Richard Rodgers Theatre, (5/10/2006 - 7/08/2007)

First Preview: Mar 24, 2006
Opening Date: May 10, 2006
Closing Date: Jul 08, 2007
Total Previews: 35
Total Performances: 486

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Setting: The West African Shore

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Nederlander Organization (James M. Nederlander: Chairman; James L. Nederlander: President)

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher); Associate Producer: Marshall B. Purdy

Music by Phil Collins; Lyrics by Phil Collins; Book by David Henry Hwang; Music orchestrated by Doug Besterman; Based on the Disney film "Tarzan", Screenplay by: Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker and Noni White; Based on the story ''Tarzan of the Apes" by: Edgar Rice Burroughs; Based on the Disney film "Tarzan", Directed by: Kevin Lima and Chris Buck; Vocal arrangements by Paul Bogaev; Dance arrangements by Jim Abbott; Musical Director: Jim Abbott; Music Produced by Paul Bogaev

Directed by Bob Crowley; Choreographed by Meryl Tankard; Aerial Design by Pichón Baldinu; Associate Director: Jeff Lee

Scenic Design by Bob Crowley; Costume Design by Bob Crowley; Lighting Design by Natasha Katz; Sound Design by John Shivers; Hair Design by David Brian Brown; Make-Up Design by Naomi Donne; Soundscape: Lon Bender; Special Creatures: Ivo Coveney; Associate Scenic Design: Brian Webb; Scenic Design Associate: Rosalind Coombes; Associate Costume Design: Mary Nemecek Peterson; Associate Lighting Design: Yael Lubetzky; Associate Sound Design: David Patridge

Company Manager: Randy Meyer; Associate Co. Mgr: Eduardo Castro

Production Supervisor: Clifford Schwartz; Technical Supervisor: Tom Shane Bussey; Project Manager: Lizbeth Cone; Production Stage Manager: Clifford Schwartz; Stage Manager: Frank Lombardi

Musical Coordinator: Michael Keller; Conducted by Jim Abbott; Associate Conductor: Ethan Popp; Synthesizer Programmer: Andrew Barrett; Keyboard 1: James Abbott; Keyboard 2: Ethan Popp; Keyboard 3: Martyn Axe; Drums: Gary Seligson; Percussion: Roger Squitero and Javier Diaz; Bass: Hugh Mason; Guitar: J.J. McGeehan; Cello: Jeanne LeBlanc; Flutes: Anders Bostrom; Reeds: Charles Pillow; Trumpet: Anthony Kadleck; Trombone: Bruce Eidem; French Horn: Theresa MacDonnell; Music Preparation: Anixter Rice Music Service

Fight direction by Rick Sordelet; Dance Captain: Marlyn Oritz; Casting: Bernard Telsey Casting, Inc.; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Fight Captain: Stefan Raulston; Advertising: Serino Coyne, Inc.; Photographer: Joan Marcus; Dialogue and Vocal Coach: Deborah Hecht

[See More]

Opening Night Cast

Josh Strickland
Broadway Debut
Merle DandridgeKala
Jenn GambateseJane Porter
Chester Gregory IITerk
Shuler HensleyKerchak
(Mar 24, 2006 - Feb 28, 2007)
Timothy JeromeProfessor Porter
Donnie R. KeshawarzMr. Clayton
Daniel MancheYoung Tarzan
Alex RutherfordYoung Tarzan
Marcus BellamyEnsemble
Celina CarvajalEnsemble
Dwayne ClarkEnsemble
Kearran GiovanniEnsemble
Michael HollickEnsemble
Kara MadridEnsemble
Kevin MasseyEnsemble
Anastacia McCleskeyEnsemble
Rika OkamotoEnsemble
Marlyn OritzEnsemble
John Elliott Oyzon Ensemble
Andy PellickEnsemble
Stefan RaulstonEnsemble
Horace V. RogersEnsemble
Sean SamuelsEnsemble
Niki ScaleraEnsemble

Swings: Veronica deSoyza, Joshua Kobak, Whitney Osentoski, Angela Phillips, Nick Sanchez, Natalie Silverlieb, J.D. Aubrey Smith and Rachel Stern

Standby: Darrin Baker (Kerchak, Professor Porter)

Understudies: Celina Carvajal (Jane Porter), Dwayne Clark (Terk), Kearran Giovanni (Kala), Michael Hollick (Kerchak, Mr. Clayton, Professor Porter), Joshua Kobak (Mr. Clayton, Tarzan), Kevin Massey (Tarzan), Horace V. Rogers (Kerchak), Nick Sanchez (Terk), Niki Scalera (Jane Porter) and Natalie Silverlieb (Kala)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2006 Best Lighting Design of a Musical [nominee] 

Natasha Katz


music by Phil Collins; lyrics by Phil Collins

ACT 1 Sung By
Two WorldsVoice of Tarzan and Ensemble
You'll Be in My HeartKala and Ensemble
Jungle FunkInstrumental
Who Better Than Me?Terk and Young Tarzan
No Other WayKerchak
I Need to KnowYoung Tarzan
Son of ManEnsemble and Tarzan
Son of Man (Reprise) Terk, Tarzan and Ensemble
Sure As Sun Turns to MoonKala and Kerchak
Waiting for This MomentJane Porter and Ensemble
ACT 2 Sung By
Trashin' the CampTerk and Ensemble
Like No Man I've Ever SeenJane Porter and Professor Porter
Strangers Like MeTarzan, Jane Porter and Ensemble
For the First TimeJane Porter and Tarzan
Who Better Than Me? (Reprise) Terk
Everything That I AmYoung Tarzan, Tarzan, Kala and Ensemble
You'll Be in My Heart (Reprise) Tarzan and Kala
Sure As Sun Turns to Moon (Reprise) Kala
Two WorldsJane Porter, Tarzan and Ensemble


AP: "Disney Brings Tarzan to Broadway"

Tarzan, baby, you've come a long way from the days of Johnny Weissmuller - and that's not necessarily a compliment.

Hollywood's most famous incarnation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle hero might have a hard time recognizing the new version of himself, the one unveiled Wednesday at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre. That's where Disney opened a stage adaptation of its 1999 animated film.

And while the elaborate production is visually stunning, the show, directed and designed by Bob Crowley, is emotionally and musically lightweight - almost as skimpy as Tarzan's leather loincloth.

Weissmuller was a beefy guy, and his Tarzan had a distinct personality, something never quite achieved by any of his cinematic successors such as Lex Barker, Gordon Scott or Jock Mahoney.

Josh Strickland, Broadway's Tarzan, is bland, boyish and bulk-free - the Ape Man by way of Abercrombie & Fitch. The biggest thing about him is his voice. It is one of those piercing instruments favored by contestants on "American idol," where Strickland apparently was once a national finalist.

It's a voice perfectly suited to the pop songs of Phil Collins, who has augmented his "Tarzan" movie score, including the Academy Award-winning "You'll Be in My Heart," with more than a half-dozen undistinguished new songs. The music, while melodic, is not theatrical. It's anthemlike in presentation, and, more often than not, stalls David Henry Hwang's straightforward if not terribly involving recitation of how Tarzan came to be and his subsequent identity crisis.

The Disney movie was short on plot and so is the stage version. The evening starts with a terrific shipwreck, tossing father, mother and baby on the shores of Africa. The parents are soon dead, plunging to their deaths after being pursued by a fierce, scary leopard. (Theatergoers with small children be warned.) The youngster is rescued by a female gorilla, who raises the tyke as her own.

We watch Tarzan growing up - a role played at different performances by Daniel Manche and Alex Rutherford - under the watchful eye of his surrogate parents (portrayed by Merie Dandridge and Shuler Hensley). They are suitably grave and majestic.

Crowley's ape costumes accentuate fuzzy, almost feathery bodies and heads, but the faces remain human. They give the performers room to bound and leap across the jungle setting. That movement is the work of several people, most notably Pichon Baldinu, who did the aerial design and Meryl Tankard, in charge of the athletic choreography. It's exhausting.

Crowley, best known for his Tony-winning sets for the Lincoln Center Theater revival of "Carousel" and Disney's "Aida," gives his all in the design department. And his work is quite eye-popping.

The dominant color of the vine-tangled setting is green, lush shades that range from dark emerald to Kelly green to almost chartreuse. But the designer doesn't rest with a jungle setting. There's a lovely nighttime rendezvous for Tarzan and Jane, complete with a large moon, similar to the orb he created for "Carousel."

The mammoth settings tend to dwarf the performers, particularly when the intrepid foreigners arrive to collect exotic flora and fauna. Jane, the incessantly perky British botanist, is portrayed by Jenn Gambatese with her cheerfulness amped up to the rafters, while Tim Jerome shows commendable restraint as her kindly father. Their impetuous, gun-toting American guide, played by Donnie Keshawarz, is a pallid villain, and his comeuppance by Tarzan is remarkably anticlimactic.

But then the sparks between Jane and Tarzan don't exactly ignite either. And humor is scarce, too, although a smidgen can be found in the performance of Chester Gregory II as Terk, the most jivin' and incongruously streetwise of the apes. He gets to lead the crew in Collins' jazzy "Trashin' the Camp," the catchiest number in the film and on stage.

In one of the musical's most accomplished bits of stagecraft, a huge butterfly swings and soars over the audience.

With a musical as unfortunately earthbound as "Tarzan," you have to appreciate every high-flying moment you can get.


Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Richard Rodgers Theatre

(5/10/2006 - 7/8/2007)
Assistant Co. Mgr: Francesca Panagopoulos.

Production Stage Manager: Frank Lombardi; Stage Manager: Kenneth McGee; Assistant Stage Mgr: Allison A. Lee.

Dance Captain: Marlyn Ortiz(circa. Jan 2007 - ?).


J. Bradley Bowers
Young Tarzan Alternate
Veronica deSoyza
Ensemble (circa. Jan 2007 - ?)
Andrea Dora
Broadway debut
Ensemble (circa. Jan 2007 - ?)
Robert Evan
Kerchak (Mar 28, 2007 - Jul 8, 2007)
Gregory Haney
Michael Hollick
Mr. Clayton
Jonathan Johnson
Kara Madrid
Waterfall Ribbon Dancer
Andy Pellick
Nicholas Rodriguez
Broadway debut
Ensemble (circa. Jan 2007 - ?)
Horace V. Rogers
Lead Song of Man Vocals
Kepani Salgado-Ramos
Dylan Riley Snyder
Broadway debut
Young Tarzan Alternate
(Sep 15, 2006 - ?)

Swings: Ven Daniel, Alayna Gallo Broadway debut, Jeslyn Kelly Broadway debut, Allison Thomas Lee, Marlyn Ortiz Broadway debut, Michael James Scott.

Standbys: Christopher Carl (Kerchak, Professor Porter).

Understudies: Andrea Dora Broadway debut (Kala), Nicholas Rodriguez Broadway debut (Tarzan), Natalie Silverlieb (Jane Porter).

View full site