Apr 14, 2015

Tarzan, the Stage Musical: Major Loincloth-Clad Hunkage

With all of the movies, tv series, books, comic books, and toys surrounding Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan since his first appearance in the October 1912 issue of All Story Magazine, it makes sense that someone would attempt a musical.  One appeared in 2004, but based on the 1999 Disney animated feature, not on Burroughs.

The plot follows the movie: his parents shipwrecked on the coast of Africa and then killed, Tarzan is raised by apes. He and young naturalist Jane Porter meet and fall in love, in spite of the opposition of the ape tribe and the jealous interference of her guide, John Clayton.  The ape-human conflict is resolved in a monumental battle, Clayton goes back to England, and Jane stays in the jungle with Tarzan.

It is very heterosexist, but there is one queer spot: Terk, Tarzan's best friend in the ape tribe, is a girl in the movie, but in the play, a flamboyantly feminine, gay-vague buddy whose emotional attachment to Tarzan matches anything Jane could provide.

You're one of a kind, I can't explain it.
You're kind of cool, in a wonderful way.
Struggling along for years and years, until I came along for you.

The original Broadway production, with Josh Strickland as Tarzan, played for 486 performances in 2006 and 2007.  There have been many regional productions in the United States, plus international productions in the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and the Philippines, with such stars as Anton Zetterholm, James Royce Edwards, and Isaac Gay (left, playing Tarzan in the Children's Theater of Charlotte, North Carolina).

It's a favorite of high school, college, and community theaters, giving audiences all over the world the opportunity to see major loincloth-clad hunkage.