WET WET WET

Category: Phantom of the Opera News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: May 5, 2004 | Publication: Broadway.com | Author: Paul Wontorek
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I don't really know what to say about Bombay Dreams, but here's something I do know: I'm in shock that they cut out the best song from London--Akaash's joyful “I Want”-number “Like An Eagle.” I'm all for trimming out ridiculous subplots and translating lines from Hindi to English, but how the hell do you decide to cut my favorite track from the Brit cast album? I want answers, people!

Trying to keep things positive, I didn't broach the subject when I interviewed the cast and creators at the show's appropriately over-the-top party at the multi-level Spirit in Chelsea. But I did ask each and every person if they've taken a ride on the “Shakalaka Baby” fountain that shoots a spray of water up to the flies and then back down on glam star Ayesha Dharker and her back-up dancers. (I haven't wanted to jump up and be a part of a Broadway number so badly since the “Devil Went Down to Georgia” bull-riding competition in Urban Cowboy!)

“The fountain?!” said Thomas Meehan, who supplied the “Americanized” book for the show. “Not yet. I haven't Shakalaka'd yet!” Wait a minute. Is that even a verb? “It just became one,” he chirped. (See what you can get away with after writing smash hits like Hairspray and The Producers?) Meehan thinks that the wet sari number is by far the event of the Broadway season: “A 10-minute number where everyone just gets soaking wet? It's both charming and ludicrous at the same time!”

Although composer A.R. Rahman and cooking-turned-Broadway star Madhur Jaffrey both shrugged off the notion of jumping in what they assumed was cold water (“Not at my age,” said Jaffrey. “Let the youngsters get wet!”), Dharker revealed that the temperature is closer to a relaxing bath. “It's warm!” she cooed. “I didn't expect it to be sort of comfortable, but it's wonderful, especially over the past few days when it's been hot outside. We just all jump in and its fabulous!”

Fabulous or not, Bombay Dreams co-conceiver Andrew Lloyd Webber will definitely not be showing up in a bathing suit at the Broadway Theatre. “I think I've been in enough fountains at various times in my life,” he laughed. Besides, who's got the time? Not only is Lloyd Webber preparing for the September bow of his new West End musical The Woman in White, he's also laying down the final music tracks for the Christmas film version of The Phantom of the Opera, starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum and Broadway's very own Patrick Wilson.

“I showed 10 minutes of it in Hollywood two days ago,” Lloyd Webber said of Phantom. “Everybody seems pretty pleased with it.” This phan was dying to know about the music for the film--is there a new song that will be eligible for next year's Academy Awards? “There are three new pieces of music,” he revealed. “And one entirely new song.” Lloyd Webber went on to explain that in the film they've added a sequence in which we learn more about back story of the Phantom--where he came from and what happened to him (The original Gaston Leroux novel has him born deformed.) “At the end of the sequence, he sings a song about his emptiness and loneliness and that he's been rejected from the moment he was a child,” Lloyd Webber added.

And might this classic-to-be have a name? “I'm not going to tell you,” he teased. “Actually it's called ‘No One Would Listen.' I'm quite pleased with it!” Start engraving that Oscar, Hollywood!