He swings through the trees with the greatest of ease -- or at least, that's the hope of Contra Costa Musical Theatre in its production of "Tarzan" at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center. The Phil Collins and David Henry Hwang's musical runs Oct. 11 through Nov. 10.
Based on the Academy Award-winning Disney film, "Tarzan" will feature several characters flying across the Hofmann Stage courtesy of ZFX in Huntington Beach.
"It's Tarzan, so, of course, we have to have him swing through the air. But in our production, the aerial stunts are used to enhance the storytelling and not to simply be a spectacle," said Scott Strain, one of the show's producers. He said the costumes, including gorillas and other jungle creature, will also "wow" the audience.
James Royce Edwards plays the title role, having also performed as Tarzan in the 2010 U.S. National Regional Premiere in Utah. Edwards has appeared on Broadway in "Hairspray" and on several Broadway National Tours, including "Mamma Mia!," "Pippin," "All Shook Up" and as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables."
The stage production includes all the songs from the Disney film as well as new songs written by Phil Collins for the stage version. Kelly Tighe will once again create magic as he incorporates both hard scenery and video projection in his scenic design. Jasen Jeffrey directs with Matt Smart as musical director and Nicole Helfer as choreographer. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherArtscenter.org.
La Tonya Watts, artistic director of Clayton Theatre Company says the company will begin its season with "The Robber Bridegroom," Oct. 16-26 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. in Clayton.
Alfred Uhry's rousing, bawdy Southern fairy tale set in 18th-century Mississippi tells of the lowly Jamie Lockhart attempts to court Rosamund, daughter of the richest planter in the country. Thanks to a Shakepeare-worthy case of double-mistaken identity, everything goes awry. Throw in an evil stepmother, her pea-brained henchman, and a hostile talking head-in-a-trunk, and you have the recipe for a rollicking country romp. Robert Waldman's bluegrass score, which will be played by a small onstage band, adds its own distinctive note to the production.
Roxanne Pardi directs, with Watts as choreographer and Santiago Martinez as musical director. For more information, go to www.claytontheatrecompany.com.
Clayton is certainly becoming a busy little mecca for the arts. On Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m., the award-winning magician Christian Cagigal performs his "Obscura: A Magic Show." Combining stories with his illusions, Cagigal weaves a very theatrical yet spooky magical performance just in time for Halloween. The show takes place at St. John's Episcopal Parish, 555 Clayton Road in Clayton. For tickets, call 925-672-8717 or go to www.brownpapertickets.com.
Having just finished the highly successful runs of Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie," Role Players Ensemble moves into a tale of comedy and an unlikely friendship with Peter Shaffer's "Lettice and Lovage." Directed by Phoebe E. Moyer, the show runs Oct. 18-Nov. 9 with a sneak peak with actors and designers on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Village Theatre, 233 Front St. in Danville.
The story revolves around an eccentric Elizabethan enthusiast who becomes a tour guide for England's most boring historical home. When she begins spicing things up with a few exaggerations, a battle ensues with her boss, who insists on authenticity over entertainment.
The cast includes Sylvia Burboeck, Beth Chastain, John Blytt and Elinor Bell. For tickets, call 925-314-3400 or go to www.roleplayersensemble.com.
Pittsburg Community Theatre announces its upcoming season as "A New Beginning with the Old Classics." The new beginning refers to the company performing in the newly renovated historic California Theatre located in downtown Pittsburg.
The group's season includes such classics as Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" (Oct. 25, 26, 27), Disney's "Aladdin Jr." (December), Rogers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" (March 2014) and, wrapping up the season, Agatha Christie's mystery "The Mousetrap" (May 2014). Go to www.pittsburgcommunitytheatre.org for more information.
A delightful new work opens at Alameda's Altarena Theatre on Oct. 11 and runs through Nov. 17.
"The Song Of The Nightingale," written by Alameda resident Min Kahng, tells the magical story of a little brown bird that transforms the entire kingdom of China with just her song. Based upon a beloved fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, Min's adaptation includes his own original music.
"I first encountered the story in third grade and the story just stuck with me," says Kahng. Christina Lazo directs. For tickets, call 510-523-1553 or go to www.altarena.org.
Reach Sally Hogarty at firstname.lastname@example.org