André De Shields, Akash Chopra and More Lead Huntington's THE JUNGLE BOOK, Beg. Tonight
Mary Zimmerman returns to the Huntington Theatre Company for The Jungle Book, a world premiere stage adaptation produced in association with Chicago's Goodman Theatre. The production premiered in Chicago on June 21 and plays at the Huntington tonight, September 7 - October 6, 2013. Based on Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling's 1893 collection of stories set in the Indian jungle and Walt Disney's 1967 animated film, Zimmerman's adaptation of The Jungle Book is a music- and movement-filled adventure of young Mowgli's coming-of-age in the animal kingdom.
The cast blends longtime Zimmerman collaborators with newcomers - including ten-year-old Akash Chopra as Mowgli, the young, spunky, and stubborn boy. Joining him will be:
· Usman Ally (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Second Stage Theatre) as Bagheera, the wise old panther who is serious about the rules of life and the laws of the jungle;
· Kevin Carolan (Newsies on Broadway) as Baloo the bear, the carefree and irresponsible tutor to Mowgli;
· Glory Curda as the Little Girl;
· André De Shields (The Full Monty on Broadway - Tony Award) as King Louie, the ambitious-but-scattered, comic, dreaming orangutan;
· Nehal Joshi (LES MISERABLES on Broadway) as Rama, a wolf leader; and
· Larry Yando (Candide at the Huntington) as Shere Khan the tiger, the crafty, powerful and dangerous arch-villain.
An ensemble of actors, dancers, and singers create Kipling's "people of the jungle"- vultures, monkeys, elephants, wolves, and more-including Jeremy Duvall, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Monique Haley, Ed Kross, Govind Kumar, Alka Nayyar, Geoff Packard (title role in Candide at the Huntington), Timothy Wilson, and Victor Wisehart.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to be returning to Boston and the to Huntington," says adaptor and director Zimmerman, whose 2011 production of Candide was the Huntington's highest grossing musical in its 31-year history. "I love the theatre and its audience. Our challenge with this 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. I'm incredibly excited to work with this wildly talented ensemble of actors, singers, and dancers to create the world of the play. It is always joyful to reunite with many of my longtime collaborators, but it is also thrilling to add so many new voices into the fold."
"Having worked with Mary on remounts of some of her very successful shows, I was excited for the opportunity to collaborate on a new work with her," says Usman Ally. "Kipling's stories as well as the Disney animation were quite a big part of my childhood, and it's a unique position to be in working on the world premiere of the stage version. I'm looking forward to working with an ethnically and artistically diverse team in telling this story that is set in my parents' part of the world."