Director Jessica Kubzansky with Honorary Producers Andy and Joan Fimiano at the First Night of Orange.
On, Friday, March 10, 2017, the three-person cast of Orange by Aditi Brennan Kapil, earned cheers—and perhaps even a few tears—during the play’s touching and delightful journey discovery. Audience members kept pace with the off-kilter thrill ride through Orange County with Leela (a teen from India), Priti (Leela’s rebel O.C.-based cousin) and Gar (Priti’s boyfriend). Leela is a unique woman on the autism spectrum.
Kapil’ central character of Leela (portrayed beautifully by Pia Shah), and the host of other characters creatively brought to life by Anjali Bhimani and Karthik Srinivasan brought authenticity to the story. Two of the three actors spent time growing up in India and one, while O.C.-raised, is part of the county’s vibrant Indian community.
As the applause faded, the conversation kept going as the First Night celebration moved to Ela’s Terrace—resplendent with orange florals and citrus arrangements that popped against vibrant turquoise linens at the Cast Party on Ela’s Terrace at SCR. With a nod to O.C., the buffet stations were decorated with wooden surfboards and tall white lanterns.
Guests sampled Indian-inspired hor d’oeuvres such as curry chicken salad on endive leaf, with toasted almonds and scallion; and chive buckwheat blinis with ginger crème fraiche and orange caviar.
Two playfully named buffet bars (Priti and Gar’s Beach Buffet” and “Leela’s Snack Station”) had equally tasty offerings, such as grilled fish tacos with crisp corn tortillas, with citrus slaw, lime crema and tapatio sauce; cumin and mustard seed potato croquettes with apricot chutney; and chapati crisps and vegetable crudités with vegetable raita.
Partygoers were tempted by citrus butter cupcakes, with mascarpone and orange zest, and even something straight out of a beach party (petite s’mores skewers, with vanilla bean marshmallows.
From the bar, the play-inspired signature cocktail for the evening—“Orange County Crush”—blended Tito’s Handmade Vodka, orange juice, triple sec and Sprite.
First Nighters and their guests will long remember how their county came to life on the stage.
The Fimianos were taken with the experience of Orange, saying, “We were impressed with the acting—especially the actors who played multiple roles—loved the message about autism and had fun with all of the O.C. references.”