Lolita Chakrabarti’s stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel is considered Broadway’s most diverse show right now
It has variously been described as dazzling, a marvel of stagecraft, and the most exhilarating theatre experience.
Life of Pi, Lolita Chakrabarti’s stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel of the same name, opened on Broadway in March. Ever since then, the musical has been garnering critical acclaim.
READ: Life of Pi on Broadway gets a warm welcome (March 28, 2023)
And now, Life of Pi has become the first Broadway play with a majority South Asian cast and creative team to win three Tony Awards— for Best Lighting Design of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Sound Design of a Play.
The Antoinette Perry Award, more commonly known as the Tony awards are considered the most prestigious for Broadway shows.
Recognising excellence in Broadway Theatre, they are awarded by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Manhattan on the second Sunday of June.
The musical is currently at play at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. It also marks the Broadway debut of three Olivier Award-winning performers who are part of the show.
The South Asian actors who are part of the cast and crew include Sri Lankan actor Hiran Abeysekera who is seen in the role of “Pi”.
Indian American actor Rajesh Bose essays the Father, while Kolkata-born, New York based actress Mahira Kakkar can be seen as Nurse/Amma/Orange Juice.
Pakistani-American actor Salma Qarnain is the Mrs. Biology Kumar/Zaida Khan, Whale (2022) fame Missouri-born Indian-origin actor Sathya Sridharan can be seen as Mamaji/Pandit-Ji and half Indian-American, half Italian actress Sonya Venugopal as Rani.
READ: ‘Life of Pi’ on Broadway is “a dream run” for Mahnaz Damania (December 8, 2022)
Indian theatre artist Mahnaz Damania, and Usman Ali Mughal, Uma Paranjpe and David Shih round out the 24-member cast with Adi Dixit as the “Pi” alternate.
Life of Pi is an epic tale of adventure which starts in India. After a shipwreck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi survives on a lifeboat with four companions— a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a Royal Bengal tiger.
What follows is the young boy’s tryst with hope, faith, and perseverance. The story is told on the stage through puppetry and exquisite stagecraft.
Prior to this, Life of Pi played at Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End where it won five Olivier Awards.