Tarzan swings! That’s not a cliché, it’s a fact! At NoHo’s historic El Portal Theatre TARZAN The Stage Musical is swinging through May 18 with a fun and sumptuous musical for the entire family.
The cozy Monroe Forum Theatre has been transformed to a lush jungle for the setting of the story is based on the hit Disney animated film adapted from the beloved Edgar Rice Burroughs classic. It is a story that has been embraced by generations, and this entertaining Kelrik Production spotlights the evergreen themes of love and acceptance.
Bringing it to life are extraordinary performers. Tyler Scherer is picture perfect as the hunky yet puzzled dreadlocked Tarzan who was raised by apes yet exudes the best of humanity. With an exceptionally lovely voice Kristin Towers-Rowles plays Jane with adventurous spunk. But it’s the tenderness of Katherine Washington as Kala, Tarzan’s gorilla mom that gives the show its heart. Her nurturing scenes singing “You’ll Be in My Heart” makes the entire show crystallize as a family tale. Engaging young Tarzans alternate performances, with talented Kameron Kotraba or William Spanger.
Adding strength to the cast is Dedrick A. Bonner playing Kerchak, Tarzan’s stoic ape dad. The scene-stealing comical Tevin Kyrell has the role of Tarzan’s pal Terk; Robert Towers is Jane’s understanding father; and the great villain of the piece is Dylan F. Thomas, plus his sidekick Antonio Ardolino. The wild ensemble in stylized gorilla costumes stay in character as they “monkey around” with choreography by Samantha Marie.
The show starts with a shipwrecked baby discovered by a mother gorilla, and the boy grows up happy to be part of the swinging family until British explorers discover him. It’s all set to original Phil Collins music, and enhanced by Erik Austin’s direction, highly imaginative set construction by Mark Hughes, scenic painting by Buffy Doran, and effective lighting design by Craig Batory.
TARZAN The Stage Musical runs through May 18 at the El Portal’s Monroe Forum located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets call (818) 508-4200, or online elportaltheatre.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 1 p.m. Kelrik Productions are dedicated to education entertainment. For information, visit kelrikproductions.org.