Fast-paced, modern retelling to tour area community centers through Playhouse’s Off the Hill series Sept. 29 to Nov. 2.
CINCINNATI –CINCINNATI-Bring your children to the jungle this fall to watch Mowgli the man-cub come face-to-face with sneaky monkeys, noisy vultures and more when Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park brings THE JUNGLE BOOK to community centers throughout the region as part of its Off the Hill series. The show runs Sept. 29 to Nov. 2.
The schedule of performances is available online.
The new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s beloved story features a rambunctious, curious and silly Mowgli who is lost in the wilds of the jungle, where he is adopted by Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther and all the beasts who call the mysterious wilderness home.
Greg Banks’ script plays on the nostalgia of Kipling’s tales while providing a modern, fast-paced retelling for audiences. A cast of only five actors (from the Playhouse’s Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company) will fill 20 scripted roles in this adventurous production.
“Mowgli is how all children are when they start off in the world,” says Banks in a video interview with the Arden Theatre Company. “Just curious, unafraid, energetic, excited about the world.”
THE JUNGLE BOOK utilizes an exciting set from Kenton Brett and costume designs by Melanie Mortimore to transport viewers to the wondrous wilderness of the Indian jungle that Mowgli and his animal friends call home.
Brett took on the task of creating a set that was both mobile and true to Banks’ vision of a world that embodies youth and freedom.
“The words may be contemporary but it is still set in the jungle — a strange, cartoon kaleidoscope of a jungle,” Brett says of his artistic vision.
The set provides a perfect background to introduce, or reintroduce for some, Mowgli and his jungle-dwelling friends. Protected and guided by Baloo, Bagheera and Mother and Father Wolf, Mowgli discovers challenges and dangers that test his strength and friendships. Yet he finds that when he is in peril, the ones who truly care for him are never that far behind.
“What makes this adaptation of The Jungle Book such a powerful tale to experience is that it uses movement,” says Daunielle Rasmussen, Playhouse Director of Education and Community Engagement, who is also the director of the show. “It has a contemporary interpretation of the animal characters that connects it to our own human experience in a more intentional way.”
Rasmussen emphasizes that even though it is an adventurous tale in the Indian jungle, it is still a story about a young boy who is facing the challenges of growing up. The new adaptation is perfect for children and families to enjoy together. It is recommended for ages 6 and up.
“I love the joy that I see on the faces of parents as they get to share the stories that were meaningful for them as youth with their children,” says Rasmussen, reflecting on her own experience of sharing the story with her son.
The Playhouse’s production will journey all over greater Cincinnati, from Oxford to Cheviot to Union to Covington and many places in between.
The cast includes Julie Locker as Mowgli, Damien Boykin as Shere Kahn, Madison Rengli as Bagheera, David Armando as Father Wolf/Baloo and Maya Jeyam as Mother Wolf/Kaa.
THE JUNGLE BOOK is the first of three Playhouse Off the Hill productions for the 2018-19 Season, which also will present Cyrano and Five Little Monkeys. Off the Hill is sponsored by The John C. Griswold Foundation and KeyBank. Seasonal support of education and outreach by The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation and The Charles H. Dater Foundation. The Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company is supported by Jerry and Betsy Shroat.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of almost 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation.