Mary Zimmerman's THE JUNGLE BOOK to Open 9/7 at Huntington's BU Theatre
The Jungle has arrived in Boston! Rehearsals at the Huntington Theatre Company begin today for the world premiere adaptation of The Jungle Book. The production, wholly reimagined for the stage by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman (Candide) is 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 is a music-and movement-filled adventure of young Mowgli's coming-of-age in the animal kingdom featuring the movie's best-loved songs in wholly new Indian-inspired arrangements. Legendary Academy Award and Grammy winner Richard M. Sherman - whose numerous songwriting credits with brother Robert B. Sherman include the motion pictures The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The AristoCats - collaborates on this production, providing Music Director Doug Peck access and permission to adapt songs that Sherman and his brother wrote for the film, plus never-before-heard material. Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli with Indian dance consultant Hema Rajagopalan combine elements of classical Indian dance forms with jazz, tap, and more to enhance the storytelling.
Already extended once due to popular demand, the Huntington production plays September 7 - October 13, 2013 on the Huntington's main stage, the BU Theatre. Tickets are available online at huntingtontheatre.org, by phone at 617 266 0800, and in person at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre and South End / Calderwood Pavilion box offices. See complete ticketing information below.
Named the summer's hot ticket by USA Today, The Jungle Book has been critically hailed as "entirely fresh, ever-surprising, and winningly whimsical" (Chicago Sun-Times), "sophisticated, sensual, and gorgeous" (Chicago Tribune), and "breathlessly entertaining" (Daily Herald). The New York Times praises, "The flora and fauna of India shimmer with eye-filling allure in the inventive new stage adaptation."
"The way my team and I make a show is such a whirlwind the first time around it is always desirable to have a place to go where we can continue to work after having caught our breath," says adaptor and director Zimmerman whose 2011 production of Candide is the Huntington's highest grossing musical in its 31-year history. "And so from the beginning, we knew we wanted to partner with another regional theatre where the show would grow and develop. Candide reached a kind of nirvana at the Huntington, so I'm absolutely thrilled to return to Boston."
The Jungle Book is produced by special arrangement with Disney Theatrical Productions, which proudly supports Zimmerman's development of this title, providing financial support, creative consultation and access to song material never before heard onstage. "The Huntington Theatre Company is one of the country's great theatres and, we are thrilled to be working with them as we embark on the next chapter in The Jungle Book's evolution," said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions. "Boston audiences are legendary for their discernment and passion for new work and we can't wait for them to see what Mary Zimmerman and her extraordinary company have crafted."
The Jungle Book transfers from and is produced in association with Chicago's Goodman Theatre where it was extended three times due to popular demand and is the company's highest attended musical production in its history. The Huntington production features the entire original cast including Tony Award winner André De Shields as King Louie, Kevin Carolan as Baloo, Larry Yando (Candide) as Shere Kahn, Thomas Derrah (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) as Kaa, and Akash Chopra and Roni Akurati as Mowgli. See below for full cast information. Eight original musicians are joined by four Boston musicians to comprise the jazz/Indian band of twelve. Zimmerman's creative team from Candide reunites, with scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costume design by Mara Blumenfeld, and lighting design by T.J. Gerkens. Joshua Horvath, Ray Nardelli, and Andre J. Pluess provide the sound design. Production stage manager is M. William Shiner. Stage managers are Katie Most and Jeremiah Mullane.
Photo Credit: Liz Lauren