Elkin students present ‘Tarzan’ this weekend

By Anthony Gonzalez

March 5, 2014

Dixon Auditorium will be transformed into deepest, darkest Africa this Saturday and Sunday as Elkin High School’s Class of 2014 presents its senior class play, Disney’s “Tarzan,” featuring the award-winning music by Phil Collins from the 1999 animated movie.

Mitchell Abbey portrays Tarzan, a young man raised by gorillas but struggling with his identity once he meets Jane, a Victorian woman on a research safari, played by Nikki Defreitas.

The only parents Tarzan has ever known — Kala and Kerchak, played by Megan Peters and Noah Carter — are at odds over the human invasion of their home. With Clayton, played by Andrew Smith, waiting to capture a few gorillas for monetary gain, and Professor Porter, played by Jacob Christian, just hoping to prove his theory of “family groups,” the conflict between humans and apes escalates as Porter said, “There is nothing more powerful than human greed.”

The cast also includes Piper Lewis as Terk, Tarzan’s best friend; Ava McRitchie as Tarzan’s human mother and backstage help; Cory Anderson as Tarzan’s human father, a gorilla and Snipes; Rebecca Ray as the leopard and a gorilla; and as gorillas — Mary-Frances Hall, Marena Nelson, Ciara LeMay, Aylin Aguilar, Josiah Blevins, David Bullin, Brandon Welborn, Ellie Hooper, Ariana Fiets, Courtney Beals, Olivia West, Erin Cave, Payton Nicholson and Annika Winebarger. Kaley Cornelison is backstage manager.

Because the play begins with Tarzan as an infant, then shows him at age 10, Addison Blackwelder, 9, of State Road, was recruited to portray the young Tarzan.

Tarzan is directed by Leighanne Martin Wright with Tonya Smith as music director and Kim Arnold as choreographer. In the orchestra will be Smith on keyboard, Josh Casstevens on bass and T. Tristan Wright on drums.

In addition to all the songs from the animated movie — “Two Worlds (soloist Ellie Hooper),” “You’ll Be In My Heart,” “Son of Man (soloist Ariana Fiets),” “Strangers Like Me,” “Trashin’ the Camp” — there are a few new songs from the Broadway musical. Jane sings about her expedition into life in “Waiting for This Moment” and also about experiencing love in “For the First Time.” Tarzan delves into his identity struggle in “Everything That I Am.”

The play opens Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a second performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $8 adults, $5 students and available at the door. The auditorium will open 30 minutes prior to curtain.