BWW Interview: Tyler Young, Sam Pudlin, Emily Burris of TARZAN at Cultural Park Theater

BWW Interview: Tyler Young, Sam Pudlin, Emily Burris of TARZAN at Cultural Park Theater

Three theater pros are at the helm of Cultural Park Theater's upcoming production of Tarzan. And the eldest is 23.

Tyler Young first attended the theater's summer camp when he was seven years old. From performing, he soon moved into tech work and even fundraising. Now he has six shows to his credit as a director, including last year's sold out Seussical, the Musical. Even though he has spent a good portion of his young life in the world of make believe, he has a practical side. His "day job" with his parents' electrical contracting firm draws on his business management degree from Florida Gulf Coast University.

Co-director for this production is Samantha Pudlin. Compared to Young, she was a late bloomer, only arriving at Cultural Park at age 15. With an associate degree in childcare from Florida SouthWestern State College, teaching in the theater's summer camp was a perfect fit. Since she has been singing "forever," she's now taken on the role of music director for several shows.

The last of the triumvirate is Emily Burris, the choreographer. She is still a student at FSW, majoring in fine arts and education. Having been the dance captain in a previous show with Pudlin, she was asked to choreograph for the first time last year.

Young invited prospective actors from age eight to 25 to audition for Tarzan.

"That seems like a strange age range, but including some more experienced people allows me to cast some who are new to acting," he explained. He plans to have a cast of 40 to 45.

"We will have levels in the set design so they all can fit on our small stage."

The audition process is as non-threatening as an audition can be. Tyler asks for 16 bars of a prepared song from any Broadway show (although he jokes that is not always what he gets.) Then the actors learn a dance combination which they perform in groups of five. At the first audition they are not required to read lines. That comes only if they are called back.

Tarzan was chosen because people are familiar with it. Young also likes the fact that the score was written specifically for the show, not songs superimposed on a script.

"We were down to two choices, this and James and the Giant Peach. Tarzan gives us the opportunity to cast more people." That's a benefit for a community group.

Young is already set to direct The 39 Steps, a non-musical comedy, in February. Pudlin plans to audition for The Pajama Game in January and Sister Act in March. Burris will be dance captain for The Pajama Game.

Tarzan runs September 8 through September 17, 2017. Cultural Park Theater is located at 528 Cultural Park Boulevard, Cape Coral. Call 239.772.5862 for tickets.

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