How was your experience?
Tarzan, the Stage Musical-an review (or: Monkey See, Monkey Doo---too bad I didn’t!) Having freshly washed, vacuumed and gassed up the Huffmobile, I ventured once again into the Land of Pear, and the opulent Pearl Necklace Theatre, a modest venue which seats about 1,200 intimate theatre-goers, to witness the spectacle that is Tarzan, the Stage Musical. As you , my Gentle readers know, Tarzan is a work of fiction from famed author Edgar Rice Pilaf (who also invented the side dish), as an homage to his own father, abandoned as a baby, and raised by a group of feral organ-grinder monkeys. To say that director Nathan Lane Hand has reached into his purse (Prada?) and pulled out another gem as deftly as a magician might pull a bunny from a silk top hat, serves only to trivialize a fait accompli unmatched since the Giants took the series! Working in tandem, the happy twosome of Ed and Robyn DeBris produced a set which was both resplendent and transcendent, transporting the audience from the Town of Pear to the very heart of the Dark Continent (or, perhaps, the Rainforest Café). The stage was beautifully lit by conjoined twins Annalea and Kitten Kaboodle (last seen in the musical Sideshow as Sister Mary Francis and Rabbi Ginsberg). Musical Direction was provided by none other than Heather (Do It AGAIN!) Tipsword, marking the 29th collaboration with Mr. Hand (get a room you two!). Mrs. Tipsword’s affable husband, Geric, provided head ushering services, and you have never been “ushed”: until it’s been by him. William Q. Lundgren had the formidable tasks of Chief Monkey Wrangler and Styrofoam repair man, and was sporting a look reminiscent of the Egyptian Boy-King Toot Uncommon. Billy is unparalleled in modern theatre when it comes to lighting glow tape. As this review is running long, and my tum-tum is growling, I will be unable to review each of the sixty-three ensemble players, and will have to focus on a few standouts… First and foremost, Jimmy “Cabbage Patch” Jackson who played the infant Tarzan, hit all of the right notes with his retinue of facial expressions, evoking all of the stoicism of the future grown Tarzan. Stephanie Politte as Kala, Tarzan’s adopted mama-from-another-species, belted her solo numbers with carefree aplomb. She did drop “Cabbage Patch” on his head twice at our performance, which elicited quite a bit of giggling from the audience when they realized Stephanie isn’t real! Famed tenor, David Whatsittuya was superbly intimidating as Perchik, the Jewish Ape Tailor (from Old Money!), as was Cara-Hope Tomlinson (Sabor tooth), who portrayed a vicious puma, whose threatening manner had yours truly sweating in places not usually moist outside of a sauna! Crystal (the Pistol) Sharadin as Flora, the Jungle Princess bubbled and frothed in her ingénue role (do not miss her solo tap number which leads off Act II!). Haley Landers (Jane Goodall) was appropriately saucy in the role of the vixen who engages in numerous “monkey shines” with the title character, played by the acrobatic Kiefer Slayton, whom cast mates have dubbed “The Abdominal Ape-man”! Neil Kirkpatrick was over-the-top funny in his recurring role of Steph Politte’s Dad. The oft-mentioned Renee Hinojosa doubled as Turkish Delight, Tarzan’s boyhood pal, and Concession Stand Sales at intermission. Renee can next be seen in the musical extravaganza (?) “Squatter’s Rights and Lefts” at the Tyne Daly Theatre and all-you-can-eat Pancake House. Renee’s beau, Meatball, added percussive insanity by shaking his maracas with Élan. At the after party, Élan didn’t show, so meatball shook his maracas solo. The talent in this production is matched only by the number of dirty feet (unseen since a trip to Haight-Asbury in ’69). My advice? Swing on over to the Pearl Necklace Theatre, and get carried away by Tarzan, the Stage Musical.