Oo-oo-ee-eh-ou! Audiences of all ages are going ape for ‘Tarzan, The Stage Musical,’ a spirited and heartwarming adaptation on stage at the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA). Directed by Gerrad Alex Taylor, the energetic, uplifting musical based on the Disney animated movie and classic book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, features a touching score by rock legend Phil Collins and a talented cast of 28 local teenagers who truly give it their all with phenomenal singing, dancing, and a maturity beyond their years.
After seeing this captivating work presented by the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, there is no denying that ‘Tarzan, The Stage Musical’ will remain in your heart forevermore.
Opening the CTA season, the show is a pure joy to watch as the ensemble of young performers, who are joined behind the scenes by Music Director Emily L. Sergo, Choreographer Jason Kimmell, Set Designer Todd Croteau, Lighting Designer Arden Tierney, and others, take you on an inspiring and emotional journey to the heart of Africa. Together with the rustic setting, vibrant costumes, and creative use of shadows, props and animal sounds, the production offers observers a sensational experience, immersing them in the jungle with memorable numbers such as “Two Worlds” and “Son of Man.”
Every one of the actors does a fine job in portraying their respective characters, human, or otherwise, from the sweet, innocent Young Tarzan, played by Brennan Atkinson, and sassy sidekick BFF Young Terk, played by Anya Lengbeyer, both adorable singing the playful “Who Better Than Me,” to the protective adoptive parents, gruff, knowing father gorilla Kerchak, played by Ronan O’Toole, and kind, compassionate mother Kala, played by Annabelle Cotton, whose strong voices shine during the duets “No Other Way” and “Sure As Sun Turns to Moon,” as well as Kala’s moving and angelic solo to her son, “You’ll Be in My Heart.”
As the years go on, Tarzan, portrayed by Liam O’Toole, has grown up into a strong, handsome man with animal instincts. O’Toole gives an outstanding performance as Tarzan, showing off authenticity and agility as he struggles to figure out where he belongs, boldly standing out with “Strangers Like Me.” Seeing romance blossom with the striking and brainy beauty Jane, portrayed by Zoë Argabright, is refreshing, and the pair have several meaningful moments together, such as with the tender ballad, “For the First Time.” Of course, other cast members give brief, albeit lovely, performances including Seth McLaughlin as Father, Payten Blake as Mother, and the trio of Englishmen, Braden Andrews as Jane’s father Porter, the snarky bounty hunter Clayton, played by a convincing Michael Stafford, and henchman Snipes, played by Drew Claxton.
After seeing this captivating work presented by the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, there is no denying that “Tarzan, The Stage Musical” will remain in your heart forevermore.
Running Time: 2.5 hours with one intermission
“Tarzan, The Stage Musical,” runs through November 17, 2019, at Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (1661 Bay Head Road, Annapolis, Maryland, 21409). For tickets and information, visit here.