|Book||David Henry Hwang|
|Basis||Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs & Disney's 1999 animated film Tarzan|
2011 San Jose
- 1 Production
- 2 Plot
- 3 Musical numbers
- 4 Original Cast Recording
- 5 Differences from the film and musical
- 6 Productions
- 6.1 Broadway (2006-2007)
- 6.2 Scheveningen (2007–2009)
- 6.3 Kristianstad (2008–2009)
- 6.4 Hamburg (2008–2013)
- 6.5 US Tour
- 6.6 Utah (2010)
- 6.7 Indiana (2011)
- 6.8 Massachusetts (2011)
- 6.9 San Jose, California (December 2011)
- 6.10 Arizona (2012)
- 6.11 Philippines (2013)
- 6.12 Stuttgart (2013)
- 6.13 Barn Theatre, Augusta Michigan (2013)
- 7 Critical reception of show
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The musical began previews on Broadway on March 24, 2006, and officially opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on May 10, making it the only Disney Theatrical production without an out-of-town tryout. Bob Crowley designed the sets and costumes and directed the original Broadway production; choreography was by Meryl Tankard and lighting by Natasha Katz. Danton Burroughs, grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs, attended the opening night party, as did Phil Collins. The production was nominated for a Tony award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Natasha Katz).
Due to poor ticket sales, the show closed on July 8, 2007 after 35 previews and 486 performances.
The musical follows the plot of the Disney film, with a few minor changes. Terk, who was a female in the film, is a male in the musical. The major character of Tantor the elephant is completely cut from the musical.
Off of the West African coast, a young English couple and their newborn son barely survive a shipwreck and land in Africa. They construct a tree house for their son before being killed by a leopard. In the African Jungle, Kerchak, the leader of a tribe of gorillas admires his new infant son with his mate, Kala ("Two Worlds"). The leopard suddenly appears and kidnaps the newborn baby gorilla. Kala goes off to find her son but finds the human boy instead and names him Tarzan. She mothers him and raises him despite Kerchak's refusal to treat Tarzan as his son ("You'll Be In My Heart"). Tarzan cannot keep up with the tribe and Kerchak views him as a threat. Tarzan is befriended by the lighthearted Terk, a young gorilla who teaches him the ways of the gorillas ("Who Better Than Me"). Kerchak finds Tarzan constructing a spear and he exiles him from the gorilla tribe ("No Other Way"). Kala worries for him and goes off to find him. She discovers him despairing by the water's edge ("I Need To Know"). Kala tells him that even though they look different, underneath the skin, they are just the same. Years pass and the young boy grows into a young man, athletic and resourceful ("Son of Man"). Kala tries to convince Kerchak to accept Tarzan ("Sure As Sun Turns To Moon"). Kerchak won't change his mind until Tarzan kills the leopard that has been terrorizing the tribe. Suddenly, gunshots are heard throughout the jungle, causing the tribe to scatter, but Tarzan investigates. Deep in the jungle, Jane Porter, a young English naturalist, is overwhelmed by the thrillingly diverse jungle life ("Waiting For This Moment"). While exploring, she is attacked by a giant spider but is rescued by Tarzan. Tarzan and Jane carefully assess each other as they realize their similar qualities ("Different").
At the Porter expedition site, Terk and the other gorillas do some redecorating ("Trashin' The Camp"). Jane returns to the site with Tarzan, and she is thrilled by the tribe of gorillas. Kerchak arrives and scares the gorillas off. Jane tries to convince her father, Professor Porter, and their guide, Clayton that she discovered a wild man and a tribe of apes. Kerchak forbids contact with the humans but Tarzan and Jane grow to love each other and Jane tells her father more about the wild ape man ("Like No Man I've Ever Seen"). Clayton becomes jealous of their love. Jane tries to teach Tarzan more about humans and human life ("Strangers Like Me"), as she tries to cope with her emotions ("For The First Time"). She tries to tell her father to stop the plans of killing the gorillas but Clayton refuses and tricks Tarzan into taking the humans to the gorilla nesting grounds. Tarzan asks Terk to help him by keeping Kerchak away, and Terk agrees ("Who Better Than Me (Reprise)"). Kerchak arrives anyway, scattering the humans and demanding that Tarzan choose who he is. Kala shows Tarzan the treehouse his parents built and he discovers all of their belongings ("Everything That I Am"). He decides to go to England with Jane and live as a human and he tells Kala his decision ("You'll Be In My Heart (Reprise)"). Clayton kills Kerchak and Tarzan fights Clayton and nearly kills him, but Porter convinces him to let him go. The tribe convinces Tarzan that they need him to stay ("Sure As Sun Turns To Moon (Reprise)"). Jane agrees to stay with Tarzan in the jungle ("Two Worlds (Reprise)").
|Cast recording by Phil Collins|
|Phil Collins chronology|
- Act I
- "Two Worlds" – Voice of Tarzan and Ensemble
- "You'll Be In My Heart" – Kala and Ensemble
- "Jungle Funk" – Ensemble
- "Who Better Than Me?" – Young Tarzan and Terk
- "No Other Way" – Kerchak
- "I Need to Know" – Young Tarzan
- "Son of Man" – Terk and Ensemble
- "Son of Man (Reprise)" – Terk and Ensemble
- "Sure As Sun Turns to Moon" – Kala and Kerchak
- "Waiting for This Moment" – Jane and Ensemble
- "Different (Part 1 & 2)" – Tarzan
- Act II
- "Trashin' the Camp" – Terk and Ensemble
- "Like No Man I've Ever Seen" – Jane and Professor Porter
- "Strangers Like Me" – Tarzan and Jane
- "For the First Time" – Jane and Tarzan
- "Who Better Than Me? (Reprise)" – Terk and Tarzan
- "I Need to Know (Reprise)" – Young Tarzan
- "Everything That I Am" – Tarzan and Kala
- "You'll Be In My Heart (Reprise)" – Tarzan and Kala
- "Sure As Sun Turns to Moon (Reprise)" – Kala
- "Two Worlds (Finale)" – Tarzan, Jane, and Ensemble
Original Cast Recording
The Broadway cast album, entitled Tarzan: The Broadway Musical - Original Broadway Cast Recording, was released on June 27, 2006 and 58:04 long. Allmusic explains: "Elton John, who composed the music for the songs in the movie version of The Lion King (with lyrics by stage veteran Tim Rice), left others to expand the score for Broadway, while Phil Collins, who wrote music and lyrics for the five songs in the 1999 Tarzan movie, wrote an additional nine for the Broadway show". Phil Collins sings a bonus track "Everything That I Am" at the end of the album. The album includes "all four of the 'old' Tarzan songs (Two Worlds, You'll Be In My Heart, Son Of Man and Strangers Like Me)".
The song entered the Billboard Cast Album chart at No. 3.
Critical reception of soundtrack
Allmusic gave the album a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. It explains "Collins seems to understand that theater lyrics, perhaps even more than pop-song lyrics, need to be concise to get dramatic points across quickly and clearly. What he doesn't seem to realize is that that doesn't mean they should be little more than a string of platitudes, clichés, and contemporary slang...It's a shame; his words are as bad as his music is good". It notes that much of the cast perform the songs as Adult Contemporary numbers as opposed to Broadway songs, and concludes by saying "as a musical work Tarzan represents a lost opportunity to make a good pop musical." Genesis.com notes that rather than being a strict Collins album, "it is a concept album with music that has to work within the parameters of a Broadway musical".
Differences from the film and musical
- The character of Tantor the elephant is cut from the musical.
- Instead of scaring the elephants off to make Kerchak angry, Tarzan fashions a spear making Kerchak think he intends to hurt the gorillas.
- Terk is male.
- Jane is attacked by a giant spider before being rescued by Tarzan and wasn't chased by baboons like in the film.
- Clayton seems to have more of a romantic attraction for Jane and is American other than British.
- Clayton does not bring men from the ship to trap the gorillas
- Tarzan lets Clayton go, rather than having him fall and hang to his death.
Original Broadway Cast
- Josh Strickland as Tarzan
- Jennifer Gambatese as Jane
- Shuler Hensley as Kerchak
- Merle Dandridge as Kala
- Chester Gregory II as Terk
- Tim Jerome as Professor Porter
- Donnie Keshawarz as Clayton
- Daniel Manche / Alex Rutherford as Young Tarzan
Broadway Cast replacement history
- Dylan Riley Snyder replaced Daniel Manche as first alternate Young Tarzan on September 15, 2006.
- Rob Evan replaced Shuler Hensley as Kerchak on March 28, 2007.
- J. Bradley Bowers was cast as Young Tarzan in June, 2007 to replace Alex Rutherford. However, it was announced on June 23, 2007 that the show would close on July 8, 2007, so Bowers, Rutherford, and Snyder alternated in the role of Young Tarzan for the last 2 weeks of the show.
The first international production of the show opened on April 15, 2007, in Scheveningen, Netherlands. Phil Collins was present at the opening night. The original cast featured Ron Link as Tarzan (winner of the show "Wie Wordt Tarzan?") and Chantal Janzen as Jane. On May 24, 2009 the show closed to make way for the Dutch Production of Mary Poppins (musical). The musical was a huge success in the Netherlands.
The third international production opened in Hamburg, Germany, at the Neue Flora Theater on October 19, 2008. It originally starred Anton Zetterholm and Elisabeth Hübert who won the roles of Tarzan and Jane on the German casting show "Ich Tarzan, Du Jane". The musical is a huge success in Hamburg. A German cast recording has been released.
A revamped tour version had previously been announced to debut in January 2009 in Atlanta, and was planned to feature the same music and book, with direction and choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. The tour has since been canceled.
The Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins, Utah, presented the regional premiere of the show from June 7-October 15, 2010, playing three shows a week. The theatre was the first equity theatre to produce the musical since it closed. The show starred James Royce Edwards as Tarzan and Summer Broyhill as Jane.
San Jose, California (December 2011)
Marquee Productions, a division of the award winning Children's Musical Theater San Jose, will bring Disney's Tarzan to the Montgomery Theater in downtown San Jose, December 2–11, 2011, directed and choreographed by the organization's Artistic Director, Kevin R. Hauge, and assistant choreographed by Shannon Self.
The Arizona Broadway Theatre in Peoria, AZ presented the regional premiere from April 20, 2012 through May 20, 2012. The production was directed by Michael Susko and choreographed by Kurtis Overby. The set and costumes were designed by Paul Bridgeman and Martha J. Clarke, respectively.
The Philippine production of the show, produced by Viva Atlantic Theatricals, ran from June 14-July 7, 2013 at the Meralco Theater in Manila. It starred Dan Domenech as Tarzan and Rachelle Ann Go as Jane.
A Stuttgart production has been announced for fall 2013.
Barn Theatre, Augusta Michigan (2013)
The Michigan summer stock theatre produced the musical with daily productions from July 23, 2013 through August, 4th, 2013. The Barn Theatre of Augusta has been in operation since 1946.
Critical reception of show
The show received mixed reviews.
A review of the North Show Music Theatre production said the show took "a serious look at the deepest human emotions, setting its story to Collins’ vibrant score", and added that "this is a show that holds you and doesn’t let go". The New York Times described Tarzan as "insistently kinetic...fidgety and attention-deficient", noting that tough "momentous events occur regularly...any tension or excitement is routinely sabotaged by overkill and diffuseness". It notes that despite "much money...and international research" being invested into the show, "we now have conclusive evidence that the Disneyfied Tarzan does indeed flatten perversely when translated from two dimensions into three". Kerry Lengel of The Republic said "the heart of 'Tarzan's' darkness is Phil Collins' bland melodies and generic lyrics, which offer such character insights as, 'My heart is beating faster, I must know more about her. ... She makes me feel so alive'. Even for a kiddie musical, that's a pretty weak effort".
Awards and nominations
|John Kraaijkamp Musical Award|
|Beste grote musical (Best big musical)||Won in 2008|
|Beste vrouwelijke hoofdrol in een grote musical (Best female lead in a big musical)(Chantal Janzen as Jane)||Nominated|
|Beste Mannelijke Bijrol in een Grote Musical (Best supporting actor in a big musical) (Clayton Peroti as Terk)||Won in 2007|
|Beste Creatieve Prestatie (Best creative prestation) (Sergio Trujillo)||Nominated|
|Beste Inhoudelijke Prestatie (Best Performance Content) (Martine Bijl)||Nominated|
|Beste Inhoudelijke Prestatie (Best Performance Content) (Phil Collins)||Nominated|
|Beste Ontwerper (Best designer) (Pichón Baldinu)||Nominated|
|Beste Ontwerper (Best designer) (Bob Crowley)||Nominated|
|Nashuatec Musical Award voor Aanstormend Talent (Musical Award for upcoming talent) (Ron Link as Tarzan)||Won in 2007|
- Gans, Andrew.Disney's Tarzan Musical Aiming for 2005-2006 Broadway Bow" Playbill.com, May 12, 2005
- Brantley, Ben."'Tarzan' Arrives on Broadway, Airborne"The New York Times, May 11, 2006
- "Hail 'Tarzan!' It's a Swinging Celebration for Disney's New Musical" Broadway.com, (May 10), accessed September 4, 2011
- "Disney's 'Tarzan' to close July 8 on Broadway". USA Today. 2007-06-24. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- Gans, Andrew (May 10, 2007). "Tarzan Celebrates One Year on Broadway May 10". playbill.com. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "'Tarzan', Hamburg, 2008" kultur-fibel.de (German), accessed September 4, 2011
- Gans, Andrew (2008-01-04). "Revamped Tarzan Will Debut in January 2009 in Atlanta". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
- Hetrick, Adam (2008-12-01). "American Musical Theatre of San Jose Cancels Productions of 42nd Street, Tarzan and Closes Doors". Playbill.com. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
- "Tarzan listing at Tuacahn Amphitheatre, Ivins UT", tuacahn.org, retrieved February 22, 2010
- "'Tarzan', June 8 - 18" Wagon Wheel Theatre.com, accessed September 4, 2011
- "The 2011 Season, North Shore Music Theatre" North Shore Music Theatre, retrieved December 12, 2010
- Battle Creek Enquirer July 25, 2013
- "2007 Nominaties, Stichting Musical Awards" stichtingmusicalawards.nl, accessed September 4, 2011
- Tarzan at the Internet Broadway Database
- Tarzan at the Music Theatre International website
- ERB, Inc. site featuring reviews
- ERB, Inc. coverage of the Netherlands opening
- ERB, Inc. coverage of the Hamburg opening
- Tarzan On Broadway 1921
- Official website