"Welcome to Chippendales" Cast & Crew: A Complete Guideline

“Welcome to Chippendales” premieres November 22 on Hulu.
“Welcome to Chippendales” premieres November 22 on Hulu.( Source : theplaylist )

Starring the ever-so-lovable Kumail Nanjiani, Hulu has come out with a limited drama series with some true crime imitations-Welcome to Chippendales.

The show is based on the bizarre real-life story of Chippendales, the male striptease dance troupe and the criminal struggles of the founder, Somen "Steve" Banerjee, played by Nanjiani. Deadly Dance: The Chippendales Murders, the book by K. Scot Macdonald is claimed to be the main source of reference for the series. 

Even if you haven't heard the name "Chippendales", you have surely seen an iteration of it or heard it referenced in pop culture. Recognizable by the signature muscle-bound, oiled, dancing, and stripping men in bow ties and cuffs but no shirts, and sometimes no pants as well, Chippendales has toured hundreds of clubs and theatres full of screaming women, around the world for decades now.

For what seems like nothing more than an awesome bachelorette event, the dancing trope has a very dark and twisted founding story. 

Welcome to Chippendales is written by Robert Siegel, Rajiv Joseph, and Mehar Sethi. Matt Shakman will direct the show, joined by Jenni Konner and Siegel as showrunners.

Nanjiani will join the creators' team as executive producer. Jacqui River is the co-executive producer and Annie Wyman is the co-producer.

Who are Welcome to Chippendales Cast and Crew?

Kumail Nanjiani as Somen "Steve" Banerjee

The show follows the humble beginnings, meteoric rise, and dark controversies surrounding the Chippendales founder, Somen "Steve" Banerjee, portrayed by Kumail Nanjiani.

The real-life character of Banerjee was power-hungry, ruthless, and downright psychopathic. Nanjiani has to walk the thin balance of portraying an egoistic criminal who also has a captivating personality that his peers and the audience can empathize with. 

Kumail Nanjiani as Somen 'Steve' Banerjee in 'Welcome to Chippendales'
Kumail Nanjiani as Somen 'Steve' Banerjee in 'Welcome to Chippendales' ( Source : metacritic )

An immigrant, Banerjee, after some turbulent years, finds financial success in America. His constant need for power, combined with his subpar business knowledge and villainous strategies to get ahead, ultimately destroys his business, family, and his life. "I don't think he had any imagination. I think he was lucky in that he happened upon a good idea," says Nanjiani.

Murray Bartlett as Nick De Noia

Emmy-winning choreographer Nick De Noia, who helped Steve build Chippendales from the ground up is portrayed by Murray Bartlett.

In the beginning, De Noia and Banerjee had a perfect business relationship, Nick used his skills to chisel the choreography and creative side, leaving Steve to handle the business side of Chippendales. But their shared vision for the greatness of Chippendales and the thirst for absolute control put them at daggers drawn. 

Murray Bartlett as Nick De Noia in 'Welcome to Chippendales'
Murray Bartlett as Nick De Noia in 'Welcome to Chippendales' ( Source : metacritic )

Annaleigh Ashford as Irene Banerjee

Banerjee's wife, Irene, is played by Tony award winner, Annaleigh Ashford.

It is difficult for an actor to portray a real-life character and this was especially true for Irene Banerjee, for there is no information about her. "There's, like, one photo of her," the actor says.

It was up to Annaleigh to build the persona of this character. She did a great job, depicting Irene as a woman of the 70s, who had to live under blatant patriarchy and had to use men to follow her dreams. In the show, Irene works as the accountant for her husband's business but also closely manages Steve's business creativity and Nick's performance creativity. 

Annaleigh Ashford as Irene Banerjee in 'Welcome to Chippendales'
Annaleigh Ashford as Irene Banerjee in 'Welcome to Chippendales' ( Source : metacritic )

"By her loving him, it helps us love him. And Kumail Nanjiani is just inherently likable and loveable and he does such a beautiful job navigating this monster, but the character of Irene helps make the monster of Steve more of a man.", says Ashford. 

Dan Stevens and Nicola Peltz as Paul Snider and Dorothy Stratten

The scandalous couple of nightclub promoter Paul Snider and playboy model Dorothy Stratten is played by Dan Stevens and Nicola Peltz.

It was Paul Snider who suggested the idea of an all-male strip show to Banerjee and was the one who came up with the iconic bow tie and cuffs uniform for the Chippendale dancers. 

Paul (Dan Stevens) and Dorothy (Nicola Peltz), shown in Welcome to Chippendales
Paul (Dan Stevens) and Dorothy (Nicola Peltz), shown in Welcome to Chippendales ( Source : d )

Julietta Lewis as Denise

Although the character has a different name, Denise, who is played by the veteran actress Julietta Lewis, seems to be modeled after Candace Mayeron, the self-proclaimed "Den Mother of the Chippendales".

Initially only a patron of the club, Denise upon seeing the potential of the brand, pitches the revolutionary idea of breakaway clothing to De Noia. Eventually, she gets hired as the costume designer, tour manager, and Nick's right-hand woman.

Juliette Lewis in as Denise in 'Welcome to Chippendales'
Juliette Lewis in as Denise in 'Welcome to Chippendales' ( Source : metacritic )

The Real-Life Story of Chippendales

While the creators will certainly take some creative liberties in dramatizing the story, the series is not too far from the real-life tale.

From hiring hitmen to serial arson, this wild story has it all. 

The 1980s has forever been portrayed as a time of disco, shoulder pads, bright neon clothing, and cocaine. And the writers of Welcome to Chippendales certainly do not beg to differ, which is understandable, considering it is a show about male exotic dancers after all. 

Somen Banerjee was an ambitious immigrant from Bombay, India with hopes of living out his version of the "American Dream." Banerjee was a man with a growing entrepreneurial spirit, fueled by the decadence of the 80s, which is why he left his job at the gas station to start his own business- a backgammon club. The club did not make him the baller he thought he would be, resorting to sleazy tactics like hosting female mud wrestling, magic shows, and even oyster-eating contests. 

Chippendales founder Somen
Chippendales founder Somen "Steve" Banerjee ( Source : dailynationpakistan )

After the idea of an all-male strip club catering to an all-female audience, he hired the famous choreographer Nick Di Noia to stand out from the crowd of the rest of the seedy strip clubs.

This takes Chippendales from a small strip joint to a highly successful dance trope touring across the country. Like so many stories before, after a few successful years Di Noia and Banerjee head on a collision course that ultimately results in arson, bankruptcy, murder, prison, and suicide. 

"Welcome to Chippendales" tells the tale of this immigrant chasing the American dream in the era of "greed is good", with no morals and only greed fueling him.


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