We could not be more excited to welcome Mary Zimmerman back to the Huntington, and what better way to mark her triumphant return than a stage adaptation of The Jungle Book? Some of our subscribers (and staff) still haven't fully recovered from the overwhelming joyfulness of her production of Candide, which kicked off our 30th Anniversary Season in 2011. Mary has spent much of her career re-exploring timeless texts, taking a magnifying glass and a scalpel to these iconic, formative myths, and uncovering the modern richness and relevance within them.
With Candide, she scoured the archives of Leonard Bernstein's music, drawing from multiple iterations and compositions from various versions of the famously uneven musical, and created an entirely new version of the play with a book that she derived from the original text by Voltaire. Similarly, with The Jungle Book, Mary and her team are using the popular songs from the classic Disney movie -- "Bare Necessities," "I Wanna Be Like You," and others -- and re-arranging them with new orchestrations featuring authentic Indian instruments. For the book, Mary has returned to the original stories of Rudyard Kipling to create an entirely new script and story.
Here's a little peek at an early workshop version of "Bare Necessities":
Also like Candide, Mary is developing The Jungle Book with the help of several different cities, companies, and audiences. After several development workshops, performances of The Jungle Book began June 21 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago (yes, we still care deeply for our Chicago theatre colleagues, even if their stupid hockey team bests our own). The cast & creative team will then join us in Boston, where they will continue to work on and tweak the musical -- adjusting things, making cuts and edits, fleshing out scenes where they need more meat, and so on. This process is an important part of what makes theatre unique as a living art form, and we're proud to play such a crucial role in Mary's creative process.
Here's Artistic Director Peter DuBois discussing the show, and sharing his own excitement about welcoming Mary back to Boston:
The Jungle Book plays Sept. 7 - Oct. 6, 2013 at the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. Tickets are on sale now.