Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Centers of Learning by the Sea’s Production of “The Jungle Book”

Fans of the Disney movie will really enjoy the play version of The Jungle Book presented by Centers of Learning by the Sea and directed by Sam Teres, Nicol Reeves, Becca Lundy, and Michele Jacobs. Based on the screenplay by Larry Clemmons and the novel by Rudyard Kipling, the play tells the story of Mowgli, a feral child living in the jungles of India and his journey to reach a human village. On his way he encounters many animals that befriend him, and some that want to hurt him. The play is a musical, with many charming numbers sung by the cast. There is a soothing, gentle quality to the singing and choreography, an elegant delicacy that is pleasing and adds to the magical atmosphere created onstage. The play is impressionistic, relying more on imagery and music, rather than a strict plot line.

Brandon Doiron plays the hesitant Mowgli with a quiet self-assurance. Amy Anthenill as Baloo the bear is charming and friendly, and Kendra French as Bagheera the panther is strong and feline. The musical number The Bare Necessities, always a favorite of Jungle Book fans, did not disappoint. Brigitte Marzoni makes for a scene-stealing Shere Khan with a great voice and powerful stage presence. Eliana Payne is hilarious as Kaa, the cobra, and makes much use of her tail played by Kalea Schmid, Ivanna Macias, and Tiffany Seymour. The musical number Trust in Me when Kaa tries to hypnotize Mowgli is comical, endearing, and very creative. Andrey Payne is very simian in his role as King Louie. Kaitlin Willis is the cutest bumble-bee ever. Also playing are the lovely Liz Lugo as a flower and as militaristic, bombastic head elephant, the comical Mia Doudera as a baby elephant, Julianna Conradi as a vulture, and Amber Ellis as a musical palm tree.

The play was choreographed by Becca Lundy, Nicol Reeves, and Michelle Jacobs. The musical directors are Sam Teres and Nicol Reeves. The Jungle Book’s music and lyrics are by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, and Terry Gilkyson. The Jungle Book is playing at Centers of Learning by the Sea, Friday and Saturday May 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. The address is 950 Garland Dr. San Diego, CA 92154. For more information call 619-575-1667.

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