Parkrose High’s ‘Jungle Book’ opens May 8

Take a look at our preview of this great show – many say it’s better than the cartoon version …

Rehearsing their parts for their production of “The Jungle Book” are Parkrose High student actors Jacob Pratt, Victoria Kerr, Steven Ennis and Jacquelle Davis. The show runs May 8th through the 17th.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
It’s Spring Musical time … and Parkrose High School Thespian Troupe #1783 presents “The Jungle Book” starting this week.

This adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “Mowgli” story, by Mila Johanson, is more true to the author’s original short stories written more than 100 years ago than was the 1960s Disney cartoon version by the same title.

Based on watching the cast rehearse their parts, we’ve seen that this will be a fun, fast-paced musical. It’s loaded with songs, dance numbers, audience interaction, a colorful setting and lots of family fun. Little kids will enjoy this show as much as adults.

Story in a nutshell
The Jungle Book follows the story of a child, Mowgli (played by Jacquelle Davis), who is raised in the jungles of India by animals: Bagheera, a wise black panther (played by Jacob Pratt), and sleepy, goofy bear named Baloo (played by Steven Ennis).

Mowgli runs away with a band of monkeys – only to be held captive by them. Will the cunning rock python Kaa (played by Vctoria Kerr) help rescue Mowgli? Will all of the animals in the jungle learn — and act as if — they are truly “brothers of one blood”?

An interactive show
“Some the characters go out in the audience at different times, meeting and interacting with them,” said Ms. Zena, Parkrose High’s drama instructor.

“This is a fun show, with original, catchy music – people will walk away singing songs. It’s very bright and upbeat; it’s loaded with positive messages,” Zena added.

With lively songs, and spirited dance numbers, “The Jungle Book” will please all members of the family.

Show for all ages
The full-stage set is beautiful – the stage is transformed into a jungle wonderland. The scenery was built and decorated by students working under the direction of theater operations manager Terry Franceschi. Lighting changes effective depict changes in locations and time of day.

The live musical score, played under the baton of the school’s band instructor, Michael Tolon, helps move the story along. And, appropriately chosen recorded music effectively punctuates a dance number featuring an awakening jungle lion.

“While it is a sophisticated production,” said Zena, “This truly is a show for the entire family. We hope our community will come out and have a wonderful time with our cast and crew.”

Runs May 8 through May 17
Opening night is Thursday, May 8 and continues on May 9 with a 7:00 p.m. curtain time (please come early). and, there is a special matinee performance on Saturday, May 10 at 2:00 p.m. (no evening show on that date).

If you can’t make it this week, plan to see the show May 15, 16 or 17 – these are all evening performances.

The price is right; tickets at the door are: adults are $8; $5 for those 18 & under or 65+. It’s at the Parkrose High School Theater, 12003 NE Shaver St., near NE 122nd Avenue.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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