The Music of The Jungle Book

by:  Ali Leskowitz, Assistant Company Manager at 08/06/2013

“I was blown away by Mary Zimmerman’s transporting and visually stunning production. It immediately reminded me of what I love about her work – her big heart, sophisticated mind, and playful imagination. In this latest creation, she brilliantly interweaves Kipling’s evocative prose with the story of the classic film and marries traditional Indian instruments to its jazzy, instantly recognizable tunes. It’s a dream!”— Peter DuBois

Songwriter Richard Sherman and his brother Robert had not read Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 collection of stories when they were called into a meeting by Walt Disney to contribute to the development of a movie of The Jungle Book. It turns out that neither had any of the other animators or writers on the project. When Disney asked who of his team was familiar with the stories, not a person in the room raised his hand. “It was like a bunch of guys in school that hadn’t done their homework,” Richard Sherman remembers.


Music Director and Orchestrator Doug Peck in rehearsal for The Jungle Book.

Disney’s response? “Well, that’s good.” His reaction was genuine, as he wanted to create a film that discarded the dark, heavy mood of Kipling’s stories and instead embraced the delight that could be wrought from a medley of animal characters. The joy that infused the movie’s score with a playful spirit is one of the key elements adapter and director Mary Zimmerman strove to maintain in her new musical production.

The show, produced in association with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, features seven songs from the Disney film including “The Bare Necessities” by Terry Gilkyson, never-before-heard songs by the award-winning Sherman Brothers, and more. “It’s going to be wonderful for the audience because they’ve never heard these songs before,” Sherman says. Music Director and Orchestrator Doug Peck has incorporated Indian sounds and underscoring based on themes from the film, as well as Indian ragas and dance music.

Peck believes that the music will prove even more powerful onstage than in the movie, especially as the production includes onstage musicians who will be encouraged to improvise throughout the run. “In the theatre, you are in the same acoustic space and can sometimes see the player or players creating the underscoring,” he says. “You are inherently more aware of the music, which can sometimes function on a more unconscious level on film. In some ways, I function both as arranger/orchestrator and editor helping players maintain a consistency that the cast can dance to, but also a freedom to explore their improvs from show to show.” The instrumentation consists of traditional western instruments such as a piano and drum set, as well as Indian snake trumpets, Carnatic violin, sitar, veena, tablas, ghattam, dholak, dhol, and other Indian percussion. Much of the Indian essence that Peck has infused into the score derives from the trip the creative team took to India.

The songs from the movie invite this added flavor, as each already has its own unique musical style that corresponds to the various species of animals. For instance, King Louie the Orangutan was conceived as a jazzman, so his number, “I Wanna Be Like You,” naturally fit as a swing piece.

The Sherman Brothers incorporated elements of Kipling’s stories and introduced whimsy and lightness to them, as per Disney’s instructions. Hathi, leader of the elephants, became Colonel Hathi, an officer in the British Raj who leads the militaristic “Colonel Hathi’s March.” The song plays with elephants’ natural galumph. As Sherman says, “It was all borne out of Walt’s desire for us to have fun.”

— Ali Leskowitz

Comments

  1. Lovin' My personal Totes is actually considered to be the actual city's very first ladies handbag as well as leather-based repair electric outlet as well as fake louis vuitton bags guarantees to bring back aged as well as worn-out custom bags. The rolex replica sale wholesaler products totes straight with a organization what about a provider as well as offers this in order to list stores on the revenue. There are plenty fake rolex for sale whereby a good impassioned ladies handbag wholesaler can perform this particular self-discipline. At the same time, based on bags, the next wind storm problems within Dubai may cause bags in order to decline. He or she mentioned: "In this particular area of the globe, environment may be the greatest root cause. Most the actual omega replica which are introduced in order to all of us with regard to cleansing or even repair happen to be ruined through damage through climate problems as well as wetness. inches Whenever people are looking for brand new bags, they generally mind on the internet.

Post a Comment

       
User verification Image for user verification  

About me

Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!

 
 

RSS Feed

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Archive

Tag cloud


Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
Main: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115 | 617 266 7900 | BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800

© 2013 Huntington Theatre Company. All rights reserved | Trouble viewing this site? Please download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.