Last June 23, my best friend and I booked the day to watch Disney’s Tarzan: The Stage Musical show at the Meralco Theater. Here’s the show’s description taken from the program booklet:
Based on Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan of the Apes and the smash-hit 1999 Disney animated film, TARZAN tells the story of an infant boy orphaned on the shores of West Africa. Taken in and raised by a tribe of gorillas, the young boy strives for acceptance by his ape father while grappling with his uniqueness. When a human expedition enters their territory, Tarzan – now a man – encounters strangers like himself for the first time.
TARZAN features music and lyrics by pop icon Phil Collins, including the Grammy and Oscar winning song, “You’ll Be in My Heart”, and book by Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang.
I truly enjoy watching theatrical plays. I’ve actually seen quite a number of shows already. While a few disappoint me, there are some that impress me a lot and Disney’s Tarzan falls on the latter. True, I’ve watched the Disney version movie several times and most of you might have as well, but what make the show worth-watching are the live singing and acting.
My familiarity of the story in the movie does not stop me from watching the musical version. I am honestly intrigued to find out how the production team will impress their audiences especially since the show’s cast mostly consists of animal characters. And most of all, I’m dying to know who they will appoint for the lead role of Tarzan. I must say, the chosen cast should come in a whole package: not just good looks, but the talent should be there as well.
Who would’ve thought that Dan Domenech, an international celebrity, would portray the character of Tarzan? And Rachelle Ann Go as Jane? These two just convince me more to anticipate the show and raise my standard on this musical even higher. I just hope it’ll live up to my expectations.
Upon entering the theater, the stage is already breathtaking. Even though it’s just the outline prop being shown, it still evokes a Tarzan-liness feeling to the audience. And the rest of the props simply blow our minds away. The trees, vines, rocks… everything is done with intricate designs. It’s like the audience is being transported to the jungle world and get a glimpse of the life of gorillas as well as Tarzan’s.
I could say the same for the costumes. The costumes of gorillas are weaved creatively and colorful up to the very detail. They’re not the usual costumes you could see anywhere. The single strips sewn together and worn on the arms, legs, and shoulders allow some room for mobility as they follow the movement of the body. Furthermore, Jane’s costumes indicate sophistication and class, far from the jungle life, as what is really intended by the show. And lastly, the picturesque costumes of the different plant species Jane comes across are strikingly stunning. In fact, I am still at awe just thinking about the costumes.
Of course, everything wouldn’t be the same without the cast. Each one of them is fit for his and/or her role and that’s impressive enough to see them perform live. All cast members are able to deliver their lines well. Even the young Terk and Tarzan amaze me with their God-given talents. Dan Domenech also perfectly portrays how to act like an ape man, with the body posture and movement. The same goes for those who played the gorillas, especially Ima Castro, Calvin Millado, and Jeffrey Hidalgo. And most of all, I’m very much surprised to see how well Rachelle Ann Go performed. I’ve known her to be a good singer, but I haven’t witnessed her skills when it comes to acting (I wasn’t able to watch her debut role in The Little Mermaid). During the show, it is evident that she even flawlessly captures the British accent of Jane.
All in all, hands down to the cast and crew behind this successful show. Just as I fell in love with their performance, I also fell in love with the songs. Through the famous song, You’ll Be in My Heart, I could undeniably feel the love of a mother to her child. The way they sing the songs has certainly reached my heart unexpectedly. All of them sing well and naturally and that’s what makes the show more entertaining to watch. I could watch the show again for the second time if I were given a chance.
Disney’s Tarzan is not just a romantic story about two persons falling in love, but it tackles about the importance of family as well. I’m definitely looking forward to more shows like this in the future. I truly enjoyed this show and it has definitely lived up to my expectations. Directed by Chari Arespacochaga, Disney’s Tarzan: The Stage Musical has surely won my heart.