The Surati Lights of Diwali Festival held on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Exchange Place in Jersey City and was sponsored by Carepoint Health, NJCU (New Jersey City University), BCB Community Bank, The Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, Jersey City Cultural Affairs, Sangita Dutta from New York Life, Buyrite Liquors and I2IFusion.
The highlight of the evening was Surati’s original version of the Ramayana Musical – Excerpts from “Ramaavan” – The Story of Ram and Ravan, inspired by the epic tale from India “Valmiki Ramayana” – an ancient literary work written by the sage Valmiki, consisted of over 26 cast and crew members and was conceptualized and directed by Rimli Roy, the founder and artistic director of Surati.
The Ramayana Musical was performed in English with both live and recorded music along with elements of Indian classical dance, song, musical theater, opera, jazz, Indian dance theater and fusion genres from around the world.
The script is written by Arati Roy and original music was given by Sumit Roy and Rajesh Roy along with Foluso Mimy and Tripp Dudley, the costumes and set was design by Rimli Roy and Arati Roy, the sound design was given by Bushwick Sounds and the lighting design was given by Matt Catron and Fight Choreographer: Miles Lobo
The cast included Kabir Bery as Ram; Kristin Guerin as Sita; James Hamrick as Laxman; Keith Anthony as Ravan; Rebecca Rapoport-Cole as Surpanakha; Manikantha Yaganamurthy as Hanuman; Paloma De Vega as a Jatayu and a dancer; Vidhya Dinesh as the Golden Deer; Reba Browne as a voice narrator and a dancer; Paulina Natasha Yeung as the Soul of Sita, an Opera Singer; Cinna Chandran as a danced narrator and a dancer; and Danish Farooqi, Abhishek Singhania, Shiva Prasad and Taral Almoula as Ravan’s warriors and dancers.
Other members who organized the event were Reba Browne, the creative director; Cinna Chandran, the assistant artistic director; Vidhya Dinesh, the assistant program director; Megha Sanghavi, the costume manager; Ankita Deshmukh, the administrative assistant and Karan Pande, the production assistant.