Meetu Chilana is a New York based singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. Rocking a 3.5 octave vocal range, she has repeatedly worked as a singer/character for Cirque du Soleil. She has toured nationally with their production KOOZA as the “Indie Chanteuse” and recently completed the world tour of Cirque du Soleil’s ZARKANA as a lead vocalist, character actor, and wire-acrobat at the Moscow Kremlin Theater, Madrid Arena, and Radio City Music Hall. From sultry crooning to Indian riffing to pop belting, her vocal stylings stem from a history of various influences.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Meetu spent much of her childhood in the performing arts. On top of jazz, tap, and ballet classes, piano lessons, kirtan performances, and bhangra team practices outside of school, her academic life was filled with choirs, musicals, jazz band, playing the violin, flute, and handbells. She is the eldest of four children born to first generation (Indian) Punjabi Sikh parents. Thankfully, she inherited their musical tastes growing up listening to old Punjabi folk songs and retro Bollywood tunes on repeat.
She also inherited an affinity to the sciences which originally led her to the Academy for Medical Science Technology– part of the regional magnet high school, Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, NJ. Ironically however, it was there her love for the theater and music flourished and eventually gained her admission to NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
Her professional involvement began early on, singing with her jazz trio, hosting for television, acting in commercials and plays, and associate producing the independent feature film starring Madhur Jaffrey, “Hiding Divya.” It was for this film that Meetu recorded her first single, “Lost” which was released as a part of her debut EP, “I Am.”
Shortly after, Meetu performed in “Jihad: The Musical” which received worldwide recognition at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007. Since then she has worked on various musical works, including D.D. Jackson’s original jazz opera, “Quebecite,” “RakheLeah” (composed by Tony-award nominated, Liz Swados), and The New Group’s “Bunty Berman Presents…”
As a recording artist and singer, she has shared the stage with the esteemed Ustad Sultan Khan camp, Karsh Kale, Kailash Kher’s Kailasa, Asha Puthli, and Nina Sky at venues all over the world including “The Bluefrog” in Mumbai and New York City’s famous– Jacob Javits Center, The Fillmore at Irving Plaza, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
She has also recorded tracks with Bollywood’s Eric Pillai, Talvin Singh, DJ Rekha, producer/writer David Maurice (worked with artists including Jay-Z, JC Chasez, Kerli, Garbage), and Livingstone Brown (worked with artists including Seal, Avril Lavigne, Snoop Dogg, Wyclef Jean) and has had her music featured on the BBC and New York’s Hot 97 Radio stations.
She is working on projects in acting, voice-over, and music across New York, London, and Mumbai, and is currently writing/recording new material for future release.
HAIR: Brown EYES: Brown HEIGHT: 5’2″
|Cirque Du Soleil’s ZARKANA||Principal – Lia & Mutants||Radio City Music Hall/Kremlin Theater|
|Cirque Du Soleil’s KOOZA||Principal – India Chanteuse||National Tour|
|RAKHELEAH||Principal - Zilpa||La Mama ETC w/ Liz Swados|
|JIHAD: THE MUSICAL||Principal – Noor||Edinburgh Fringe Festival|
|TROILUS & CRESSIDA||Supporting – Andromache||Soho Repertory Theatre|
|THIS IS OUR YOUTH||Principal - Jessica Goldman||George Street Playhouse|
|BARELY BREATHING||Principal - Geeta||Theatre Row: Studio|
|THE ART OF PANHANDLING||Principal - Alerianna||Henry Street Settlement|
|SEVEN. 11 CONVENIENCE THEATER 2006||Principal - Various||Kraine Theater|
|SEVEN. 11 CONVENIENCE THEATER 2007||Principal - Deepa, Cheekochio||Queens Theater|
|HIGH TEA||Principal - Indranee||ATA Chernuchin Theater|
|PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK||Supporting – Rosamund||Abe Burrows Theater|
|BOMBAY SCREAMS||Principal – Shruti||Columbia U. w/ Anna Bogart|
|I AM THE CHICKEN MAN, CLUCK||Principal - Susan||Salaam Theatre|
|STUPID: THE PLAYS||Principal – Tara||Flea Theater|
|HIDING DIVYA||Meghana||Dir. Rehana Mirza|
|AL QARAM||Fiza||Dir. Affandy Yacoob|
|TIME AND THE HOUR RUN||Mysterious Beauty||Dir. Samir Patel|
|MEETING DURGA||Durga Jaitley||Dir. Priya Narayan|
|COMMERCIALS / TELEVISION:|
|UNIVERSITY PLACE (Pilot)||Principal – Nola||Showtime|
|DEFINE YOURSELF||Principal – Rekha Wrecka||MTV|
|DEBT HITS HARD||Principal – Maria||AMC|
|INTERNATIONAL CHOICE PLAN||Principal – Dancer||Verizon|
|TEEN IM||Principal – Maya||Verizon FIOS|
|GYM CLASS HEROES: DATING TIPS||Principal – Travie’s Date||Atlantic Records|
|List Availible Upon Request|
|NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, TISCH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS- B.F.A. DRAMA (Honors w/ Minor in PRODUCING)|
|Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute|
|Advanced Acting: Hope Arthur||Acting: Bill Balzac, Geoffrey Horne|
|Jazz/Tap: Jeffery Ferguson||Ballet: Barrie Estes|
|Tai Chi: Ron Navarre||Script Analysis: Lorca Peress|
|Speech: Marnie Andrews||Movement: Michael Ryan|
|Dialects: John Van Wyden||Acting for Film/TV: Pennie DuPont|
|Voice Production: Scott Flaherty||Balinese Dance: Carlos Fittante|
|Style and Character Studio- Advanced Film/Television Performance|
|Acting/Scene Study: Kay Matschullat||On-Camera Technique: James Gardner|
|Mask: Per Brahe||Comedy: Arthur Bartow|
|LeCoq Technique: Richard Crawford||Advanced Improvisation: Rosemary Quinn|
|VOCAL||Private Voice: Will Bryan||Jazz Voice: Peter Prisco|
|MASTER CLASS (Acting Workshop) w/ Kathleen Turner|
|HOSTING BOOTCAMP Marki Costello, Todd Miller|
|STUART ROGERSʼ ACTING STUDIOS Stuart Rogers|
|Trained Singer (Mezzo-Soprano, Range: B2-A5); Comfortable Acting & Singing Suspended/Upside Down in Harness; Indian Traditional Singing, Fluent Languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi; Conversational in Spanish; Moves Well (Jazz, Modern, Bhangra, Tap, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Latin, Belly Dancing); Accents/Dialects (British – Standard/Cockney, Southern, New York, Irish, Australian, Scottish, Italian, Indian); Excellent Improvisational Skills; Teleprompter/Earprompter Experience; Culinary Expertise; Driving (Standard/Automatic); Great with Children; Plays Piano; Martial Arts/Kickboxing|
Chilana’s gorgeous voice haunts the cavernous Radio City space.
READ: She’s having the Cirque du Soleil experience of her life, but Meetu Chilana, who previously toured in Cirque’s production of Koozå and is currently winding up her run at Radio City Music Hall in the company’s Zarkana, is making it into the “Meetu experience.”
New York-based Chilana, who was born and raised in New Jersey, is playing the role of Clown Diva Castafiore in the surreal Zarkana (the title fuses the words “bizarre” and “arcana”), and understudying the fanciful roles of Lia (the magician Zark’s assistant), Mandragora (Flower Pistil Mutant Lady), Kundalini (Snake Mutant Lady), and Tarantula (Spider Mutant Lady). She also voices the animated Pickled Lady. …READ MORE…
READ: Cirque du Soleil, the entertainment behemoth created by Guy Laliberté, is a binary creature—you either like its fusion of ballet and death-defying acrobatics or you don’t. Zarkana, which has returned for a second, slightly trimmed-down stint at Radio City Music Hall, pushes the show’s dark edges even further. But Cirque haters beware: You’d be missing out to avoid it. Zarkana, written and directed by François Girard, achieves an effect that borders on rapture. …READ MORE…
READ: Meetu Chilana’s life has changed. Until a cou- ple of years ago she was like many other New York’s artists — buzzing with talent, yet struggling to be seen. But now most
of the days of the week, Chilana catches the subway from her apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and heads to Radio City Music Hall where she performs as an understudy in Cirque Du Soliel’s new show Zarkana.
On Sundays and every alternate Tuesday she plays the lead — Lia, the lost love of Zark, a magician. In this role Chilana is often hanging from wires — with a harness — while she performs the show’s high ele- ments songs as a snake lady, a flower girl, a spider woman and, of course, Lia. She has grand moments when she captures the attention of the entire 6,000 seat theater and she loves it. The rest of the week she plays other roles in the show. …READ MORE…
READ: Bisson and Chilana make a dynamic duet, her soaring voice a nice interplay with his more fluid tenor. Girard still makes time for quieter pieces, such as gorgeous sand painting by Erika Chen and the crowd-pleasing acrobat Anatoly Zalevskiy, who performs a simple routine displaying strength and elegance. …READ MORE…
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