BELOIT - From the masters of family entertainment, who brought you The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, and Mary Poppins, West Branch High School Theater Department will present Disney's musical, "Tarzan," playing April 11-13.
"Tarzan of the Apes - A Romance of the Jungle," written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was published in its entirety in the October 1912 issue of "All Story" magazine. Tony Award winner Henry Hwang, who wrote the musical's book based on both the 1999 Disney film and the original Edgar Rice Burroughs story "Tarzan of the Apes," has been given credit for the success of the show on stage.
The musical score was written by Phil Collins, an Oscar and Grammy award winning composer and musician. Some of the memorable songs include "You'll be in My Heart," "For the First Time" and "Son of Man."
Parker Zamarelli is Tarzan and Jane Stahl stars as Jane in the West Branch HS presentation of Tarzan being held this weekend.
Rachel Murphy portrays Young Tarzan and Destanee Goosby is Kala, the gorilla who ends up mothering and loving Tarzan as her own son.
Jake Koneval plays the role of
Terk, Tarzan’s best friend and teacher.
The story begins when a man a woman and their infant son awaken on a white sandy beach somewhere in Africa after their ship was destroyed in a storm at sea. Meanwhile, back in the jungle, an ape, Kala, finds their human baby. Her own had been stolen by a leopard and she takes this little one in to replace it. Her husband, however, a majestic silverback named Kerchak, orders her to return the child to the jungle: "This is a danger to the tribe; it won't replace our son."
However, Kala's motherly instinct wins out and she raises the little boy, whom she named Tarzan, singing to him "You'll Be in My Heart," the first of Phil Collins' pop tunes that was written for the show. Though Kerchak never approves, Tarzan lives with the apes, and is befriended and mentored by Terk, who teaches him to swing through the trees, fend off predators, and give his famous breast-beating yell.
It is not until a party of anthropologists comes to the African jungle that Tarzan learns he is not an ape, develops human language, and falls in love with Jane. The relationship that unfolds between them changes their life forever. Tarzan is a great adventure story, but also a beautiful story of family, love and acceptance.
- WHAT:?West Branch High School production of "Tarzan."
- WHEN:?7:30 p.m. Friday, April 11; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13.
- WHERE:?West Branch?High School auditorium.
- TICKETS: $10 for adults and $8 for students. Dinner theater tickets for Friday, $25; Dance Party tickets for Saturday matinee, $15 includes lunch. Tickets for all the shows will be available at the high school during the school day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or by calling the box office at 330- 938-4442. Leave a message and someone will return all calls. Patrons are encouraged to come to the school and pick out seats. You may also call and reserve tickets and pay for them at the door.
Senior Parker Zamarelli will portray Tarzan. The son of John and Jennifer Zamarelli, Parker has been on stage his whole life. He has studied voice for five years and is known for his magnificent baritone sound.
On stage as Tarzan, he displays his avid ability to play a character part especially when he performs the popular tune "Everything That I Am" and "Stranger like me."
Parker Zamarelli has perfect stage chemistry with the other leads in the show and convinces the audiences through his solos and the chorus numbers that he truly is king of the jungle.
Zamarelli has played many roles throughout his career at West Branch including: Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid, Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Henry Jekyll/Dr. Edward Hyde in Jekyll & Hyde, Smudge in Forever Plaid, Nikko in Wizard of Oz, and Bert Heely in Annie.
Rounding out the cast of principals is junior Jane Stahl who portrays Jane Porter, Tarzan's love interest. Jane is the daughter of Mike and Judy Stahl and has also been in every show since she has been in high school. She was most recently seen as Lady Beconsfield in Jekyll and Hyde. Stahl also studies voice and was a member of the Salem Youth Chorus. Jane is very active in the Choral Department and does a fantastic job portraying Jane Porter the enthusiastic scientist who falls in love with Tarzan. This is most noticeable in the musical number "For the First Time."
Veteran actor and singer Cooper Briceland will portray Kerchak the gorilla who is kind of like the leader of the pack of gorillas that raise Tarzan from boyhood. Cooper is the son of Denny and Kari Briceland and has been seen on stage many times since his freshman year. He was recently seen on the West Branch Stage as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. In Tarzan, Cooper delivers an emotional performance that sets up the whole plot of the story that centers around being treated poorly for being different. This is most notably seen in the song "No Other Way." During that number, we see a dramatic side of Cooper's talent as an actor and his rich baritone voice can't be matched.
Senior Rachael Murphy, last seen as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, has faced the biggest challenge as an actress in Tarzan.
She portrays the part of Young Tarzan. It is always hard to become a child once you have grown up but Rachael will fool anyone who attends the show. She is very believable in her character and makes the audience love her. Rachael is the daughter of Eva Murphy and Carl Binius and participates in all the choral ensembles.
Senior Colby Briceland, son of Denny and Kari Briceland is seen in Tarzan as Clayton the hunter who tries to get close to Jane but is pushed out of the way because she is in love with Tarzan the ape man. Colby was last seen as the Tinman in the Wizard of Oz. He definitely is the bad guy in Tarzan and does a great job with relaying the story to the audience.
Tarzan's best friend and teacher, Terk, is played by sophomore Jake Koneval. Jake is the son of Steve and Kristine Koneval. He was last seen as the soaring tenor Jinx in last fall's production of Forever Plaid. Jake has risen to the occasion as an actor while playing the part of Turk. Most of the comedic action in the show is centered around his character. This is most notably seen in the musical number "Trashin the Camp."
Junior Wesley Miller will portray the part of Professor Porter, Jane's father. Wesley is the son of Ted and Marvilla Miller. He was last seen on stage as the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. In Tarzan he does a great job playing Porter the English scientist who deeply cares for his daughter Jane even though she's in love with Tarzan the ape man.
Sophomore Destanee Goosby, new to the West Branch stage, portrays the character of Kala the gorilla who ends up mothering and loving Tarzan as her own son. Destanee, the daughter of Melissa Kirksey, does an exceptional job with this emotional character, especially during the song "You'll be in My Heart," probably the most popular song in the show.
The show is full of special effects which includes various flying stunts. Fly by Foy out of Las Vegas has been contracted to set up and rig the show so these effects can take place. A flying director has been present for the last week of the rehearsal to teach the cast how to use the flying equipment.
Tarzan, Jane, and various gorillas will be flown during the show and truly makes the audience feel they are in the jungle. The show is also full of tumbling and gymnastic feats to help create the feeling that the cast are truly gorillas. Local dance instructor Christa Harris has been working with the cast on dance sequences and movements to recreate how animals move throughout the jungle.
The 50-member chorus of dancers, gymnasts and those that fly on the stage includes: Olivia Brunner, Gabbi Sanor, Victoria Mossow, Audrey Nolte, Shayna Sands, Allison Harris, Megan Winters, Michael Jones, Alex St. Clair, Megan Lucas, Rachael Murphy, Rylee Caufield, Christina Langen, Mariah Saulsberry, Cheyenne DeLuna, Kaylen Sanor, Kimberly Salvino, Ragan Kirksey, Ellie Shreve, McCoy Yarian, Brettany Maurer, Jessica Lozier, Laura Slutz, Josh Petkash, Oreion Reeves, Brandon Utley, Zach McMullen, Kolton Kitzmiller, Justin Stowe, Ethan Griffith, Kaitlyn Edie, Andrew Edie, Robert Lozier , Brianne Metts, Jacob McIlvain, Madison Woolf, Brianna Brown, Marina Moffett, Hunter Gillingham, Alyssa Hatton, Torie Stratton, Reilly Cameron, Taylor Miller, Maddie Buehler, Josh Petkash, Oreon Reeves, Brandon Utley, Dustin Greenawalt, Zachary McMullen, Kolton Kitzmiller, Justin Stowe, Ethan Griffith, Michael Johnson, Colby Briceland and Takota Frederick.
The cast and crew of Tarzan includes over 100 students and volunteers. Audience members will love the large chorus numbers because there is so much activity it is hard to focus on any one element in the musical numbers. Local voice teacher Bill Ambert has coached characters that perform solos in the musical. Music director and artistic director John Zamarelli has worked hard on the musical numbers and dance coach Christa Harris has transformed the stage into a whirlwind of stage movements, gymnastic feats and all styles of Broadway dance steps. This is most notable in the chorus number "Trashin the Camp" one of the biggest numbers in the show.
The costumes, provided assistant director Jennifer Zamarelli are lavish and colorful and crews of parents have been working to complete some of them for the past two months.
The set, also designed and built by local parents, is exquisite and fits the needs of the production's scenes and musical numbers. The audience is taken to various sections of the jungle in Africa. Painting crews have been working on the set for several months while many fathers and community members are working late into the evenings to finish what might be called a theatrical "work of art."
The technical crew for the show is comprised of Frank Edie, John Zamarelli, Zachary Dean, Luanne Felgar and Justin Pegg. The technical crew will be running 36 wireless microphones and making sure all the special effects are executed as planned. Over 20 hours were spent setting over 200 light cues that are required by the production.
Show dates and times for Tarzan are as follows: 7:30 p.m., Friday April 11; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12; and, 3 p.m., Sunday, April 13.
The annual dinner theater will be held in conjunction with the show on Friday with dinner being served at 5:30 p.m. and the show beginning at 7:30 pm.
Those attending the dinner theater will be wined and dined in a luau style dinner. The all-you-can eat buffet menu will consist of fired-roasted pork, Polynesian chicken, wild island rice, pasta and shrimp Alfredo, buttered corn, Island Tossed Salad, rolls and butter, fresh fruit and desserts, fruit punch and special brewed coffee.
Tickets for the dinner, which also includes admission to the show, are $25 for anyone attending. Lorrie Weingart of "The Catered Affair" in Salem will be the chef for the evening.
A special matinee performance on Saturday April 12 will be preceded by "A Dance Party with Terk, Tarzan & Friends."
The cast of gorillas will lead a dance party for children and their parents complete with tattoos, lunch treats, face painting and the opportunity to get pictures taken with Tarzan, Jane and their friends.
The dance party begins at 1 p.m. and after two hours of music and fun the guests will watch the show which begins at 3 p.m. Tickets for the show and dance party / lunch are $15 for adults and students and includes admission to both.
Tickets for all the shows will be available at the high school during the school day from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or by calling the box office at 330- 938-4442. Leave a message and someone will return all calls. All seats for the four performances are reserved and priced at $10 for adults and $8 for students. All patrons are encouraged to come to the school and pick out their own seats as soon as possible. You may also call and reserve tickets and pay for them at the door. - Submitted material