THE MANILA production of Tarzan: The Musical, based on the Walt Disney animated film which in turn was very loosely based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, about a man who grew up in the jungle with apes, was staged at the Meralco Theater from June 14 to June 29, captivating audiences with its fancy production design and popular tunes.

Some adjustments were made to cater to the Filipino audience. Costume designer Eric Pineda said he used native materials in constructing the costumes. The loincloth of Tarzan was made of hand-loomed native cloth to provide a Filipino flavor to the US-branded musical.

A few changes were made with the storyline. Terk, originally female in the film, was portrayed by a male actor in the musical while the character of Tantor, the elephant, was excised.

Original music and lyrics by Phil Collins were rendered for the Philippine platform by an orchestra headed by Conservatory of Music alumnus Ceejay Javier, who finished his degree in music major in piano performance in 2002.

Javier said of his 13-man band, nine were also UST alumni.

The Manila production was by Viva Atlantis Theatricals, Inc. (Viva-Atlantis) and directed by Chari Arespacochaga.

The show featured Broadway actor Dan Domenech as Tarzan, Rachelle Ann Go as Jane Porter, Ima Castro as Tarzan’s adoptive mother, Kala, Calvin Millado as Kala’s husband Kerchak, Jeffrey Hidalgo as Terk, Eugene Villaluz as Professor Porter and Arnel Carrion as the villain Clayton.

The Philippines is the tenth country where the musical was staged since it was first seen by an international audience in the Netherlands in 2007. Juan Carlos D. Moreno

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