‘Bhangin’ It’ is a colorful, refreshing, uplifting and culturally diverse new musical that just ended its run at the La Jolla Playhouse
Many of you know how much I adore musical theater, so when the La Jolla Playhouse invited me to head down to San Diego to see their fun, uplifting new production called Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical I jumped at the chance! In case you didn’t know, the La Jolla Playhouse is known for producing exciting, high caliber, original shows that often end-up on Broadway, so having the opportunity to see one of these amazing shows before they hit the big time is such a treat for a theater geek like me!
Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical is a fun, vibrant, culturally diverse musical that introduces the audience to the colorful world of collegiate Bhangra Dance competition which is a form of Indian dance. This upbeat, joyful production grabs your attention right from the start with it’s impressive intricate dance moves and colorful costumes that reminded very much of Bollywood style dancing and I loved it!
This story centers around Mary, a young Indian college woman who gets kicked off the superstar Bhangra dance team, so she decides to form a new team with enthusiastic but inexperienced Bhangra dancers who are more interested in having fun than being the best. Throughout the play, we follow Mary’s journey and frustrations with training the new team, missing the old team and mostly about her own cultural journey about being an Indian woman in America and where she fits in.
This show was a fun ride! The high energy dancing, the fabulous colorful costumes and catchy memorable songs lifted your spirits and made you smile. I loved that this play highlighted both Indian culture and dance, and I found it totally refreshing to step inside this beautiful culture and learn about a dance style that I knew very little about. This show was bold, energetic, vibrant and infectious and I found myself laughing, grooving, tapping my feet and just feeling inpsired and happy while I watched it.
I also really enjoyed the substance of the story beneath the color and flash of the show that allowed the audience to ponder right along with Mary: “Am I Indian enough?” to fit in with my people/culture. Personally being a Jewish woman, thoughts like this have entered my mind before because I am a reform/liberal Jew, and I often wondered if the more religious sects of my religion would accept me or even consider me Jewish. So this overarching theme was relatable and thought provoking!
One more thing that I wanted to mention about this musical is that the cast was incredibly talented and delightfully portrayed by mostly Indian actors and I loved that! The actress portraying Mary had a gorgeous singing voice and the rest of the cast’s singing and dancing talent was Broadway caliber in my opinion.
Unfortunately, I saw one of the last productions of Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical at the La Jolla Playhouse and the final performance took place this past weekend. However, given the track record of the La Jolla Playhouse’s high caliber original productions, their 2022/2023 season looks incredible! Up next from June 14 – July 24, 2022 is Lempicka, a politically charged musical with a pop-infused score that centers around a female artist who flees from her country during the Russian Revolution and tries to make a name for herself in Parisian high society and I can’t wait to see it!