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  1. #1

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    TDI's Tarzan Trip

    For my sister's 8th birthday today, we (mom, dad and I) took her to the city to go to the American Girl Store & to see Tarzan. First off, I have to say that I love the city. I live on Long Island & yet have only been there a handful of times (in the past 6 years, I've been there twice before this). I love seeing the skyline as you go over the bridge. That said, I would never want to drive there.

    Anywho, after arriving at the city, we headed straight to the American Girl Store. My gosh, I have never seen so many 6-11 year old girls in my life. Not the most exciting part of the trip, but my sister loved it. My advice if anyone here should go there, pay on the upper floors, there are less people there (especially in the Bitty Baby room).

    Being that we had some time to kill before dinner at the store, we went on some mini-site seeing. First up was Saint Patrick's cathedral. I have to say that it is so beautiful in there. I love the fact that even when the doors are wide open & the sun is shining, it manages to keep a very low light level. The stonework is beautiful & the stained glass is great. The only thing I don't like about the church is the little gift shop in back. To me, it just feels like it violates that whole Jesus throwing over the tables because they were selling merchandice in God's house thing. Anywho, after that we basically kept within a 2 block radius of the store.

    After going back, we had dinner at the store. I have to say the food was excellent. The chicken was delicious and it came with a lot of food. Now whether it's worth $24/person is an entirely different story.

    Anywho, finally getting to the topic of this thread, we headed to Tarzan the Broadway Musical. I think Disney really needs to refurb the outside of this theater. Compared with the grand entrance of the New Amsterdam Theater & the very nice looking Lont-Fontanne entrance right across the street, this was a bit sub-par. After a few line difficulties (thank you Rob for clearing things up and being nice), I finally looked at the ticket to see the dreaded words "partial view." After hearing all the stories, I hoped for the best & expected the worst. And on first inspection, we got the worst. We were in the very last row of the orchestra section, the 4 of us seperated by a poll (I was right next to the sound guy). It proved to be pretty good seats though (if I couldn't see something on bottom, I stood up & if I couldn't see something on top, no one was next to me, so I crouched down).

    (Spoilers may be in the following two paragraphs)
    I thought the show was great (not as good as Lion King though). Set wise, I was disappointed with the opening set, but once the special effects kicked in, it was great. I loved the screen before the show started (with the boat moving). And the various special effects used on stage were great. I though pretty much all the cast was great, with the best probably going to young Tarzan (Alex Rutherford in this show). I liked their interpretation of Terk too. Kerchek wasn't as prominant in this, but all the moments between Tarzan & his mother were excellent & at times made me tear up.

    The one character I did not like in this show was Clayton. I prefer the evil Englishman of the movie to the subdued American of this show. I did find it clever (though somewhat anticlimatic) how they did the ending with Clayton being arrested. Overall, act 2 was somewhat better than act 1, but both were very good. Also, the new music is excellent. Going into this, Tarzan definitely had a disadvantage TLK & BatB didn't have (lack of characters singing). But I do think the blend of new songs and old was very well done. As for the seat, it seems as if they made some changes since the original articles debuted on another website. In the short term, all they really have to do is make some of the things a bit lower. Long term, I think they need to change the seating. The orchestra section gets too high to quick.

    Overall, I'd give this a 9/10. Very well done, although a few things do need to be worked out. My advice to them, shorten some of the songs in Act 1 (especially Jungle Funk) and make the ending with Clayton a bit more clamatic.

    EDIT: Oh, and I forgot to say, I got one of the green Tarzan hats there. Nice, but very overpriced ($20 for a freaking hat? )

    Last edited by TheDisneyInquisitor; 04-20-2006 at 09:10 PM.
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  2. #2

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Glad you liked Tarzan, Mikey. I am hoping to see it this summer.

    But only two trips to NYC in SIX years!?! Kid, you gotta get out more!

  3. #3

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974
    But only two trips to NYC in SIX years!?! Kid, you gotta get out more!
    The main reason for that is that I don't go unless someone else comes. I would never be able to find my way around the city. I went once last year (for a taping of Wheel of Fortune) and once I believe in 2000 (to see Blast). My parents took me more often when I was younger (mostly to see the Rockette Show), but I don't remember much from back then. And the thing is, I like looking at the city. I love seeing the skyline & just seeing all the skyscrapers & bridges. But that's pretty much it.
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  4. #4

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    There's so much to see and do. I love NYC ... spent five days there for my brother's Birthday in December. Got to see Beauty and the Beast and the Producers, eat some great food and do lots of walking and shopping (even World of Disney).

    Being a suburban Floridian, and parttime Southern Californian, I am amazed at how easy it is to get around NYC once you figure out the streets/subways etc ...

    I definitely want to see Tarzan, even though I've heard mixed reviews.
    Going to see Mary Poppins in London next month. And I still haven't seen Lion King yet, but plan on it when it returns to LA this fall.

  5. #5

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    I thought it might be nice to post this here:



    This sign went up this week!

  6. #6

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by alexdrovna
    I thought it might be nice to post this here:



    This sign went up this week!
    I want to see it so bad!

    I didn't read all of your post Michael because of the spoilers and I have high hopes that Mr. yoyo will bring me to this show. I'm sooo jealous right now!

  7. #7

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Hoe long till they make a travel version.. Lol

    New york is the greatest city, other than a city with a disney park, lol...

    You need to get a job like my dad did when he lived on long island and worked all over.

    I was there for spring break (7 days of freezing fun)

    That banner, what did it replace, I can't place it...

    Spamalot is good, see it.. Blue men group is the best, go see it...

    Lion king was great in tampa...

  8. #8

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    THanks for the review of the show Mikey.. MY friends went on opening night and got me the Playbill and pin. But what I want to know is... what naked jokes were told on stage??? And.. is Tarzan's wig better planted than those used by the cast on Tarzan Rocks!??

  9. #9

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN
    But what I want to know is... what naked jokes were told on stage???
    I don't think I'd call them jokes (I know.....too late ), but more as very strong allusions. Multiple times throughout the show, Jane alludes to the fact that he's just wearing a loincloth. It's enough so that the adults get it, but not enough so that kids would ask "what is she talking about."

    And.. is Tarzan's wig better planted than those used by the cast on Tarzan Rocks!??
    The wig definitely stood on fine. My only complaint about that is that to me, it looked a little to blond for Tarzan. Nothing major though.
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

  10. #10

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974
    Glad you liked Tarzan, Mikey. I am hoping to see it this summer.

    But only two trips to NYC in SIX years!?! Kid, you gotta get out more!
    You may not realise how pretentious that sounded.
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  11. #11

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDisneyInquisitor
    ...I would never be able to find my way around the city....
    ... And the thing is, I like looking at the city. I love seeing the skyline & just seeing all the skyscrapers & bridges. But that's pretty much it.
    Hey, thanks for the review. I'm seeing it on May 8, two days before it officially opens. The show should be "frozen" by that point so I know I'll be seeing the final version of the show that they've been tweaking all though its preview period.

    I'm looking forward to a fabulous technical show, but that's about it. "Tarzan" isn't one of my favorites in the animated Disney canon.

    Anyway... I highlighted your quote.... New York is actually very easy to get around. I know I was a bit overwhelmed by it the first time I visited it, and then when I moved here, but once I realized that the majority of the streets and avenues are numbered, and on a grid system, it made it much more managable.

    Also, pick up a subway map (free at any subway station, just ask the clerk in the booth) and that's a big help too.

    Glad you had fun. Get in and enjoy the city more often if you can. It's only a train ride away!

  12. #12

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Glad to hear it is good. My son will be going to NYC May 12th on a school trip from San Diego! They get to see the show too. He is very excited to see it.
    Laughter is timeless -- Imagination has no age -- And dreams are forever

  13. #13

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    I am surprised Ron10036 did not bring up the difference in the types of wigs used.... but I am more of a dork than he. At WDW they use synthetic wigs due to the humidity, human hair would not stay where it needs to for an entire performance or any period of time. On Broadway Principle wigs are ussually human or yak hair which is ussually contructed differently so it looks like human hair and not like a wig. therefore the wig would look significantly better on Broadway than in Tarzan Rocks.
    All of the wigs on Disney face characters are synthetic and in most shows in the parks. Aladdin might use human hair since it is indoors and climate controlled.
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  14. #14

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by WaltsFavorite02
    I am surprised Ron10036 did not bring up the difference in the types of wigs used.... but I am more of a dork than he. At WDW they use synthetic wigs due to the humidity, human hair would not stay where it needs to for an entire performance or any period of time. On Broadway Principle wigs are ussually human or yak hair which is ussually contructed differently so it looks like human hair and not like a wig. therefore the wig would look significantly better on Broadway than in Tarzan Rocks.
    All of the wigs on Disney face characters are synthetic and in most shows in the parks. Aladdin might use human hair since it is indoors and climate controlled.
    Yep WaltsFave... You are indeed a dork.

    Saw the show tonight and the hair was the least of my concerns. But for the record.. wow.. great wigs!

    Anyway.. posted the following in the Broadway MiceClub but for those of you not a member of it I thought I'd post my thoughts on "Tarzan" here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    OK... I hope no one is offended that I'm posting my "review" of it two days before it officially opens, but here goes:

    Saw "Disney's Tarzan" tonight on Broadway and thought I'd post my general impressions. Not so much a review of the story... I'm going to assume that everyone reading this has seen the animated Disney film, but more what I felt while viewing it.

    I saw the show from the first row of the rear mezzanine, which was actually a perfect place to see the full stage and the show's effects. It was a bit higher than I would have liked since I was constantly looking down on the actors onstage, but overall a terrific vantage point.

    Upon taking my seat and looking upon the stage there is a scrim. Projected on the scrim is a map of Africa and a large ship. A green laser vine swings subtly back and forth on the stage left side. As I waited for the curtain to raise projections of script appeared on the scrim detailing a captain's log detailing that this ship was lost. Suddenly, the show just begins. No pre-show announcement about turning off you cell phones or taking photographs. It was a very nice touch. As the house lights dimmed the ship disappeared from the scrim and several lightning bolts appeared.

    The first 15-20 minutes of this show is truly spectacular. I'm not kidding. The shipwreck... Tarzan's parents drowning... Kala finding an infant Tarzan and introducing him to her husband, Kerchak. The gorilla tribe swinging and flying on vines suspended from the flys... Very nice stuff.

    Sadly, it's the only time in the show where the emotion of the story matches the wonder of what is unfolding physically onstage. From that point on I was never engaged in the story proper, which is not a good sign for a Broadway show. It doesn't matter how great the stagecraft is, or how good the actors are, if the story is not engaging then you truly have a dud on your hands. In this regard "Tarzan" is a dud. It's not for lack of trying, but the score by Phil Collins is amazingly bland. Nothing really melodic, much less musically interesting. Numbers ended with tepid audience response, most likely because people have been trained to clap when people stop singing. David Henry Hwang's book is not much better, which is rather disappointing. He wrote one of the most complex and beautiful plays I've ever read, "M. Butterfly".

    The stagecraft of the show is absolutely stunning. The show's sets and costumes were by Bob Crowley. He was also the director of the production. I'm thinking that Disney was hoping for lightning to strike twice here. Julie Taymor was the designer and director of "The Lion King" and her production is absolutely amazing. I will say that Crowley did a great job in staging the show, but with the text he had to work with... well... the book and score are the weakest links in this show.

    That said, I was never bored. I loved looking at the show. It truly is a marvel. The stage throughout the show is mostly bare. Yet with lighting and the occasional suggestion of location with a few props I never wondered where I actually was. The three sides surrounding it are vibrant green vines, suggestive of the jungle setting, but hiding hard physical structures behind it where the actors portraying gorillas swinging on vines enter and exit from. Really nice. There are a few scenes where drops are brought in suggest other places, such as the treetops where the back wall becomes a night sky full of stars and another which suggests the coast. These aren't detailed either and are as wonderfully austere as the rest of the scenery.

    I absolutely LOVED the design of the show. If you enjoy seeing shows for sheer spectacle than this is the one for you. Another bonus of the show was the flying by Pichon Baldinu, the man responsible for the long-running off-Broadway show "De La Guarda". Just some incredibly beautiful aerial acrobatics. There is a number toward the end of Act One where Jane arrives and she is discovering the wonders of the jungle. People on ropes suggest the flora and fauna of the jungle and one aerialist flies in from the back of the mezzanine costumed as a moth. It's very beautiful seeing the physical discipline of these performers. I only wish they had a good musical surrounding them.

    As for the leading actors no one really stands out except for Merle Dandridge as Kala and Shuler Hensley as Kerchak. They captured the sketchy details of their characters and made them ...well.... human, even though they are both gorillas. I understood and felt for these characters.

    I only wish I could say the same for Tarzan, Jane, and the rest of the principal cast. Everyone in the cast works hard, but I didn't feel anything for Tarzan's plight. Most of this is the fault of the book, but it is disheartening that the lead character, the one who is the title of the show for crying out loud, is so one-dimensional and uninteresting. He shouldn't have been. Here is a human boy raised by gorillas that knows he is different but doesn't know why. When he discovers other humans I found myself wanting him to understand them, understand gorillas, and ultimately understand himself. He does try. It is hinted at. Kala, his gorilla mother, does take him to a chest in a tree with his parent's belongings in them, but it all rings very hollow. And that's a shame.

    So... these are my thoughts on the show. I'm sure I'll have more, but this is what I can pull off the top of my head. In short, the musical as written is not terrible, but it's not very good either. The story is there and it's followed easily. It's just completely devoid of emotion, character development, and heart. Three things I think most people want from entertainment with the Disney brand name stamped upon it.

    On the other hand, the physical production is one of the finest I've ever seen. I absolutely loved it from that angle. If you're really into stagecraft, it's design and execution, than this is the show for you. There are wonderful sights and images from this show I'm going to have a hard time shaking from my memory... and thankfully I don't want to.

    I've seen all of Disney's Broadway shows except for "Aida." Each was met with rapturous standing ovations at the end. "The Lion King" deserved it wholeheartedly, "Beauty and the Beast" did not. I found it very telling that the audience response at the end of "Tarzan" was a mix of the over-enthusiastic and the tepid. I couldn't see down into the Orchestra level, but out of the hundreds in the mezzanine only about 40-50 people voted with their feet.

    Overall, I enjoyed the show, but I can't really recommend it as a good night of musical theatre.
    Last edited by RonNYC; 05-08-2006 at 10:40 PM.

  15. #15

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    Re: TDI's Tarzan Trip

    Which actor was playing young Tarzan (there are 2 that alternate)?
    “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney

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