Feb 28, 2013 5:14 PM by Dan Shadwell, KSBY News

"Tarzan" is swinging into town in a new production at Unity in San Luis Obispo

A new version of the Disney musical that's played to sold-out crowds on Broadway.

You know the story... a shipwreck leaves an infant boy alone on the shores of west Africa, where he's adopted by a tribe of gorillas and raised as one of them.

The music by Phil Collins, is driven by a strong drumbeat and the choreography is aggressive.

Cody Pettit plays the lead role. He explains that in order to mimic the movement of great apes, the actors went through a sort of "gorilla boot-camp." He says it was fun, but taxing.

"The kids are great at it, because they're all very athletic and flexible and they like to roll around anyway," he says with a smile. "But we have a lot of adults in the cast, too and I tell you, my back and my legs were pretty sore for awhile."

Fortunately for the adult cast members, there are some periods of rest from the frenetic high-energy tunes. In fact one of the slower-paced ballads is probably the most identifiable "Tarzan" tune.

"The hit that everyone will know is, 'You'll be in my heart,' which was a top radio chart song, too," says Co-Director Erik Austin. "But it's all the Disney movie songs incorporated as well as eight new songs for the production."

For Tarzan, life in the jungle is good and simple, until other humans, particularly Jane... appear.

"He realizes that even though he has everything he needs in the jungle, there's more out there to be learned and he can really get more out of life," Pettit explains. "So it's a really great coming of age story. He needs to step out of his comfort zone."

Co-Director Sandy Scwarer says that question of where we fit best is one most people can relate to. "Where do you belong? Tarzan has to figure that out," she says with a smile, " and Jane ultimately has to figure it out." And strike the balance between nature and civilization.
Tarzan plays Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2 p-m through March 10th at Unity SLO.

The production is also partnering with "Sisters by Heart" to raise money for children with HLHS--hypo-plastic left heart syndrome.

For more information about the show, tickets, and HLHS, just click here.



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