Decades after Hollywood musicals peaked in popularity, the same style of entertainment persists in India where film musicals featuring elaborately choreographed song and dance numbers remain all the rage. Like old musicals, “Bollywood” performers often sing to a prerecorded track sung by someone else. But whereas say, Audrey Hepburn got the credit for singing “My Fair Lady” when in fact soprano Marni Nixon did her singing (Nixon also dubbed for Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” and Deborah Kerr in “The King and I,” among others), in India the singers who prerecord the tracks are the true stars, and even bigger than them are the composers who write the songs. In that regard, superstar composer A.R. Rahman has no equal, selling as he has nearly 200 million albums and having scored more than seventy films that have been seen and heard by more than a billion and a half people. Rahman will make his Midwest debut in a one-night-only spectacular show direct from India with an ensemble of forty-five musicians, twelve singers and twenty dancers complete with a laser and 3-D light show as well as pyrotechnics in what its producers are warning is a show “not for the faint of heart.” Rahman fuses folk music from India, China and Turkey as well as Western pop, jazz, Broadway and classical music with an enormous gift for melody and this extravaganza is for his hard core fans as well as those new to Rahman’s remarkable music and will feature many of his classic hits from Bollywood as well as staged excerpts from his stage musicals “Bombay Dreams” and even his current West End musical setting of “Lord of the Rings.” (Dennis Polkow)
Sears Centre, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, (888)732-7784. Sat 8pm. $40-$155.