Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK Opens Tonight at Chicago's Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre's world premiere of Disney's The Jungle Book began previews on June 21 (opening night is July 1) and, with a second extension week just added, now runs through August 11. The show opens tonight, July 1 and you can check out highlights below!

Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman reimagines Walt Disney's 1967 animated hit into a wholly original new work for the stage, drawing from both the film as well as Rudyard Kipling's 1894 collection of stories set in the Indian jungle and featuring original Indian-inspired music and dance. As previously announced, 10-year-old Akash Chopra makes his Chicago debut as young "man cub" Mowgli, who comes of age with the help of the anthropomorphic singing and dancing jungle animals; joining him in the role at select performances is Roni Akurati, who most recently appeared at the Goodman as Tiny Tim in the 2011 production of A Christmas Carol.

Zimmerman's new book for the Goodman premiere blends the humor and spirit of Disney's iconic film with Kipling's poetry, balancing the jubilant songs from the film with the universal themes about the loss of childhood innocence. The score contains seven songs from the film, plus never-before-heard pieces from the Academy and Grammy Award winners Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman. Richard Sherman collaborates with Music Director Doug Peck, who arranges and orchestrates the music, adding underscoring based both on themes from the film and Indian ragas and dance music. Peck's instrumentation includes piano/harmonium, bass, drum set, clarinet, saxophones, flute, trumpet, trombone, tuba, Indian snake trumpets, Carnatic (South Indian) violin, sitar, veena, tablas, ghattam, dholak and dhol.

Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli collaborates with Chicago-based Hema Rajagopalan-founder and artistic director of Chicago's Natya Dance Theatre-to combine elements of classical Indian dance forms with jazz, tap and other types of movement to enhance the storytelling. Rajagopalan's company performs Bharata Natyam, a major classical Indian dance form that relies heavily on expressive, specific hand gestures.

Tickets to The Jungle Book are now on sale: visit GoodmanTheatre.org

Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK Opens Tonight at Chicago's Goodman Theatre
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