Bend Experimental Art Theatre (BEAT) will present the Disney musical production "Tarzan" from May 6 to 15 at Summit High School. The cast for this award-winning musical includes more than five dozen young performers and a live orchestra of youth musicians. Local actor Steven Livingston is playing Tarzan and Eva Merrill plays Jane.
The play is timed perfectly, since there are currently numerous movie previews and commercial breaks heralding the soon to be released film, starring Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan and Margot Robbie as Jane. However, the big difference is that BEAT's performance is a musical based on the 1999 Disney animated film with songs by Phil Collins and score by Mark Mancina. The 1999 film won an Academy Award for Best Original Song that year with "You'll be in My Heart."
BEAT Children's Theatre, founded in 2006, provides classes for kids and young adults to train in acting for the stage, often with a performance of a play as the culminating goal of the season. Occasionally, the lead role is played by someone older, to carry the show and enhance the experience for the youngsters, and this is the case with "Tarzan." Livingston takes the lead, instilling a thoughtful depth of comprehension to the role.
"This is a character who faces trials and difficult decisions around every corner of the story. I try to bring out his struggle of transforming from beast to man," he says.
Bringing that energy to a character so iconic and well known has brought a unique set of challenges to playing the role. "There are some aspects of Tarzan that can't change, which in and of itself is a challenge, but there are a few things I try to highlight more," says Livingston. "I try to bring out these emotions of confusion, angst, pride and love throughout all of Tarzan's journey," he explains.
BEAT's production of "Tarzan" is a wonderful training ground for the next generation of actors, musical theater artists, directors, choreographers, costume designers and technical crew. The future of theatre is in good hands.
Friday, May 6 to Sunday, May 15.
Fridays 7 p.m., Saturdays 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Sundays 4 p.m.
Theatre at Summit High School, 2855 NW Clearwater Dr., Bend
Tickets: www.tickettails.com or 541-419-5558
$10 to $15