Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Akash Chopra, Richard M. Sherman, Kevin Carolan, Larry Yando, Nehal Joshi and More Celebrate The Jungle Book Opening Night at Huntington Theatre in Boston

I had a grand time at Huntington Theatre Company’s opening night performance of the world premiere adaptation of Disney’s The Jungle Book, written and directed by Mary Zimmerman, which began previews on September 7, and opened on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, on the Huntington’s main stage, the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave in Boston. Check out the photos from the afterparty held in the Scene Shop adjacent to the theater.

Larry Yando (Shere Khan), Mary Zimmerman (Director/Playwright), André De Shields (Akela/King Louie) and Anjali Bhimani (Mother Wolf). Photo by Lia Chang

Larry Yando (Shere Khan), Mary Zimmerman (Director/Playwright), André De Shields (Akela/King Louie) and Anjali Bhimani (Mother Wolf). Photo by Lia Chang

Usman Ally (Bagheera) and his wife Malena Mai. Photo by Lia Chang

Usman Ally (Bagheera) and his wife Malena Mai. Photo by Lia Chang

The Jungle Book transfers from and is produced in association with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre where it was extended three times due to popular demand and is the company’s highest attended musical production in its history. The Huntington production features the entire original cast including Two-time Tony Award nominee André De Shields (Full Monty, Play On!, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Wiz) as King Louie, Kevin Carolan as Baloo, Larry Yando (Candide) as Shere Kahn, Thomas Derrah (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) as Kaa, Usman Ally as Bagheera and Akash Chopra and Roni Akurati as Mowgli.

(L to R): Glory Curda (Little Girl), Roni Akurati (Mowgli), and Akash Chopra (Mowgli). (Photo by Lia Chang)

(L to R): Glory Curda (Little Girl), Roni Akurati (Mowgli), and Akash Chopra (Mowgli).
(© Lia Chang)

Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Peacock & Others), Alka Nayyar (Doe, Insect, and Monkey), Timothy Wilson (Wolf and others), Victor Wisehart (Wolf & Others), Govind Kumar (Wolf, Vulture, and others), Nehal Joshi (Rama (a wolf and others), Anjali Bhimani (Raksha (a wolf and others), Monique Haley (Insect and others), Jeremy Duvall (Insect and others), Ed Kross (Colonel Hathi and others), Geoff Packard (Lieutenant George, Giddha (a vulture), and others), Glory Curda (Little Girl), Nebi Berhane (Ensemble) round out the cast.

L to R: Nebi Berhane (Wolf, others), Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Peacock, others), Andre De Shields (Akela, King Louie), and Govind Kumar (Wolf, Vulture, and others). Photo by Lia Chang

L to R: Nebi Berhane (Wolf, others), Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Peacock, others), Andre De Shields (Akela, King Louie), and Govind Kumar (Wolf, Vulture, and others). Photo by Lia Chang

Twice extended, The Jungle Book will close on October 20, 2013.

Richard M. Sherman and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Richard M. Sherman and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Wholly reimagined for the stage by Tony Award winner Mary Zimmerman (Candide) is based on Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling’s 1893 collection of stories set in the Indian jungle and Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film. Zimmerman’s adaptation is a music-and movement-filled adventure of young Mowgli’s coming-of-age in the animal kingdom featuring the movie’s best-loved songs in wholly new Indian-inspired arrangements. Legendary Academy Award and Grammy winner Richard M. Sherman — whose numerous songwriting credits with brother Robert B. Sherman include the motion pictures The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The AristoCats — collaborates on this production, providing Music Director Doug Peck access and permission to adapt songs that Sherman and his brother wrote for the film, plus never-before-heard material. Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli with Indian dance consultant Hema Rajagopalan combine elements of classical Indian dance forms with jazz, tap, and more to enhance the storytelling.

L to R: Doug Peck (orchestrator/arranger/conductor), Andre De Shields (Akela/King Louie), and Kevin Carolan (Baloo) with Monica Lopez, who co-starred in The Goodman Theatre's production of Camino Real with De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

L to R: Doug Peck (orchestrator/arranger/conductor), Andre De Shields (Akela/King Louie), and Kevin Carolan (Baloo) with Monica Lopez, who co-starred in The Goodman Theatre’s production of Camino Real with De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

 

Victor Wisehart (Wolf & Others), Alka Nayyar (Doe, Insect, and Monkey), Thomas Derrah (Kaa), musician Shivalik Ghoshal (Tablas, Dholak) and André De Shields (Akela and King Louie). Photo by Lia Chang

Victor Wisehart (Wolf & Others), Alka Nayyar (Doe, Insect, and Monkey), Thomas Derrah (Kaa), musician Shivalik Ghoshal (Tablas, Dholak) and André De Shields (Akela and King Louie). Photo by Lia Chang

Eight original musicians are joined by four Boston musicians to comprise the jazz/Indian band of twelve. Zimmerman’s creative team from Candidereunites, with scenic design by Daniel Ostling, costume design by Mara Blumenfeld, and lighting design by T.J. Gerkens. Joshua Horvath, Ray Nardelli, and Andre J. Pluess provide the sound design.

Orchestra members (L to R): Saraswathi Ranganathan (veena), Juli Wood (tenor and baritone saxophones), and Anuradha Sridhar (Carnatic violin). Photo by  Lia Chang

Orchestra members (L to R): Saraswathi Ranganathan (veena), Juli Wood (tenor and baritone saxophones), and Anuradha Sridhar (Carnatic violin).
Photo by Lia Chang

 

Erin Davie and Nehal Joshi (Wolf, Vulture and Others). Photo by Lia Chang

Erin Davie and Nehal Joshi (Wolf, Vulture and Others). Photo by Lia Chang

Orchestra
Doug Peck Conductor, Piano, Harmonium
Neel Murgai Sitar, Daf, Overtone Vocal
Saraswathi Ranganathan Veena
Anuradha Sridhar Carnatic Violin
Victor Garcia Trumpet, Snake Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Walt Bostian Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Snake Trumpet
Mark Pinto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Flute
Juli Wood Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
Shivalik Ghoshal Tablas, Dholak
Ronnie Malley (through Oct. 6) Ghattam, Dholak, Dhol, Dumbek, Percussion, Oud
Tareq Rantisi (starting Oct. 7) Ghattam, Dholak, Dhol, Dumbek, Percussion
Mike Ambrozewski Drums
Tony D’Amico Bass
Rick Hammett Orchestra Contractor

TICKET INFORMATION
Extended twice by popular demand, The Jungle Book plays September 7 — October 20 at the Huntington’s main stage, the BU Theatre. Tickets start at $25 with prices ranging to $135 – subject to change – with select discounts available:
online at huntingtontheatre.org
by phone at 617 266 0800, in person at the Box Offices at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre (264 Huntington Avenue) and South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont Street).

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Click here for the full slideshow of images from The Jungle Book’s opening night afterparty.

Lia Chang, Nehal Joshi (Rama (a wolf and others), Anjali Bhimani (Raksha (a wolf and others) and Erin Davie. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang, Nehal Joshi (Rama (a wolf and others), Anjali Bhimani (Raksha (a wolf and others) and Erin Davie. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar.

Monique Haley (Insect and others), and André De Shields (Akela and King Louie). Photo by Lia Chang

Monique Haley (Insect and others), and André De Shields (Akela and King Louie). Photo by Lia Chang

Opening night photo coverage of The Jungle Book Opening Night at Huntington Theatre Company
broadwayworld.com: Photo Flash: Andre De Shields and More Celebrate Huntington’s JUNGLE BOOK Opening
theatermania.com: The Jungle Book Enjoys Its Second Opening Night at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company
broadway.com: The Story Begins! Disney’s The Jungle Book Enjoys a Wild Opening Night in Boston
playbill.com: PHOTO CALL: The Jungle Book Musical Celebrates Opening Night in Boston

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Center Stage Photo Preview: Denise Burse and Michael Genet in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts, Opens October 16, 2013
National Black Theatre Festival Photos: Backstage with André De Shields, Marie Thomas, Erin Cherry, Sean Phillips and Morocco Omari in Knock Me A Kiss
Photos: Charles Smith’s Knock Me A Kiss Starring André De Shields Featured in Encore Performances at The National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, July 30-August 1, 2013
Photos: Backstage with Michi Barall and the cast of Regina Taylor’s stop.reset. at Signature Theatre
Photos: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Phylicia Rashad, John Earl Jelks, Leslie Uggams, Anthony Chisholm, S. Epatha Merkerson, Taraji P. Henson, Jesse L. Martin, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Kenny Leon and More Set for August Wilson American Century Cycle Recording Series at The Greene Space in NY, Aug. 26-Sept. 28, 2013
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Photos: Opening Night of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man with John Earl Jelks, Richard Masur, Nikki M. James, K. Todd Freeman, Ray Fisher
Sept. 13 – Oct. 12: Bryan Cranston, Brandon J. Dirden, Michael McKean, Reed Birney, Peter Jay Fernandez, Crystal Dickinson and More Set for Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way at A.R.T.
Febone1960.net Review: Power Play Powerful & Suspenseful
Oct. 9 – Nov. 17: Denise Burse and Michael Genet Star in Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts at Center Stage
Photos: Denise Burse, Lizan Mitchell, Novella Nelson, Arthur French at Regina Taylor’s stop. reset with LaTanya Richardson Jackson at Signature
A Summer in Bangkok for Thom Sesma, Star of Signature’s Miss Saigon
Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season Features New Works by Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins
Photos: The 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards and After Party
Video: Power Play’s Lorey Hayes and Lia Chang on The Carmen Mathis Show
The Chronicle Features Lorey Hayes’ Power Play
Celebrity Actress, Pauletta Pearson Washington returns home to North Carolina starring at 2013 National Black Theatre festival with Roscoe Orman (“Sesame Street,” Willie Dynamite) and all star cast in Lorey Hayes’ award-winning “Power Play”, a play about Politics, Passion and The Power of God
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

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