The critically acclaimed musical adaptation of The Jungle Book will open in Boston’s Huntington theater on September 7, Broadway World reports. Rehearsals began last Tuesday for the musical’s limited run, already extended once due to popular demand. The musical recently played at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, where it became the best selling musical in the theater’s history.
The Jungle Book, reworked for the theater by Marry Zimmerman, is the result of a collaboration between the Goodman Theatre and Disney Theatrical Productions. Disney Theatrical shows their support for the new show with financial backing and access to songs from the 1967 animated film.
While the musical features music from Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book, it is primarily based on Nobel-winner Rudyard Kipling’s 1893 novel of the same name. Songwriter Richard M. Sherman, known for his work on Mary Poppins, “It’s A Small World,” and The Wonderful World of Color, will return to collaborate on the new musical; familiar tunes and never-before-heard songs written by brothers Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman will be included in the production.
The music of The Jungle Book is described as being an “Indian-inspired” take on the Sherman Brothers’ classic songs. Tony-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli and Indian dancer Hema Rajahopalan will fuse elements of Indian, jazz, and tap dance forms to compliment the musical score.
Richard M. Sherman sings songs from ‘The Jungle Book.’
While The Jungle Book has played in Chicago and will soon open in Boston, there are no concrete details on whether it will travel to Broadway in New York. Although it has proven to be a wildly successful stage adaptation, Variety reports that the production is rumored to be heading to Europe first. It claims that a musical production of The Jungle Book could clash with Disney’s Broadway giant, The Lion King. Understandably, Disney would not want a new a production to take the spotlight away from an already-popular musical about animals that sing and dance. As well, it is possible that a massive production like The Lion King could hinder the financial success of The Jungle Book in New York, which would still be just a Broadway baby.
Instead, the musical will continue to test the waters as it travels around the world. Disney Theatrical producer Thomas Schumacher notes that Disney’s European partners have “enormous interest” in The Jungle Book. He also mentions that he will be visiting India (whose culture might greatly appreciate the show) later this year to explore the possibilities of bringing The Jungle Book, The Lion King, or other Disney stage productions to that region.
While The Jungle Book gears up for opening night on Saturday, theater fans look on with interest, eager to see where the wildly popular new production will travel to next. Be it Chicago, Boston, Europe, or someday Broadway, this production has theater-goers around the world buzzing.
The Jungle Book will play for a limited run from September 7 – October 13, 2013. Tickets are available at http://www.huntingtontheatre.org, by phone at (617) 266-0800, as well as in person at the Avenue of Arts/BU Theatre.