The Live Entertainment Standards In India Are Rapidly Catching Up: Albert Almeida, COO - Live Entertainment, BookMyShow
Albert Almeida of BookMyShow tells us how Live entertainment in India is the next big thing to watch out for.
Disney’s Aladdin is a vibrant, fun-filled production which enthralls its audience across all age groups with a feel of sheer joy as they walk out of the theatre. A ‘must watch’ indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity -- the musical boasts of extravagant sets, lavish costumes, beautifully choreographed sequences, mesmerizing special effects which instantly transport the audiences into the magical world of Agrabah, with a team of some very talented people working on-stage and behind the stage.
BookMyShow’s maiden Broadway-style theatrical production, brought magic back to life with Disney’s smash hit ‘Alladin’ for the first time on the Indian stage which made a phenomenal debut in Mumbai and Delhi, earlier this year. Albert Almeida, COO - Live Entertainment, BookMyShow tells interesting facts behind the production and what makes Live entertainment in India the next big thing on the platter, in an interview with Priyaankaa Mathur.
Everything right from costumes, make up, sets, lighting, to choreography and music is impeccable that astounds the audiences the moment they step inside the auditorium Broadway-style musical, ‘Alladin’. The Broadway has been reimagined locally with an all Indian cast and talent while maintaining the essence of the original Broadway-style musical. The show has something for everyone - from magic, comedy, drama to romance, song and dance that was put together in in 8 months, which included 2 months of pan-India casting auditions, 3 months of production and 3 months of rehearsals.
Albert Almeida throws light on the idea behind choosing to produce a Broadway style musical like Disney’s Aladdin, “We were absolutely excited to produce the Indian stage version of Disney’s Aladdin which is an extravagant visual feast, filled with music, joy, and loads of theatrical magic. The live entertainment standards in India are rapidly catching up with the rest of the world and BookMyShow is proud to have been continuously playing its part in this transformative journey. Over the years, we’ve only seen the category grow because the supply side has grown phenomenally and on the demand side, the number of tickets bought has also grown exponentially. So, we are seeing a very healthy and sharp growth curve for live entertainment in India.”
The show has exquisite sets, special effects, backdrops, costumes, artistic talent and well-coordinated acts - dance and music sequences. Talking about the creative side of the production Almeida draws light on the music and design elements of the show, “The music for the Indian production has been recreated by the very talented Dhruv Ghanekar. Dhruv has used big band orchestra pieces, with swing and jazz elements, which will give the audiences the feeling that the music is being played live. The music is grand, fantastic and magical. Gaviin Miguel has given a twist of glamour to make the costumes even more magical. He has wonderfully reimagined each of the outfits and has yet, stayed true to personalities of each character. The production definitely boasts of extravagant sets which will instantly transport the audiences into the magical world of Agrabah.”
Almeida adds, “Varsha Jain, Production designer has used different set pieces to create different moods within Agrabah. From colourful and full of life city streets to the gold and jewel studded palace halls, the sets of Disney’s Aladdin have transformed the NCPA stage into the city of Agrabah. Bertwin and Shampa have used and fused different dance styles right from Arabian folk styles, belly dancing, jazz, contemporary, ballroom, African and even hip hop. What’s wonderful is that each dance sequence is so seamlessly integrated with the story and it remains true to the characters.”
So what could have been the net investments in terms of production costs for this musical Extravaganza, answers Almeida, “We have left no stone unturned in bringing a world class production of Disney’s Aladdin to Indian audiences. As producers we believe in ensuring that our audience experience is the best and never compromised and to that end, due investments have been made to do just this.”
Almeida highlights on OOH entertainment’s active communities and how they help evaluate investments, “Given that we have an active community of close to 40 million customers we have a lot of data on their past preferences and behaviour with regard to Out-of-home (OOH) entertainment. Therein lies our ability to objectively evaluate and take prudent commercial decisions with regard to content that is likely to succeed and the costs we need to invest to make that happen. We take our investment calls with a more strategic and longer-term view in mind as the market needs to be built by consumers seeing value and returning for more. We see a large part of that onus resting on us.”
Almeida also spoke about recreating Disney’s magic, as a challenge, “It starts with casting and goes on to other elements of the production mix like the scale of the show, the sets, and the magic and so on. Also, the responsibility to remain true to the iconic characters of Disney’s Aladdin while depicting them on the stage is always a tough act to follow. For a production of this scale our single biggest challenge is the lack of sufficient venues so as to be able to make the show travel! An example of a production challenge would be the ‘flying magic carpet’. We had to do a lot of research and spoke to multiple vendors across the globe, to ensure that the scene is truly a magical and mesmerising experience.”
BookMyShow has evolved from only ticketing to being a producer of non-movies Broadway-style musicals to venturing into live entertainment comedy and plans to get into sports too in near future.
Talking about the company’s evolution Almeida says, “As a platform BookMyShow has become the ubiquitous go-to destination for all OOH entertainment. Over the years we have been able to build on the already large community that we have aggregated for movie tickets, by adding a variety of live entertainment content options across theatre, music, stand-up comedy, sports and a variety of experiences ranging from outdoor activities to festivals, fairs and monuments.”
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