Mecca Productions was delighted to continue their tradition of top-quality family entertainment with the Tony-nominated Tarzan at the WMCA stage the first week of November. Based on the Disney animated movie, Phil Collins has expanded the sound track, including his Oscar-winning song 'You'll Be In My Heart' into a full Broadway score. Vibrant percussion, moving ballads and high-energy dance numbers captivated audiences of all ages.
Tarzan the Stage Musical is based on the novel Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Disney animated movie of the same name. The story if familiar: shipwrecked off the coast of Africa, the young son of an English couple is adopted by Kala, a gorilla, and raised in her tribe. An English explorer, Professor Porter and his daughter Jane 'discover' the tribe... and Tarzan.
Starring Aaron Check (former member of HOJA and accomplished musical theatre performer last seen as Enjorlras in Les Miserables) embraced the challenge of bringing the icon literary hero Tarzan to life for westman audience. Training for the physically demanding role began in early 2014. The production was visually and vocally spectacular! Audiences raved about Aaron's performance - one of the most outstanding to grace the WMCA stage!
Tarzan - Aaron Check
Kala - Katherine Sherris*, Ramey Praznik*, Lisa Vasconcelos*
Kerchak - Dean Munchinsky
Terk - Hannah Price*, Tiana Vasconcelos*
Jane Porter - Eva Stevenson, Lacey Tremaine
Professor Porter - Ken Jackson*
Mr Clayton - James Warnez
Leopard - Brenna Abbey
Young Tarzan - Ian Cox, Tyson Dornn
Arials - Christina Munchinsky, Jessica Granger, Lucas Vasconcelos, Bethanie Muchinsky
Snipes - Joe Lisa*
Expedition Crew - Greg Kirk*, John DeBeer*,
Deacon Bessant, Joel Durand, Dylan Burnell, Sara Taylor
Apes* - Brena Abbey, Fontine Beavis,
Kennedy DeBeer, Joel Durand, Alison Isaak,Joanna Labossiere-Laluk, Wanda Nicol, Rebecca Porteous, Jennifer Shelton, Kylee Swidnicki, Cam Tataryn, Sherri Thom, Tammy Wenham, Dylan Burnell
Young Apes: Madison Bower,Georgia Hayward, Mya Hlady, Abby Simard, Lily Simard, Ava Thexton, Carter Sherris, Deacon Bessant, Luke Muchinsky
Trashing the Camp Apes**
(will also appear in all ape chorus songs) - Brenna Abbey, Rosie Andrew, Fontine Beavis, Jessica Granger, Olivia Hayward, Sydney Huston, Ruby Keller, Arianna Laluk, Laura Pattison, Colby Pilling, Adynn Praznik, Avery Praznik, Aiden Simard, Emma Sul, Dane Szabo, Elly Szabo, Lucas Vasconcelos
Each year, casting our shows becomes easier... and more difficult.
Our fall musicals have become known across westman as professional-calibre productions staged by amateurs with a passion for theatre. Together we have produced shows that rival what could be seen on stages in much bigger centres, starring people who make a living in theatre. And we are proud of that! Everyone on stage and behind the scenes works hard to maintain that standard.
We knew heading into Tarzan that the show is built around the talent of one actor - Tarzan. Our initial rehearsals have amazed and inspired us. Aaron has created something very special in his portrayal of Tarzan. We know he will blow audiences away.
In this show, each of the supporting and ensembles roles require vocal, (specifically harmony), acting and movements skills, that are demanding. We were fortunate to have so many TERRIFIC men and women audition. We kept almost all of the adults who came to auditions - SUCH talent! We know you are going to make a very positive impact in this challenging show.
Over the past decade there have been so many wonderful people who have appeared on stage in our musicals in featured and supporting roles who come back year after year. And many have become my dear friends. Disappointing them is heart-breaking for me.
But the focus is and will remain on creating the very best theatre experience possible for audiences.
And almost always that means disappointing people I care a great deal about - that the entire team knows and cares about. I am sorry that there are people who will be disappointed. No one auditions for a part because he/she doesn't want the role.
As I've said, casting is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle... finding the right fit for each piece is never easy. And sometimes there just isn't a 'fit' - but that is NOT an indication of talent or likeability or how much we want to work with you - just to how the whole show comes together.
And because we try to pick shows that require children, the challenges around casting become more complicated. That is why I had each performer fill in a form that noted his/her past and current performing arts training and experience. Again, we were very fortunate to have so many fantastic kids audition.
It is clear to me is how important vocal and performance training is for young performers/children. Almost all the kids who auditioned are involved in musical theatre/performance training through Mecca and/or dance training. It was clear in either the vocal or dance section of the audition which kids aren't pursuing training in one or both areas.
And while it's not always necessary (some people are blessed with a skill set most of us have to work hard at to develop), it is always evident. And for a show like Tarzan, it makes a difference. We didn't keep all the kids who auditioned.
But THAT'S why we've added our spring kids musicals - to give kids of all ages and experience levels an opportunity to step on stage. That's why we keep teaching after school. We know the benefits to talent and character and confidence that come from being part of our classes. I am already looking forward to seeing all the kids who auditioned, and more, in the spring.
For those kids who weren't cast in Tarzan, or are disappointed in their role: hope to see you Feb 8th at the audtions for the kids' musicals. There is a spot for each of you.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support. Thank you ALL for taking the time to come and share your talent with us. I know it's a risk and I feel blessed that you feel comfortable to do that for our team.
For those taking part in Tarzan, we have built an amazing cast! I am excited to start rehearsals! And for this show to WOW audiences - I know it will! I look forward to seeing you at our full cast rehearsals this weekend! And to a great experience, on stage and off.