Tuacahn’s ‘Tarzan’ has all the elements of entertainment success

by Rachelle Hughes

“Tarzan” is staging a comeback at Tuacahn’s 2016 season by popular demand and it is still a flying success.

In 2010, Tuachan brought the stage musical based on Disney’s film to Southern Utah. It was an audience favorite and so popular demand brought back a fan favorite that continues to be one of Tuacahn’s best productions in their repertoire, probably because there is never a dull moment on the stage.

This is what could be termed a very acrobatic play. In fact, the “Waiting for this Moment” number feels as if it could be incorporated into a Cirque de Soleil production. Butterflies, glowing caterpillars and insects are flying, spinning and twirling around Jane (Kari Yancy) as she makes her entrance into the jungle.

The most exciting element of this play is indeed the constant flying and swinging that takes place from the very wild and whimsical set designed by Brad Shelton. A shout out must go to Paul Rubin for his genius choreography of the flying sequences. If Tarzan is not swinging in from the cliffs or over the amphitheater the apes certainly are hanging about. Rigging and wire work aside (which is impressive), there is a certain level of fearlessness that this show’s performers must possess. It would be impossible to walk away from this musical without feeling a little in awe of the ensemble, Tarzan and Jane and the other apes.

Of course there is more to love about this fun musical. Phil Collins’ music and lyrics is well sung and performed in Tuacahn’s performance. Both the young Tarzan (Cairo McGee) and Tarzan (Scott Mulligan) portray a wild, humorous and inquisitive innocence in their Tarzans. The fact that they can sing and flip about is an added bonus. Tarzan’s ape parents are equally talented. Kerchak (Korrie Lee Blossey) is convincing as the patriarch of the Ape family and never breaks character or his perfection of movement as a great ape of the jungle. Kala (Belen Moyano) is a beautiful mother figure and has an even more beautiful voice. Professor Porter (Lawrence Asher), Jane’s father, is ebullient, enthusiastic and absolutely lovable. Yancy’s Jane is completely fearless. Tuacahn did an excellent job in casting these roles.

Tarzan’s story has all the elements of entertainment success: tender and funny moments, turmoil and loss, and hope and love. Tuacahn has added the adventure, the flash and the special effects that bring the magic and excitement that is synonymous with Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Once again, Tarzan promises to be an audience favorite.

Tarzan plays at Tuachan Ampitheatre through Oct. 12.

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