Tarzan is a musical based on the 1999 Disney animated feature film of the same name and the story by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Music and lyrics are written by Phil Collins, with a book by David Henry Hwang. Bob Crowley designed and directed the original production. The musical began previews March 24, 2006, and officially opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway on May 10, making it the only Disney Theatrical Productions production without an out-of-town tryout. Danton Burroughs, grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs, attended the opening night gala, as did Phil Collins. The production was nominated for a Tony award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Natasha Katz). Due to poor ticket sales, the show closed on July 8, 2007 after 35 previews and 486 performances.
The musical follows the plot of the Tarzan, with a few minor changes. Terk, who was a female in the film, is a male in the musical. The major character of Tantor the elephant is completely cut from the musical.
Off of the West African coast, a young English couple and their newborn son barely survive a shipwreck and land in Africa. They construct a tree house for their son before being killed by a leopard. In the African Jungle, Kerchak, the leader of a tribe of gorillas admires his new infant son with his mate, Kala ("Two Worlds"). The leopard suddenly appears and kidnaps the newborn baby gorilla. Kala goes off to find her son but finds the human boy instead and names him Tarzan. She mothers him and raises him despite Kerchak's refusal to treat Tarzan as his son ("You'll Be In My Heart"). Tarzan cannot keep up with the tribe and Kerchak views him as a threat. Tarzan is befriended by the lighthearted Terk, a young gorilla who teaches him the ways of the gorillas ("Who Better Than Me"). Kerchak finds Tarzan constructing a spear and he exiles him from the gorilla tribe ("No Other Way"). Kala worries for him and goes off to find him. She discovers him despairing by the water's edge ("I Need To Know"). Kala tells him that even though they look different, underneath the skin, they are just the same. Years pass and the young boy grows into a young man, athletic and resourceful ("Son of Man"). Kala tries to convince Kerchak to accept Tarzan ("Sure As Sun Turns To Moon"). Kerchak won't change his mind until Tarzan kills the leopard that has been terrorizing the tribe. Suddenly, gunshots are heard throughout the jungle, causing the tribe to scatter, but Tarzan investigates. Deep in the jungle, Jane Porter, a young English naturalist, is overwhelmed by the thrillingly diverse jungle life ("Waiting For This Moment"). While exploring, she is attacked by a giant spider but is rescued by Tarzan. Tarzan and Jane carefully assess each other as they realize their similar qualities ("Different").
At the Porter expedition site, Terk and the other gorillas do some redecorating ("Trashin' The Camp"). Jane returns to the site with Tarzan, and she is thrilled by the tribe of gorillas. Kerchak arrives and scares the gorillas off. Jane tries to convince her father, Professor Porter, and their guide, Clayton that she discovered a wild man and a tribe of apes. Kerchak forbids contact with the humans but Tarzan and Jane grow to love each other and Jane tells her father more about the wild ape man ("Like No Man I've Ever Seen"). Clayton becomes jealous of their love. Jane tries to teach Tarzan more about humans and human life ("Strangers Like Me"), as she tries to cope with her emotions ("For The First Time"). She tries to tell her father to stop the plans of killing the gorillas but Clayton refuses and tricks Tarzan into taking the humans to the gorilla nesting grounds. Tarzan asks Terk to help him by keeping Kerchak away, and Terk agrees ("Who Better Than Me (Reprise)"). Kerchak arrives anyway, scattering the humans and demanding that Tarzan choose who he is. Kala shows Tarzan the treehouse his parents built and he discovers all of their belongings ("Everything That I Am"). He decides to go to England with Jane and live as a human and he tells Kala his decision ("You'll Be In My Heart (Reprise)"). Clayton kills Kerchak and the tribe convinces Tarzan that they need him to stay ("Sure As Sun Turns To Moon (Reprise)"). Jane agrees to stay with Tarzan in the jungle ("Two Worlds (Reprise)").
Phil Collins, who wrote five songs for Tarzan, wrote nine new songs for the stage version.
- "Two Worlds" – Voice of Tarzan and Ensemble
- "You'll Be In My Heart" – Kala and Ensemble
- "Jungle Funk" – Ensemble
- "Who Better than Me?" – Young Tarzan and Terk
- "No Other Way" – Kerchak
- "I Need to Know" – Young Tarzan
- "Son of Man" – Terk and Ensemble
- "Son of Man (Reprise)" – Terk and Ensemble
- "Sure as Sun Turns to Moon" – Kala and Kerchak
- "Waiting for this Moment" – Jane and Ensemble
- "Different (Part 1 & 2)" – Tarzan
- "Trashin' the Camp" – Terk and Ensemble
- "Like No Man I've Ever Seen" – Jane and Professor Porter
- "Strangers Like Me" – Tarzan and Jane
- "For the First Time" – Jane and Tarzan
- "Who Better Than Me? (Reprise)" – Terk and Tarzan
- "I Need to Know (Reprise)" – Young Tarzan
- "Everything that I Am" – Tarzan and Kala
- "You'll Be In My Heart (Reprise)" – Tarzan and Kala
- "Sure As Sun Turns to Moon (Reprise)" – Kala
- "Two Worlds (Finale)" – Tarzan, Jane, and Ensemble
Original Broadway cast
- Josh Strickland as Tarzan
- Jennifer Gambatese as Jane
- Shuler Hensley as Kerchak
- Merle Dandridge as Kala
- Chester Gregory II as Terk
- Tim Jerome as Professor Porter
- Donnie Keshawarz as Clayton
- Daniel Manche / Alex Rutherford as Young Tarzan
Differences from the film and musical
- The character of Tantor the elephant is cut from the musical.
- Instead of scaring the elephants off to make Kerchak angry, Tarzan fashions a spear making Kerchak think he intends to hurt the gorillas.
- Terk is male and an adult in the entire musical.
- Jane is attacked by a giant spider before being rescued by Tarzan and wasn't chased by baboons like in the film.
- Clayton is American in the musical instead of British like in the film
- Clayton seems to have more of a romantic attraction for Jane.
- Sabor appears to be a black panther rather than a leopard and has glowing red eyes.
- Instead of Clayton get himself killed, he was arrested after he and Tarzan fight when Clayton killed Kerchak.
Awards and nominations
|John Kraaijkamp Musical Award |
|Beste grote musical (Best big musical)||Won in 2008|
|Beste vrouwelijke hoofdrol in een grote musical (Best female lead in a big musical) (Chantal Janzen as Jane)||Nominated|
|Beste Mannelijke Bijrol in een Grote Musical (Best supporting actor in a big musical) (Clayton Peroti as Tark)||Won in 2007|
|Beste Creatieve Prestatie (Best creative prestation) (Sergio Trujillo)||Nominated|
|Beste Inhoudelijke Prestatie (Best Performance Content) (Martine Bijl)||Nominated|
|Beste Inhoudelijke Prestatie (Best Performance Content) (Phil Collins)||Nominated|
|Beste Ontwerper (Best designer) (Pichón Baldinu)||Nominated|
|Beste Ontwerper (Best designer) (Bob Crowley)||Nominated|
|Nashuatec Musical Award voor Aanstormend Talent (Musical Award for upcoming talent) (Ron Link as Tarzan)||Won in 2007|