spoiled Princess Razia longs wistfully for freedom beyond the palace walls. When Razia and Rani meet in the royal mango garden and decide to switch clothes, the drama truly begins.

“This play was commissioned as part of our ongoing effort to create new works for under-represented members of our community.  At Imagination Stage we seek to honor and educate our diverse audience about the heritage of the region’s many residents,” Stanford said in a statement. “Since the Washington area boasts the third largest population of South Asians in the U.S., we are excited to premiere a new play by Anu Yadav which we believe can provide a cultural bridge from past to present; from India to the USA; and from one child to another.”

Playwright Anu Yadav said she wanted to present a story on South Asian girls.

“I wanted to write a feminist story about South Asian girls who learned to trust their minds,” Yadav said. “Our world right now is in need of stories that remind us of the power of truth, love, and connection. That’s what we will need to resolve our greatest global challenges.”

Stanford is the winner of the 2017 Harold Oaks Award for Innovation in Theatre for Young Audiences. She has commissioned the US and international playwrights including Kevin Kling, Karen Zacarías, Joan Cushing, David S. Craig, and Charles Way. Last season, she directed The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Jungle Book and remounted Looking for Roberto Clemente in Washington, D.C.

Yadav is also an actress and theater-based educator. She has performed at venues including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Shakespeare Theatre Company; Studio Safdar in Delhi, India; and the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Beijing, China.

Her work has been featured in the documentaries Walk with Me and Chocolate City, as well as The Washington Post, The Crisis, MTV, WAMU-FM, and other media outlets.

The role of Razia will be played by Anjna Swaminathan, a theatre artist and accomplished South Indian Carnatic Violinist. Alex Palting, last seen in Keegan Theatre’s Top Girls and Pallas Theatre’s Assassins, will be making her debut at Imagination Stage in the role of Rani.

Weekday performances will be at 10:30 a.m. and public performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Also, there will be select Saturday performances at 11:00 a.m.

Tickets start at $10 and may be purchased online at, at the Imagination Stage box office, or via phone at 301-280-1660.

Founded in 1979, Imagination Stage is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to inspire creativity through theatre and arts education programs that nurture, challenge, and empower young people of all abilities. It offers year-round professional theatre for young audiences and classes in creative drama/acting, musical theatre, dance, and filmmaking for ages 1-18.

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