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Coming soon on Broadway: A Bengal Tiger!

October 22, 2010 10:11 IST

You haven't really made it as a playwright, never mind how many awards you have won, unless you have arrived on Broadway, arguably the most colourful theater district in the world.

Playwright Rajiv Joseph may have a few months to wait before he opens champagne bottles but just last week, a big production company announced that his off-Broadway hit which has played across America, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, will surely arrive on Broadway in March. And it would be directed by one of the big names in American theater, Moises Kaufman.

Also of importance: Emmy, Oscar and Grammy Award-winning actor Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting, Mrs Doubtfire) will make his Broadway acting debut in the satire starring as the narrating jungle beast.

Joseph, son of an immigrant Indian father and American mother of French-German heritage, has written several plays including Animals Out of Paper with Indian and American characters.

The writer who is in his mid 30s says Bengal Tiger is a 'darkly comic tale narrated by a tiger held captive in the Baghdad Zoo.' According to the press notes, the ' play follows the intertwined lives of two American marines and one Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption and a toilet seat made of gold.'

With his professorial work at New York University, and workshops and productions of several of his plays across the country, Joseph indeed is one very busy writer.

Also on tap is a January off-Broadway (in a theater with less than 500 seats) is production of Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries about the scars in a 30-year friendship

Being of mixed race and of Indian descent has influenced his writing, he admits, 'but just as any part of one's identity can influence their creative work.'

His first play the serious comedy, Huck & Holden, which became a sleeper hit in a New York theater with just about 70 seats, is about an Indian college student who has just arrived in the States, and deal with an entirely different student culture. It was based largely on a story his father had told Rajiv about an experience he had when he first came to America.

Arthur J Pais in New York