Many chances to catch Disney’s ‘Tarzan the Musical’

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE – This year the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts (The Arts Center) is bringing the shores of West Africa to the Adirondacks with its production of Disney’s “Tarzan the Musical.” Directed by The Arts Center Artistic Director Stephen Svoboda, “Tarzan” closely follows the Disney movie of the same name where an orphaned boy is raised by a tribe of gorillas. Tarzan can’t keep up with the other members of his tribe and seen as a threat, though his adopted “mother” tries to convince him they are the same underneath. As Tarzan grows up he must be resourceful and strong to face obstacles that separate him from the tribe.

An adult Tarzan rescues a botanist, Jane Porter, and recognizes that they share many similar qualities. Jane starts educating Tarzan on being human and they grow to love each other, which causes conflict between the humans and the gorilla tribe. Eventually Tarzan is asked to choose who he wants to be.

According to Artistic Associate Danielle Melendez The Arts Center has put its own twist on the scenery for this timeless tale. Melendez mentions that bringing a show to seven different Adirondack towns in seven days requires a set that is easy to move, take down and set back up.

“Our approach is a bit more modern and urban,” says Melendez. “The main set is scaffolding with a fire hose attached, which serves as the jungle. This allows the gorillas and Tarzan to move, swing and maneuver around the jungle. It is still the story of Tarzan in the jungle. We just put our own twist on what that jungle looks like.”

All of the vocals of the Phil Collins original “Tarzan” score will be performed live with tracks performed and recorded by the students from the Redhouse Rock Camp, The Arts Center sister theatre in Syracuse.

“What we love about this show is that ‘Tarzan’ is also part of our theatrical camp. The principal actors of the show are the instructors teaching the campers (ages 7 to16) during the day,” explains Melendez. “The campers then make up the ensemble for the performances. They go to camp and learn vocal techniques or choreography from an Alvin Alley trained choreographer. There is also a different aspect of learning the limitations of being in a new space each night.”

According to Melendez “Tarzan” is appropriate for all ages with the signature Disney adult humor incorporated into the show, without being over the top. The major theme remains the same from film to stage; that it is okay to be different, to stand out and to not blend it with the crowd.

“Tarzan” is only playing in seven towns over seven days. So catch a performance at a nearby stage for a feel-good story about people finding their place in the world.