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Gandhi Goes (A Little Bit) 'Hamilton' In B Street Theater’s New Performance

Rudy Meyers Photography / Courtesy

Pictured left to right: Olivia Abiassi, Brinda Dixit, Mehul Galati and Danish Farooqui in B Street Theater's production of "Gandhi!"

Rudy Meyers Photography / Courtesy

The B Street Theater Family Series is staging its first production on its larger stage: a musical that introduces the nonviolent ideals of Gandhi to kids. It’s a show that grown-ups will enjoy the show as well, even if they come on their own.

As you would expect, the B Street Theater’s production of "Gandhi!" transports you to India in the 1940s, where Mohandas Gandhi has returned to his homeland to help his people to cast off British colonial rule.

This show borrows a page — or two — from the Broadway musical "Hamilton," portraying history to a hip-hop beat. But we also get dramatic scenes in which Gandhi faces the challenge of asking millions of ordinary people to use peaceful disobedience to defy the British military.

The story alternates between the past and modern day, with a subplot set in a contemporary American high school. An Indian-American kid is being bullied by bigoted white kid. Scuffles ensue. Then, the high school principal orders the Indian-American boy to study Gandhi’s autobiography, and things moves forward from there.

This B Street Family Series production is designed to whet the appetite of today’s teens and tweens, many of whom have probably heard of Gandhi, but may be thinking about his revolutionary tactics for the first time. Writer-director Lyndsay Burch and composer Noah Agruss have also collaborated to create a production that shows off the B Street’s spiffy new 380-seat venue, with a modern sound system and lighting, plus a stage spacious enough to handle dance numbers and crowd scenes. 

"Gandhi!" is a show that’s fun to watch, and has some dramatic heft on its bones, without sacrificing any of the kid appeal.

The B Street Theater’s "Gandhi!continues with matinees on Saturday and Sunday through March 11.

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