THE JUNGLE BOOK Musical to Premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in June 2013; Mary Zimmerman & Christopher Gattelli Lead Creative Team
"The jungle is jumpin'!" The creative team is set and casting is underway for The Jungle Book (June 21 - July 28), Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman's world-premiere stage adaptation, based on Walt Disney's 1967 animated film and Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling's 1893 collection of stories set in the Indian jungle.
Zimmerman and her designers traveled to India to observe and research both current and historic forms of decorative art, dress and music-and, with Music Director Doug Peck, Zimmerman held two music workshops to fuse songs (the popular tunes from the film, its sequel and more) and styles (Western jazz and swing with Indian-inspired dance and classical music) to create a sound unique to this production. In addition, Academy Award-winning composer Richard M. Sherman-whose numerous songwriting credits with brother Robert B. Sherman include the Walt Disney motion pictures The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Aristocats-has shared songs from The Sherman Brothers' trunk and other previously unreleased material. Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) and designers Daniel Ostling (set); Mara Blumenfeld (costumes); T.J. Gerckens (lighting); and Andre Pluess, Josh Horvath and Ray Nardelli (sound) make the jungle spring to life in a music-and movement-filled spectacle that chronicles young Mowgli's adventures growing up in the animal kingdom.
The Jungle Book premieres June 21 - July 28 at the Goodman; tickets ($34-$105, subject to change) are now on sale and available at GoodmanTheatre.org, by calling 312.443.3800 or visiting the Goodman box office (170 N. Dearborn). Allstate and JPMorgan Chase are Premier Sponsors of The Jungle Book and ComEd is the Official Lighting Sponsor. The Chicago Tribune is the Media Partner and Accenture and Towers Watson are Opening Night Sponsors. The Jungle Book is produced in association with Boston's Huntington Theatre Company, where performances run September 7 - October 6. Casting will be announced at a later date.
Guests at the May 18 Goodman Theatre Gala fundraiser will be the first to experience The Jungle Book with an exclusive musical sneak-peek. Beginning with a 6:30pm cocktail reception at The Fairmont Hotel (200 N. Columbus), the evening includes an elegant dinner and dancing to the band Big Fun. Co-chairs are Women's Board members Amalia Perea Mahoney and Christine Pope and Adnaan Hamid is the Trustee Chair. Proceeds benefit the Goodman's Education and Community Engagement programs. Tickets start at $1,000; call 312.443.3811 ext. 586.
"Our challenge with the stage adaptation is to combine the profundity, beauty and even strangeness of Kipling's stories with the spirit and music of the film which is all joy, joy, joy," said director and adapter Mary Zimmerman, who marks 20 years as the Goodman's Manilow Resident Director. "Our music workshop united six Chicago swing/jazz musicians with six Indian instrumentalists who combined their virtuosity into something new and completely exciting. The songs from the film are utterly recognizable-yet renewed and enriched-and it's the thrill of a lifetime to work with the legendary Richard Sherman."
"Favorites like 'Bare Necessities' and 'Trust in Me' will make great appearances. 'Colonel Hathi' will probably feel like a musical/dance highlight-one of the biggest moments-and 'Baloo's Blues' will be the debut of a new piece of material," said Music Director Doug Peck, who contributes new orchestrations and arrangements to the project and who attended two music festivals while in India to explore the Northern Classical/Hindustani and Southern Classical/Carnatic traditions.