A Grand Debut

It’s difficult to think of a guy who’d be less at home in the admittedly picturesque canyons of Southern Utah.

Nonetheless, Tarzan, the venerable lord of the African jungle will, indeed, be hanging around Ivins, Utah, this summer as the Tuacahn Center for the Arts presents the Broadway musical "Tarzan" as part of its "Broadway in the Desert" series.

The opening of "Tarzan" on Monday at the Tuacahn Amphitheatre will mark the musical’s regional premiere and kick off Tuacahn’s 2010 season.

"Tarzan" will play in repertory with "Cats" through mid-August. Then, the musical spoof "Crazy for You" will replace "Cats" and play in repertory with "Tarzan" through Oct. 16.

"Tarzan" is based on the 1999 Disney animated film, which was, itself, based on the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Scott S. Anderson, Tuacahn’s artistic director and director of "Tarzan," said that, after seeing the play on Broadway and then in Europe, he figured it’d be a great fit for Tuacahn.

For one thing, "Tarzan" is "a family-perceived show," Anderson says. But also, he continues, thanks to the classic movies, the novels and more recent iterations such as the Disney film, the play surely will keep everybody from kids to boomers to seniors entertained.

Nor does it hurt that "Tarzan" is a dynamic show. There’s a flood, some flying actors and, Anderson notes, some "pretty amazing" songs by Phil Collins, including the Oscar-winning "You’ll Be in My Heart."

"I just thought it had elements that could work," Anderson says, and that "our audiences would love to see it."

Still, Anderson admits that when he approached Disney a few years ago, they weren’t all that familiar with Tuacahn. Actually, he admits with a laugh, "they had no clue."

Anderson responded with a yearlong campaign that included sending Disney videos and photos of the Broadway-level productions, from "Footloose" to "Les Miserables," Tuacahn has produced. "I bugged them about a year until they got tired of me calling," he jokes.

But, it worked and, Anderson says, "Disney has been amazing."

"Tarzan" is "not an easy show to produce," he notes. "I call it Peter Pan on steroids."

There are, for example, several audience-wowing but technically complicated effects. On the upside, "Tarzan" can benefit from the flood effects used in "Utah!" Tuacahn’s long-running historical production, as well as a flying system put in for a 2006 production of "Peter Pan."

But, technical wizardry aside, "Tarzan" is, Anderson says, "just a fun story for the family."

Meanwhile, when "Cats" takes the stage, Tuacahn’s repertory company will be joined by Lisa Hopkins Seegmiller in the role of Grizabella. Seegmiller portrayed Mimi in Baz Luhrmann’s 2003 Tony Award-winning Broadway production of "La Boheme."

Then, when the run of "Cats" concludes, "Crazy for You," winner of the 1992 Tony award for best musical, will alternate with "Tarzan." The show, with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, is particularly appropriate for Tuacahn because it portrays a slice of theater life in a decaying Nevada village.

"It’s a fun show," Anderson says. And, as for the notion of a musical set in the middle of a desert, he adds, "we thought that was great."

Anderson is optimistic about Tuacahn’s 2010 season. Last year, between 135,000 and 140,000 people attended shows there, he says, and the percentage of visitors from Southern Nevada has risen from about 5 percent to 9 percent during the past few seasons.

It could be related to a search for closer-to-home entertainment in tough economic times, he agrees. But, it also could have something to do with Tuacahn’s rising reputation among not only audiences, but actors as well.

Anderson recalls traveling to New York City for auditions, and having to show actors a video "so people could see where we came from." Now, he says, "we’ve built a nice reputation," an effort helped by the premiere of "Tarzan."

"I think it’s building," Anderson says, "and people are starting to look at this as a real entity in regional theater."

Tuacahn’s picturesque scenery can’t hurt, either. Tuacahn also hosts concerts — the schedule for 2010 includes Styx and the Doobie Brothers — and, Anderson says, "artists I’ve talked to say: ‘Please, book me again. This is an amazing setting.’ And we get that constantly from everyone."

For more information, visit Tuacahn’s website (www.tuacahn.org).

Contact reporter John Przybys at jprzybys@review journal.com or 702-383-0280.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like