Manu Narayan is yet another performer on the rise performing in every genre: theatre, film, music, and television. Manu earned a Drama League Nomination for originating the role of "hero" "Akaash" in A.R. Rahman's musical "Bombay Dreams" on Broadway and went to perform at Second Stage Theatre in "subUrbia," at The Public Theatre in "Fucking A," at the Kennedy Center in their revival of "The Lisbon Traviata" and he played the title role of "Cyrano de Bergerac" at Baltimore Center Stage.
On the big screen, Manu co-starred in Mike Meyers' Paramont Pictures comedy "The Love Guru," in Reliance Pictures romantic comedy "Walkaway," "the independent film "Good Night/Good Morning" and has appeared in "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," "The Last Air Bender," and the AMC TV Series "Rubicon." He will next be seen in the upcoming Warner Brothers comedy "A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song" and CBS' "Unforgettable."
As a singer/saxophonist, Manu has performed in concert for many distinguished dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family, former President George W. Bush, and Senator Hillary Clinton. Manu added some ethnic vocals to "Caravan" on Gregory Generet's jazz album "ReGENERAT-ion" and has a few tracks on SoundBrush records' Klezmer concept album "A Night In The Old Marketplace" by Frank London (founder of the Grammy Award Winning Klezmatics). When Manu is not pursuing solo work, he can be found performing with his band D A R U N A M with Radovan Jovicevic (founding member of Yugoslavia's Grupa Zana), bringing together rhythms and melodies from three homelands: America, India, and Serbia. Their newest album of Electronic Lounge/World Music with Canadian Clarinetist Milan Milosevic is entitled "The Last Angel On Earth."
Manu will next be seen in the 2011 NYC Interational Fringe Festival from August 13-25 at The Ellen "Yeast Nation." From the Tony Award Winning team that brought you "Urinetown," "Yeast Nation" will also stars Tony Award Winner Harriet Harris along with Erik Atlemus, Jennifer Blood, Rheaume Crenshaw, Rick Crom (original "Cast-Tiny Tom" in "Urinetown" and currently composer/lyricist of 3-time Drama Desk Nominee "NEWSical the Musical: Full Spin Ahead"), Nick Gaswirth, Kimiko Glenn, Douglas Goodheart, Antwayn Hopper, Lauren Lebowitz, George McDaniel, Charlie Plummer, Joy Suprano, and Emily Tarpey.
According to press notes, "Yeast Nation" takes us back to back to the year 3,000,458,000 B.C., when the world’s first salt-eating yeasts float in the brine of the primordial sea. The yeasts’ aging and tyrannical king is unwilling to confront the depletion of their saline food supply. But when the king’s son dares to venture where no yeast has ventured before, the course of existence is changed…forever!
"Yeast Nation" will play The Ellen Stewart Theater at La Mama in NYC (66 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and The Bowery) from August 13-25. For tickets, click on the date of the show you want to go see it. Sat, Aug 13 @ 8pm, Thurs, Aug 18 @ 5:15pm, Sun, Aug 21 @ 2:15pm, Mon Aug 22 @ 8:15pm, and Thurs, Aug 25 @ 2pm.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I always was into performing, but really my parents were instrumental in encouraging me.
2. Who is the one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? George Wolfe or Foo Fighters.
3. What attracted you to "Yeast Nation" and what excites you most about performing in the NYC International Fringe Festival? I love the by the seat of your pants aspect of the Fringe. Greg and Mark have written a musical that has these weird yeasts beginning to discover individual human-esque qualities for the first time. In the world of Yeast Nation all the Yeasts live in an "on the brink of destruction....in a by the seat of their pants way.."(my quote) so the Fringe is perfect.
4. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing "Yeast Nation?" That Greg, Mark and this entire team are extremely TALENTED M#therF#CKERS whose work should be seen FREQUENTLY...
5. What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show and where is your favorite place to rehearse/practice on your own? The best part of the rehearsal period and show is when the audience appears for the first time. In live theater especially in a comedy they are the third scene partner and inform a lot of how we onstage Give the show its Rhythm. Favorite place to rehearse....in the Shower.
6. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer? That I am one who likes to be a vocal part and helpful of the rehearsal process.....and that I love the audience.
7. Favorite way to stay in shape? hahaha...UM
8. Boxers or Briefs? Neither.
10. "Glinda" or "Elphaba"? CHAZ BONO.
11. What's the best advice you've ever received? Keep as many of your talents in the best shape that they can be in (ie singing, or playing an instrument, or dancing, or website designing, or composing, or typing, writitng etc...), you never know how you can make money....and stay happy.
12. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Gwen Stefani.
13. What was your favorite part about performing in "Bombay Dreams" and what did it mean to you to have that show as your Broadway debut? "Bombay Dreams" was a cultural and historical event for Broadway, the South Asian communities in the west, and the entire USA. I am very proud to have been a part of that show. It was part of the early wave of introducing Bollywood and a host of other South Asian cultures to the US. When we opened, the majority of people here didn't know what Bollywood meant. Also, South Asians as a whole did not normally go to live theater and still to this day they usually go to the Cinema. "Bombay Dreams" was instrumental in changing both of those things. It was my Broadway debut and like my fellow Broadway Actors it was a dream come true but, the cultural component was what was really a once in a lifetime experience for me. For the first time that I know of in the history of Broadway, I and other South Asians were the leads of a huge musical. We had an Indian composer AR. RAHMAN widely known in the East but not known here; He has since gone on to change that by winning OSCARS for Slum Dog Millionaire. Finally, because of the cultural component being something fairly new to the masses of Americans, I and the rest of our cast became proud ambassadors for South Asians to start to come to Broadway and their cultures to be better understood on Main Street, USA.
14. What do you get from performing with your band D A R U N A M that you don't get from performing in a theatrical show? The BAND is a joy to work with as it is a way for me to be creative- write lyrics and be able to be co - responsible for an entire album, or performance much like the director or producer in theater.