Edgar Rice Burroughs famous book, Tarzan of the Apes, was so popular that it spawned a series of Tarzan books. The original book was turned into many film adaptations at different times and also made into plays. Disney made a popular version, turning into into a musical and the Broadway show, aptly called Tarzan – The Musical debuted in 2006 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It had songs by Phil Collins of rock group Genesis along with David Zippel and the new production is faithful to the original.
The story of Tarzan is simple – a couple with a baby are shipwrecked off the West African shore. They build a tree house to keep their baby safe, but are themselves killed by a leopard. At the same a gorilla couple loses their baby son to a leopard and when the mother goes to look for her son, she comes across the human baby and ‘adopts’ him. Her mate, Kerchak, however, refuses to accept him, but Tarzan grows up with the gorillas, learning their ways. When he grows up, he is able to kill the leopard and wins over Kerchak. The second act of the play concentrates on Jane Porter, a naturalist, who has come to the jungle to study it. She is rescued by Tarzan and they fall in love. However, when Jane takes the wild man to her father, Professor Porter there is conflict. Later the guide, who is jealous kills Kerchak and is set upon by Tarzan. However, all’s well in the end, with Jane agreeing to stay with Tarzan in the jungle. The musical, which premiered at Broadway, later went on to have successful runs in Netherlands, Sweden, Germany (Hamburg) and various states in the USA including Utah, Indiana, Massachusetts, San Jose and Arizona. Currently this acrobatic musical is running at Neue Flora Theatre in Hamburg, but it is in German.