Young actors take to stage for ‘Tarzan the Musical’ this weekend

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The adventurous, high-flying legend of Tarzan comes to life on stage in the upcoming production of “Tarzan the Musical” presented by ATP Kids, Alpine Theatre Project’s theatre education program, at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center Oct. 21-22.

There are 135 local students from schools across the Flathead Valley participating in the productions and are split into two casts for four performances — at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Oct. 21, and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Oct. 22. “Tarzan the Musical” marks the ninth year of the ATP Kids program, dedicated to empowering and inspiring students through theatre education.

Based on Disney’s epic animated musical adventure and Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan of the Apes, “Tarzan” features heart-pumping music by rock legend, Phil Collins, and a book by Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang, and features the Academy Award-winning song, “You’ll Be in My Heart.”

Washed up on the shores of West Africa, an infant boy is taken in and raised by gorillas who name him Tarzan. Apart from striving for acceptance from his ape father, Tarzan’s life is mostly monkey business until a human expedition treks into his tribe’s territory, and he encounters creatures like himself for the first time. Tarzan struggles to navigate a jungle, thick with emotion, as he discovers his animal upbringing clashing with his human instincts.

The stage production makes ample use of Tarzan and the apes swinging and flying through the air. To create those effects, ATP has contracted the help of ZFX, Inc, the nation’s premiere flying effects company. They have been holding a raffle to help raise funds to cover the cost.

“It’s a thrilling show that has everything, action, suspense, romance, rock music, and a beautiful message about the power of love that binds us all together,” says Director Betsi Morrison.

The ATP Kids program is the cornerstone of Alpine Theatre Project’s educational programming, which include programs for elementary, middle, and high school students along with professional internships, and a summer Broadway training camp. No student is ever turned away. Over 1,100 students have taken part in ATP’s educational programs since 2008. This session is being taught by Morrison and professional actors, Luke Walrath and Rebecca Spear.

This session of ATP Kids is presented by Kalispell KiDDS and sponsored by the Foley Family Charitable Foundation, Freedom Bank, Glacier Bank, & the Whitefish Credit Union, with assistance from the Firebrand Hotel, Flathead Urology, Phil & Donna Harris, Weyerhaeuser, Soroptimist International, Rocky Mountain Images, Stebbins Orthodontics, & First Interstate Bank. Flying effects in the production were sponsored through the annual ATP Kids Raffle.

Tickets for “Tarzan the Musical Jr” are $18 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under, and can be ordered by calling 862-SHOW (7469) or visiting atpwhitefish.org.

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