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‘Life of Pi’ Roars to Life On The Broadway Stage

The critically acclaimed bestselling book and box office hit movie Life of Pi is seeing a third resurgence with its adaptation to the Broadway stage, premiering on March 30th at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Life of Pi, originally written by Yann Martel, is a story of spirituality, metaphysics, and hope.  The book’s protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, is thrust into a world of adventure and chaos when a cargo shipwreck leaves him stranded on a lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger.  For 227 days, they remain stranded; and encounter obstacles (both mentally and physically) as well as providence and eventual rescue. 

Lolita Chakrabarti, an accomplished English actress, writer, and producer, has taken on the tall task of bringing the story to the Broadway stage with a vigor that carried her past any apprehensions until the initial previews.  

In an interview with Broadway Direct’s Frank Dilella, when asked if she had any trepidations about adapting the book to the stage (which was once also seen as a near impossible to bring to the film prior to the 2012 Ang Lee adaptation), Lolita had this to say:

“Foolishly, no. [Laughs.] I loved the book, so I thought I could do that. The main question everyone asked was, How are you going to do the tiger? And I just thought, ‘We’re going to do it.’ Then the first preview in Sheffield [Theatres, in England] happened; just before the preview, I remember feeling fearful, and it suddenly dropped, and I thought, ‘What was I thinking?’ So my reaction was a bit delayed.”

The theatrical adaptation is quite a daunting task and demands every bit of effort and skill to bring the story to life.  Besides the superb acting (with the return of 2022’s Olivier Award-winning actor Hiran Abeysekera as Pi) and elaborate set, the tiger is a work of impressive puppetry prowess, requiring a team (with Fred Davis and Scarlet Wilderink returning to their roles within the puppetry team, after winning Olivier awards for their work in the Sheffield adaptation).  

Audiences will be able to attend preview performances from the 9th until the 30th.


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