Farah Khan and Anthony Van Laast were today nominated for the most prestigious theatre awards in America, the Tony, for their work in the musical Bombay Dreams. Khan thus becomes the first Indian to be nominated for the award in its 58 year history.
The musical extravaganza, which returned empty from the Outer Critics Circle Awards, where it had four nominations, received two more Tony nominations, but music director A R Rahman was not one of them. Paul Bogaev received a nomination for his orchestration and Mark Thompson for costumes.
Wicked, which cost a few thousands of dollars more than the $14 million Bombay Dreams and went on to become a huge hit despite mixed to negative reviews, received 10 nominations, followed by seven for Assassins, and six each for Avenue Q; Caroline, or Change; Fiddler on the Roof; and Henry IV.
Bombay Dreams, which too received a load of negative reviews and a few good ones from the likes of the New York Daily News and Entertainment Weekly and mixed ones from the likes of Newsday, has been filling the 1,750 Broadway Theatre to about 70 per cent capacity. It has been earning about $200,000 each week above the weekly production cost of $500,000. "We are toughing it out," said associate producer Sudhir (Sam) Vaishnav. "The show should catch on. The audience reaction has been awesome."
The best original score nominations included the colossal flop Taboo that lost about $10 million of its entire investment. Many critics loved Boy George's music.
Though Rahman's compositions for Bombay Dreams received excellent notices from the likes of Newsday and the Daily News, and the influential trade publication Variety (not to forget the story in Time magazine where his music was compared to that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney), many critics were not too thrilled with the output.
It was a different scene in London two years ago. While Bombay Dreams got a spate of mixed to bad reviews there too, the praise for the music was quite strong, with one critic asserting that Rahman had ended the American composer's monopoly of the British stage.
The 58th Annual Tony Awards will be presented on June 6 at the Radio City Music Hall. The Boy From Oz's Hugh Jackman will return as host for the annual event.
The Boy From Oz was also panned by critics. But everyone was unanimous that Jackman, currently starring in the No 1 film in the country the monster hunting drama Van Helsing was brilliant as a doomed singer. Jackman was nominated for the best actor in a musical. It was among five nominations, including best musical, that the show received.