Apple Tree Arts is presenting “The Jungle Book Kids” on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16, 7 p.m. at Grafton Middle School.
The musical is based upon the classic Disney film and was especially adapted for elementary school-aged actors. The main character is Mowgli, a man-cub who was abandoned and raised by wolves in the jungle. He is fine until Shere Kahn, the fierce tiger wants him to leave the jungle. Mowgli’s friend, Bagheera, the panther tries to take him to the safety of the man village. Along the way he has many adventures and meets new animal friends and foes.
The 31 cast members have learned music, dialogue and choreography for the performance. The ensemble actors portray animal characters including elephants, monkeys, snakes and bees and jungle plants such as trees, flowers and prickly pears. Students are from Grafton, Millbury, Northbridge, Sutton, Uxbridge and Berkley.
Mowgli is played by Nicholas Talbot of Grafton. Bagheera is played by Abi Edgren-Fortin of Grafton. Shere Kahn is portrayed by Nolan Psuik of Uxbridge. Baloo, the lovable bear, is played by Perry Drugan of Millbury. King Louie, the monkey leader, is a shared role played by Anna Dorosario and Claire Protano, both of Grafton. Colonel Hathi, the dotty elephant leader, is a shared role played by Rebecca Ashmore and Madison Luber, both of Grafton. The Coconut Tree and Shanti are shared roles played by Sydney Grass and Gabriella Klumpenaar, both of Grafton. Kaa the snake is played by Karly Leonard of Grafton. Kaa’s Coils are played by Gwen Sudol of Grafton, Danielle Donadio of Grafton, Isabella Cordova of Grafton, Eva Lavoie of Sutton, Gabriella Felder of Grafton and Valerie Caya of Northbridge.
“The musical was chosen because of its popularity with audiences and actors. People enjoy Disney shows,” explained Lisa Scarlett, theatre arts director. “The cast members are on the stage for the maximum amount of time too, which adds to the appeal of the production,” she added.
The show is co-directed by Scarlett and Laurie Baker, theatre arts and early childhood music teacher. The duo has co-directed many shows together including “Little Mermaid Jr.,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “King and I.”
Apple Tree Arts continues its Penny campaign established to assist with fundraising efforts to restore the second and third floors of the Grafton Town House into a performance arts center. Children are encouraged to bring their pennies and loose change to the show. Participants will be entered into a drawing for an iTunes gift card.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and free for children four and younger. Tickets will be sold at the door.