‘Come Fall in Love is a heartfelt and relevant show that explores the importance of inclusivity!’ : Simran of Aditya Chopra’s Broadway debut, Shoba Narayan, opens up about how the musical is celebrating diversity and inclusivity
Aditya Chopra’s Broadway-bound musical Come Fall In Love is trying to tell an important and a relevant thing in today’s times. The show is about the need for cultural unification in a growingly divisive and toxic world. It is about the celebration of inclusivity and diversity in a world that’s getting polarised by the minute. It is about the celebration of love and how it can unify people, cultures and break down all barriers.
Come Fall In Love has many firsts for India and Indians. For the first time, an Indian director, Aditya Chopra, debuts on Broadway. It is also the first Bollywood musical set to be on Broadway. It has Vishal and Sheykhar debuting too as composers. Shruti Merchant will do her first Broadway musical as Associate Choreographer. The show champions diversity and every department from cast to technicians is a beautiful confluence of East and West as Indian and South Asian representation is at the heart of this show.
The diverse cast and technicians speak about how Come Fall in Love champions cultural unification in today’s times. The musical also has 18 original English songs to treat audiences with and the makers reveal that they also have a beautiful song ‘Love In Every Colour’ that celebrates the theme of inclusivity through the show.
Vishal & Sheykhar says, “We are extremely proud that one of the most-loved Indian films, DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge), is being adapted into the musical ‘Come Fall In Love’ at The Old Globe San Diego, with all our sights firmly set on Broadway. This is the first time an Indian film is being adapted for Broadway by the original filmmaker himself. This is therefore, also the first time India, our culture, our music, our dance and our wonderful open-heartedness is being represented to the world in this form, for and by creators and artists from India, along with celebrated veterans of Broadway Musical Theatre.”
They add, “We, along with all the other South Asians in the cast and crew, are thrilled to be making such an illustrious debut, first at The Old Globe and then on Broadway. It is a true collaboration of two worlds, of two cultures, as equals. We are celebrating love, inclusivity and equality through every moment of this show, and we know that everyone who watches it will feel that way too.”
They further add, “There are 18 original, brand new English songs including our personal favourite ‘Love in Every Colour’ that is representative of the world that we aspire to live in, a world that celebrates diversity unabashedly. We hope to spread love and joy through our show, and to touch the hearts of everyone who loves a truly joyous Broadway musical.”
Playing Simran in this reimagined adaptation is acclaimed artiste Shoba Narayan. She says, “I am thrilled to be bringing this classic love story Come Fall in Love, to Broadway and to be playing the iconic lead role of Simran. The fact that we have an Indian musical headed to Broadway feels incredibly personal and monumental to me as an Indian American actor who grew up loving Bollywood films and musical theatre. It was only a matter of time before Broadway and Bollywood found each other and I am over the moon to be leading this exceptional production.“
She adds, “Come Fall in Love tells a beautiful story of uniting people from different walks of life. Given the toxic narrative of division that has been running in our world today, Come Fall in Love is a heartfelt and relevant show that explores the importance of inclusivity and learning about a world beyond our own. As I look around our rehearsal room, I see members of every department, from East to West, pouring their full selves into this piece, and striving to authentically represent the world we are portraying.”
Austin Colby plays an American boy Roger, who falls in love with Simran, in Aditya Chopra’s Broadway musical adaptation of DDLJ. He says, “After watching DDLJ, I was filled with joy, peering through a window into the rich world of Indian culture. It is overwhelming to fully process DDLJ’s impact on both Indian and global audiences, touching hearts and changing lives. What an honor for me to be a part of bringing Come Fall In Love to the American theater audience and entrusted with this responsibility by the original director, Aditya Chopra. Hearing him talk about his vision for this musical is inspiring and something I truly believe in.”
He adds, “That being said, I’m aware what my involvement in this production means to many people and I completely understand it’s impact. I’m not the Raj that Shah Rukh Khan made us fall in love with, nor will I ever pretend to be. I am excited to fulfill the creative team’s vision for this role and I truly believe in the story and how we are telling it. I hope audiences will trust Adi and the team’s original vision for Come Fall In Love coming to Broadway and love this piece as much as we do.”
Nell Benjamin of stellar Broadway shows like Legally Blonde, Mean Girls fame is in charge of Book and Lyrics. She says, “I am so proud to be part of this stellar team of Indian, American and Indian-American artists bringing this beautiful love story to the stage. I fell in love with Simran and Raj in the original movie, and in Adi’s vision of this stage show, their love story represents two cultures coming together and finding understanding … And this is exactly what we’re trying to do in the rehearsal room: learn from each other how to celebrate India and America in a joyful and inclusive way.”
Choreographer Rob Ashford of Disney’s Frozen The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Boys from Syracuse fame says, “What excited me about ‘Come Fall In Love’ was the joining of two cultures and two iconic forms of entertainment: Bollywood and Broadway. It’s a particularly relevant musical for today that helps illuminate the beauty of diversity. From our casting of Roger and Simran to our creative team, we’re celebrating the union of artists from opposite ends of the world. ‘Come Fall In Love’ has become a pairing of artistic worlds and an exchange of Ideas, traditions, and processes. That’s the most exciting part of this project. We want to celebrate love in every color and invite the world to celebrate along with us.”
Aditya Chopra directs a cast of 30, which includes Shoba Narayan as Simran (Broadway’s Disney’s Aladdin as Princess Jasmine), Austin Colby as Rog Mandel (North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen the Musical as Hans, Off-Broadway’s Jersey Boys as Bob Gaudio), Irvine Iqbal as Baldev (West End’s Disney’s Aladdin as The Sultan), Rupal Pujara as Lajjo (Walnut Street Theatre’s In the Heights), Vishal Vaidya as Ajit (Encore’s Road Show), Siddharth Menon as Kuljt (India’s Disney’s Aladdin as Aladdin), ), Kate Loprest as Emily “Minky” Soulard (Broadway’s First Date, Hairspray), Juice Mackins as Ben (Broadway’s The Prom), Hannah Jewel Kohn as Cookie (North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen The Musical), Jeremy Kushnier as Roger Mandel, Sr. (Broadway’s Footloose as Ren McCormack, Rent as Roger Davis), Amita Batra as Ensemble (Amit Patel & Ishika Seth’s Unearthed: Untold Stories of the Ramayana), Neha Dharmapuram as Ensemble (M.S. in Marketing Intelligence from Fordham University), Tiffany Engen as Ensemble (Broadway’s Legally Blonde), Rohit Gijare as Ensemble (Bollywood Blvd at Lincoln Center), Marc A. Heitzman as Ensemble (Broadway’s Bandstand), Usman Ali Ishaq as Ensemble (Signature Theatre’s RENT), Nika Lindsay as Ensemble (North American Tour of Disney’s Frozen The Musical), Ilda Mason as Ensemble (West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg), Caleb Mathura as Ensemble (Jesus Christ Superstar at Timber Lake Playhouse), Meher Mistry as Ensemble (India’s Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as Belle), Shannon Mullen as Ensemble (Broadway’s A Bronx Tale), Shahil Patel as Ensemble (Off-Broadway’s Fairycakes), Zain Patel as Ensemble (La Jolla Playhouse’s Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical), Becca Petersen as Ensemble (Broadway’s Mean Girls), Kinshuk Sen as Ensemble (Much Ado About Nothing at UCLA’s Shakespeare Theater Company), Jack Sippel as Ensemble (Broadway’s The Prom), Michael Starr as Ensemble (First National Tour of Bright Star), Geatali Tampy as Ensemble (Bollywood Blvd at Lincoln Center), and Sonya Venugopal as Ensemble (Musical Theatreworks’ Evita.
In addition to Aditya, Ashford, Benjamin, Dadlani & Ravjiani, the Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical creative team includes set design by Emmy and Tony Award winner Derek McLane (MJ The Musical, Moulin Rouge!, Hairspray Live!), costume design by Tony Award winner Linda Cho (A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder), lighting design by five-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Wiedeman (Dear Evan Hansen, The Visit), sound design by Tony Award winner Jessica Paz (Hadestown), projection design by Akhila Krishhnan (National Theatre’s Our Generation), music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by David Holcenberg (MJ The Musical, Matilda The Musical), music direction by Ted Arthur (Broadway’s Diana), associate director, Stephen Sposito (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon, Wicked), associate choreographer Shruti Merchant (Dhoom 1, 2 and 3), casting is by Duncan Stewart of Stewart/Whitley casting (Hadestown, Chicago The Musical) and Yash Raj Films casting head Shanoo Sharma (Ek Tha Tiger, Gunday, Fan), and production stage manager Anjee Nero (Almost Famous, The Heart of Rock & Roll).
For The Old Globe run, the musical begins performances September 1 through October 16, 2022, with the official Opening on Wednesday, September 14.