‘Tarzan’ swings onto stage

Annual GCHS musical a ‘smash!’

A big cast of student actors and actresses complemented Jane and Tarzan in GCHS’s annual fall musical held last week. Photos by Anthony Militano

The Grand County High School Drama Department presented, “Tarzan: The Musical” based on the 1999 Disney animated film and the 2006 Broadway stage production on Nov. 21 through Saturday, Nov. 23, in the Grand County High School auditorium.

During the Friday night performance, Maralee Francis, head of the Grand County High School Drama Department, thanked parents and the community at large for their continued support of the high school arts programs. She also thanked the Phoenix Youth Circus Arts. PYCA came to Moab in July and local youngsters learned how to safely perform circus tricks through instructional workshops and clinics.

Liam Clark, left, and Julia Crane played young Tarzan and Terk, respectively, during the Grand County High School theater department’s production of “Tarzan: The Musical.”

“This great group of people comes to Moab every summer and they offer a circus camp … they helped us with some of the things that you will see, some of the magic that will take place tonight and we are so grateful for that,” Francis remarked.

The play opened with dramatic lighting and special effects. Last year, Josie Wakefield had a supporting role as Susan in “White Christmas.” This year, Wakefield earned the title role as Jane and her singing talents were on full display.

Dallin Stucki played Tarzan and his costume was the stuff of comic book perfection. There were some funny moments in “Tarzan,” but Stucki played the character pretty straightforward. He was not passive eye candy or a brutish fool. Stucki’s portrayal of the character was that of a man struggling to be a man, struggling with questions of power and responsibility.

Kerchak and Kala were Tarzan’s adopted ape parents. The themes of compassion, communication and tolerance can be found throughout the performance. Kerchak, played by Hayden Lance and Kala, portrayed by Emma Millis, personified those themes.

Tarzan the musical
Kerchak, left, played by Hayden Lance and Kala (Emma Millis) rescue and take in Tarzan.

Lance had body movements that gave the impression he was a tough old ape, a leader with a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. Millis, through facial expressions, conveyed a mother’s empathy, angst and anguish.

Liam Clark had the role of young Tarzan. Julia Crane was Terk, Tarzan’s friend and mentor. Crane was silly and serious and every boy should be so lucky to have a Terk as his life coach.

There were great special effects, there was Academy Award-winning music by Phil Collins and yes, Tarzan and Jane did swing on vines. “Tarzan: The Musical” was magical from start to finish.