Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or


September 10, 2010
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.




Friday, Oct. 22, 2010 at 8 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 10, 2010 – Called “the most exhilarating musical seen this year,” by Britain’s Manchester Evening News, “The Merchants of Bollywood” is a non-stop whirl of color, music and dance. A sensation in Europe and Australia, this runaway hit is loosely based on the story of the Merchant family, renowned choreographers from the golden age of Indian cinema. A clash between the generations ensues when a young woman breaks free of family tradition to create her own voice, finding love, heartbreak and independence along the way. “The Merchants of Bollywood” comes to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. This performance is family friendly and tickets are half price for youth through grade 12 when accompanied by an adult. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts. HSBC is the sponsor for the Global View series.

The story begins in the temple of Shiva in the deserts of Rajasthan in India. Responsible for upholding the ancient dance traditions of his culture, Shantilal, the patriarch of the Merchant family, began his own traditional folk dancing school in the desert after years as a famed choreographer in India’s great film industry, Bollywood. His granddaughter Ayesha leaves home against his wishes to become the reigning queen of choreography of Bollywood. While her grandfather believes that film should be a method to heal strife and change lives for the better, Ayesha feels that it should help people escape – and therein lies the conflict. The damage among the relatives seems irreparable until Ayesha returns to make peace with her grandfather at the end of his life. This inspiring family musical and touching tale of reconciliation is filled with an exhilarating mixture of Western and Indian dance, scores of glittery costumes and jewelry and non-stop, high-octane music. “One can’t get enough of this artistic, spectacular pageantry.” (Germany’s Berliner Morgenpost)

“The appeal of this production is its ‘authenticity,’” said producer Mark Brady, who credited the Academy Award-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” for the recent popularity of Bollywood among North American audiences when interviewed for an article in The New York Times. “The show has been created in the heart of Bollywood by a creative team consisting of the most credible minds working in the Hindi Film Industry today.” The team consists of the acclaimed choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant (on whom Ayesha is loosely based), writer and director Toby Gough, music composers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant (who are of no relation to Vaibhavi Merchant) and actors and dancers from recent Bollywood hits.

HSBC is the sponsor for the Global View series. 


Tickets for THE MERCHANTS OF BOLLYWOOD are $48, $40, $24. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12, half price when accompanied by an adult. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.