CHICAGO—The visionary behind Chicago’s beloved Atelier AZZA line Azeeza Khan, is bringing her high-fashion approach to the stage of original world musical “SitaRam” this December. The show is set to launch with a red carpet opening night at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph Drive, on December 14, and Khan is behind the conceptualization and costume design for nearly 200 cast members.
“Designers wait years for a project of this nature to come along,” Khan said. “To get commissioned into a dream project after only a year of launching the Atelier AZZA line is extremely exciting and humbling.”
Khan became involved with “SitaRam” after meeting Chicago Children’s Choir Director Josephine Lee at a gala, where Lee commissioned Khan to update the Choir’s costumes. Soon after, Lee asked Khan if she would be interested in bringing her South Asian-inspired couture talent to the set of “SitaRam.”
Directed by Lee, Lookingglass Theatre’s David Kersnar and the Natya Dance Theatre’s Krithika Rajagopalan, “SitaRam” is a modern interpretation of the ancient Hindu epic and sacred love story, “Ramayana.” The stories embedded in the musical are conveyed mainly through interpretive art, and Khan uses a variety of fabrics and colors to portray the characters and their traits symbolically.
“The process started with me understanding the intent behind each scene,” Khan said. “I would then sketch out what I wanted each look to depict on my mood board.”
The costumes designed for the show’s heroine, Sita, most closely resemble the Atelier AZZA aesthetic—flowing chiffon, silk tulle skirts, and soft colors convey her feminine, romantic nature. For the show’s hero, Rama, Khan used an array of bright colors and rich fabrics to depict his youthfulness and royalty. Ravana, the ten-headed demon king who kidnaps Sita, wears leather pants and a structured blazer that convey confidence mixed with his dark edge.
“The audience can expect to see the rich, vibrant colors and intricate embellishments that the Atelier AZZA label is known for,” Khan said. “The AZZA aesthetic really shines through on stage.”
Though Khan describes her work as a “dream project,” the process is not without its challenges. The cast includes twelve main actors and actresses, 110 singers, 32 dancers and 23 acrobats, and time between scene changes is limited.
“We have only about 30 seconds for each costume change,” Khan said. “Making adjustments for all the bodies and movement on stage can be tedious.”
Ultimately, the hard work is worth it. “We’re bringing a high fashion approach to the theater that will really engage the audience,” Khan said.
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
200 East Randolph Street,
7:30PM *VIP Night
Tickets: $15- ‐$65
[VIP Ticket Includes VIP seating, a pre- ‐performance cocktail reception, post- ‐performance transportation to private party at Embeya with food, drinks and the cast.]
Originally written for the Chicago Children’s Choir and performed at the Lookingglass Theatre in 2006, the “SitaRam” musical reflects the rich diversity of culture in Chicago and the world. Directed by David Kersnar of Lookingglass Theatre Company, Josephine Lee of Chicago Children’s Choir and Krithika Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre the show will take place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance on December 14-15, 2012. Based on the ancient Hindu epic, “Ramayana,” the production fuses the past, present and future through song and dance. The family-friendly performance includes the vocal talents of the Chicago Children’s Choir, dancing from Natya Dance Theatre Company and acrobatics from the Inappropriate Theater Company. For more information, visit: www.sitaramthemusical.com.