his Indian-born mother Anya and his great-uncle Chachaji, a new immigrant, share a home in Queens,
NY and wonderful stories over
Tea with Chachaji, ten-year-old tea. Hindu myths and family history, the colorful dance and
melodic music of India unite these three generations. As Neel grows older and busier, so
grows the distance between Indian traditions and American life; the old worldviews of Chachaji
teenage interests of Neel.
Though family teatime is fading away, Chachaji still drinks everyday from his beloved teacup,
a precious heirloom salvaged during his migration from Pakistan to India after the Partition of
1947. When this symbol of survival and family history is carelessly broken by Neel, the
early teen must repair the cup and his relationship with his great-uncle. In doing so, he
learns to value his family and his
Check out what they've said about the production:
Gwynne Watkins ( Book & Lyrics) is a playwright and lyricist.
Her previous work for children includes the original musical Space Pirates! (Garden Players, Forest
Hills NY), the three-play series In Between Worlds (Little Theater, Ridgewood NJ), and Wow! What
Does That Mean?, an original Christmas pageant for Sunday schools. Gwynne is an alumnus of the BMI
Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a member of the Dramatists Guild. A professional editor and
writer, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and one-year-old son.
Denver Casado ( Music) is the composer of two full-length musicals
( Life on the Mississippi, Just Like That) and five children's musicals ( America's Top
Ensemble, Behind the Scenes, Space Pirates!, Musicville, The Big Leap) all
of which have had performances in New York. Life on the Mississippi, based on the Mark Twain
novel, will be produced in 2010 at the Coterie Theatre in Kansas City and at the American Folklore Theatre
in Wisconsin. His work has been featured at the Goodspeed Opera House, the York Theatre, the Flea
Theatre and Symphony Space. Denver is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, holds a degree
in Music Technology and Composition from NYU and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. He currently
lives in the East Village and writes music freelance for TV commercials.
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj ( Director and Choreographer) is the Artistic Director
of Rebel Theater. Regional credits: Syracuse Stage ( Godspell and Putting It Together with Tony
Award recipient Lillias White and Chuck Cooper), Freedom Theatre ( Walk Through Time by Lynn Nottage –
world premiere), Actors Theatre of Louisville ( Nightswim and Classy-ass), St. Louis Black Rep ( Damn
Yankees), Arkansas Repertory Theatre ( Dreamgirls, Intimate Apparel, Little Rock),
Crossroads Theatre ( History of the Word, The Colored Museum), Alabama Shakespeare Festival
( Sanctified), Prince Musical Theatre ( From the Hip), Theatre of the Stars ( Dreamgirls, Tony
Award recipient Jennifer Holiday), The Goodman Theatre ( The Black Nativity) and Portland Stage Company
( Master Harold... and the boys). New York City credits: The Public Theater ( 365 Days, Memphis
Minnie workshop), Classical Theatre of Harlem ( Marat Sade), Lark Play Development Center ( Man Measures
Man, Breathe), New Federal Theatre ( Diss Diss & Diss Dot), Rebel Theatre ( Ghosts, world
premiere adaptation), Making Books Sing ( Band of Angels, A Shelter in Our Car, Tea with Chachaji),
Amas Musical Theatre ( Bubbling Brown Sugar, Damn Yankees, Mamma I Want to Sing, Magpie) and
HERE ( The Little Playhouse). He has held artistic residencies with The Public Theater, Freedom Theatre,
Alliance Theatre, Kennedy Center, Crossroads Theatre, Lark Play Development Center, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and Amas
Musical Theatre. Written work: Little Rock, Mississippi Night, Diss Diss & Diss Dot,
Twenty-Five, Gray, Children of the Dream and BlackfootNotes.
Uma Krishnaswami ( AUTHOR, Chachaji's Cup) was born in India and now lives and
writes in northwest New Mexico. She is the author of a dozen books for young readers. Among them are picture
books, including Chachaji's Cup and Monsoon, early readers ( Yoga Class, Holi), and a middle grade
novel, Naming Maya. She is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA progran in Writing
for Children and Young Adults. In addition, she is an eloquent voice for diversity in children's
literature. Aline Pereira of PaperTigers describes as remarkable Uma's "commitment to good books for children
and young adults related to South Asia and the South Asian diasporas and to promoting understanding within and
Soumya Sitarman ( ILLUSTRATOR, Chachaji's Cup) developed her unique style in
California, and works primarily in oil paint, mixed media, and installations. Her work reflects elements of
Shivite artistry and nature. She lives and works in Bangalore, India.
Raja Burrows ( Neel) is thrilled to be making his New York City premiere with Making
Books Sing! A recent graduate from Northwestern University, he performed in several operas and musicals, including
Jesus Christ Superstar and Dialogues of the Carmelites. He currently studies with Mark Oswald.
Stephanie Klemons ( Amma) was raised in Colts Neck, NJ and graduated from Rutgers
University with a B.A. in Modern Dance and a B.A. in Genetics and Microbio Research. She appeared in the 1st
National Tour of Bombay Dreams. Since then she has been with In The Heights, first off-Broadway
winning a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. Her journey continued to Broadway where she is
currently serving as Co-Dance Captain and understudy for Carla. She has appeared as a featured dancer in a
number of Bollywood hits, most notably, Jaaneman where she is featured in the film's trailer! She
is excited to be making books sing with this production of talented and driven creative individuals.
Stephanie is also proud to announce the recent creation of Katie's Art Project, a not-for-profit organization
bringing art to kids in children's cancer wards. Please visit www.KatiesArtProject.org to learn more.
Tony Mirrcandani ( Chachaji) After 8 years in Bollywood, where Tony acted in
block-busters like Gadar, Koi Mil Gaya, Virasat, Market and countless TV series, and two
years touring the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand with the musical Merchants of Bollywood, Tony decided to
re-locate to New York in 2007. Here, he has been doing theater, feature films ( Today's Special,
When Harry Tries to Marry) and television (a re-enactment for America's Most Wanted). In March 2010,
he begins work on his next play, Northern Stage's production of Damascus, which will run in White River,
Vermont. Tony loves the boundless energy of this fabulous city and is grateful for the many opportunities
New York and its people have given him.
Soneela Nankani ( Anya) is absolutely thrilled to be working with the incredible
Chachaji family! Selected credits include: Theatre - Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe (Classical Theatre of
Harlem, with Andre De Shields); The Clay Cart, Comedy of Errors (Oregon Shakespeare Festival);
Midsummer Night's Dream (Classic Stage Company); Ovid's Metamorphoses (Riverside Theatre); Happy
Days, The Cherry Orchard (Schapiro Theatre); Seven Great Loves (Sojourn Theatre). TV - As the
World Turns, Child Brides. Film - The Invisibles, Poonam Banarjee,
Nic and Marisa. Webseries: May "be" New York. MFA Acting, Columbia University.
Thank you to Walker, Gobind, Meena and Helen for your love and support, www.soneela.com
José Sepulveda ( Daniel) is so excited to be joining the cast of Tea with
Chachaji after going around the country and to Canada as Juan in the National Tour of Altar Boyz. He
just graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Musical Theatre where he was in Rent, Tommy,
and Carousel. Favorite credits include Finch in How To Succeed..., Ritchie Valens in Buddy,
and Mark in A Chorus Line (Wagon Wheel Theatre, IN). He wants to dedicate this show to his family in
Puerto Rico because we all need to be reminded of how much where we came from is a part of who we are. So much
love to Mami, Papi, Yari, Nelsito, all his family and friends, Pete and Jed at The Talent House, and the creative
and production team for this amazing opportunity. Marriage Equality Now!
Elis Arroyo ( Production Stage Manager) has been in theatre for close to 20
years. Tea with Chachaji marks his second production with Making Books Sing. Elis has toured
nationally and internationally. Off Broadway credits include Celia The Musical, various productions at Pan
Asian Repertory Theatre, Irish Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Ballet Tech, and Pascal Rioult Dance
Company, to name a few.
Leslie Bernstein ( Costume Design) Selected Theatre—Off-Broadway:
Brothers Booth (World Premiere, Samuel Beckett Theatre); Bad Girls (NYC Premiere), Love In The Age Of
Narcissism (The Directors Company); Hard Feelings (Women's Project); Women's Work (Phil Bosakowski
Theatre); The White Whore And The Bit Player (Theatre Row Theatre). Off-Off-Broadway: Ghosts (Rebel
Theatre Co., resident designer); King Of Clocks, Life's A Dream (Here Theatre); The Marathon
2002: Series A (NYC Premieres, Ensemble Studio Theatre); Six Available Men (NYC Premiere), The
First Course, The Beach Plays (HB Playwrights); Life Happens (NYC Premiere), Hedda
Gabler, The Big Knife, The Happy End, Hopscotch, Shooting Gallery,
Hot L Baltimore, Loot, An Ideal Husband, A Month In The Country (J. Schreiber
Studio). Regional/Opera: Godspell (Syracuse Stage); Intimate Apparel and Little Rock
(Arkansas Repertory Theatre); The Opposite of Sex (Regional Premiere, Magic Theatre, San Francisco CA);
History of The Word (Regional Premiere, Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick NJ); Italian American
Reconciliation (Emelin Theatre, Mamaroneck NY); Carmen, West Side Story, Guys & Dolls,
A Little Night Music, Abduction From The Seraglio, La Cenerentola, Romeo & Juliet,
and A Midsummer Nights Dream (Brevard Music Festival NC); The Sorcerer (Purchase NY PAC).
Feature Film: The Opponent (Lions Gate). Television: Assistant Costume Design for Law &
Order Original Series, All My Children, Guiding Light, and Dellaventura. Leslie is a
graduate of Purchase College.
Cory Einbinder ( Set & Media Design) is the Artistic Director of Adhesive Theater Project, now celebrating its 10th
year. Adhesive Theater Project is dedicated to collaborating with artists of all disciplines, particularly
those with a non-theatrical background. Cory's most recent set and video design credits include: The
Government Inspector; ; NOIR ; and I, Object! . He
received an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College and currently teaches stagecraft at
the New York City College of Technology, CUNY. In addition, Cory is a freelance director and fight
choreographer. Cory can't wait for his baby boy, Emmett, to be old enough to enjoy his first Making Books Sing
Douglas Cox ( Lighting Design) also designed José Limón: The Making
of an Artist, The Butterfly, A Shelter in Our Car, The Orphan Singer, A Band of Angels,
The Upside Down Boy and Bird Woman for Making Books Sing. Other recent credits include:
Off-Broadway productions of Fool for Love, Hiding Behind Comets and Bold Girls, (29th
Street Rep), Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare and Co.), Rigoletto (Baltimore Opera), Aida,
Macbeth and Othello (Syracuse Opera), II Campanello (Manhattan School of Music).
His work in television includes projects for ABC, CNN, MSNBC and NY1. He received an Emmy nomination for
his work on NBC's 2004 Election Night coverage and his work in architectural lighting design has received the
Bill Grady ( Sound Design) http://www.billgrady.net/
Tim Rosser ( Musical Direction) is thrilled to be returning to Making Books Sing for
his third year. He music directed Jose Limon: The Making of an Artist last year for Making
Books Sing. He currently music directs for The Water Coolers ( A Corporate Comedy Act). Singers he has
had the honor to accompany in performance include Lisa Brescia, Jenn Colella, Liz Larson, Andrea McArdle and Sarah
Uriarte-Berry. He had the pleasure of working with the music team of The Addams Family, a new
Broadway-bound musical, during rehearsals for its Chicago tryout this past fall. He is the accompanist for
the Blue Hill Troupe, a charitable Gilbert and Sullivan society in NYC. Tim is an alumnus of the BMI/Lehman
Engel musical theater writing workshop, and is writing a new musical with lyricist/librettist Charlie Sohne,
called The Profit of Creation.
Sarah Bird ( Prop Design) has been a prop person in New York for five years,
working mainly on Off-Broadway productions. She has designed for MBS's productions of The Butterfly and
Museum Trip. She is very excited to be working on Tea with Chachaji, and can't wait until the next
Making Books Sing show!
B.D. White ( Production Manager) Previous productions include:
Spain, Grace, Some Girl(s), Frozen, Fat Pig, Runt of the Litter, A Letter
from Ethel Kennedy, The Mysteries, The False Servant, Richard III, New Jerusalem, The
Mercy Seat, Scattergood, Intrigue With Faye, Bright Ideas, Sessions the Musical, The
Distance From Here, What of the Night, Colder Than Here, Nixon's Nixon, The Wooden
Breeks, Temporary Help, Cheat, Hard Feelings, The Strange Case of Mary Todd Lincoln,
Nuyorican Stories, St. Lucy's Eyes, Leaving Queens, Underneath the Lintel, Sophie
Tottie and Bell, Songs of Paradise, Buicks, and Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the
Koran. B.D. has toured with Jam on the Groove, the Hip-Hop Dance Musical, The Core Ensemble,
and the Elevator Repair Service production of Gatz. He is also the Production Director of the
London-based live art company, Lotos Collective.
Barbara Zinn Krieger ( Artistic Director & Founder of Making Books Sing) brings together her interests
as an entrepreneur, arts administrator, educator and librettist as Artistic Director of Making Books Sing. She
is the Founder and Chair Emerita of the major Off Broadway Vineyard Theatre, where she served as Executive Director
from 1981-2002. During her tenure, the Vineyard and its productions earned more than 40 awards, including two
Pulitzer Prizes and the Tony Award. In 1996, she launched Making Books Sing, for which she has written eight
librettos. Barbara holds an M.A. in Speech and Theater from Columbia University's Teacher's College and was a
drama teacher for over 20 years, and is a recipient of the Opera America Distinguished Service Award.
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Making Books Sing, Inc. is a Not-for-profit Organization.