The expressive spirit, romance, and grandeur of Bollywood comes to life onstage with “Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue.” Direct from Mumbai, the musical theatre production comes to the Moss Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m.
The performance will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
“Taj Express” is a high-powered fusion of east and west, classical dance steps and new moves, and pulsating modern music played on the finest Indian classical instruments. Capturing the vibrant, expressive spirit of the world of Bollywood movies that have been entertaining billions of people in India for generations, the performance takes audiences on a live cinematic journey through modern Indian culture and society.
Wrapped in swirling colors and full of energy, “Taj Express” is the creation of one of India’s leading entertainment families, the Merchants. The show is produced and directed by Shruti Merchant, who is a top choreographer in the Bollywood entertainment industry and was recently featured as a judge on India’s dance reality show, “Dance India Dance.” Vaibhavi Merchant is the director of choreography for the production. Vaibhavi has worked on over 75 Bollywood films and has received the National Award for Choreography, IIFA, and the American Choreography Award.
The production follows a young aspiring Indian composer, Shankar, who receives his first big break in the film industry to create the music for a brand new Bollywood movie, “Taj Express.” Music is the key factor in the success of a Bollywood movie, and Shankar invites the audience into his studio and creative world, where he reveals the secrets of how a Bollywood movie is made. Shankar takes the audience through the script, page by page, as he creates for this roller-coaster romance.
“Taj Express” is the love story between the beautiful actress, Kareena, and Arjun, a handsome hero of the streets. While they seem to be from opposite worlds, they are connected through their love for dance. Arjun rescues young people from the streets and offers them training in classical dance, while Kareena longs for freedom from the pressures of being a celebrity.
The journey takes them from the film studios of Mumbai to the southernmost tip of India, from the temples of Varanasi to the fields of Punjab, ending with a fabulous wedding in the Royal Palaces of Rajasthan. Of course, no Bollywood story is complete without a villain. Shakaal, an underground mob boss, has a vendetta against Arjun and a mission to bring Kareena back to Bollywood or destroy them both.
This performance of “Taj Express” is supported in part by gifts from the Chachra Family Foundation and Sherwood Quillen.
Prior to the performance, the Moss Arts Center — in partnership with Up on the Roof and Blacksburg Young Professionals — will host a special event for young professionals. “Mix #attheMAC” includes a reception in the Moss Arts Center Cube with India-inspired hors d’oeuvres by the Holiday Inn Christiansburg Blacksburg, two complimentary drink tickets and a cash bar, and a ticket for “Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue” for $45 per person. The reception can be added for patrons who already have tickets to the performance by calling the box office.
Tickets for the performance are $40-75 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.