WCT swings into ‘Jungle’

It’s a real jungle at Whidbey Children’s Theater this month. Thirty-two Whidbey Island youngsters sing, dance and act their hearts out in WCT’s season-opening musical, “The Jungle Book,” based on the “Mowgli” stories of Rudyard Kipling.

  • Saturday, October 4, 2008 8:00am
  • Life

Ethan Berkley plays the tiger Shere Khan

By Betty Freeman

Contributing writer

It’s a real jungle at Whidbey Children’s Theater this month.

Thirty-two Whidbey Island youngsters sing, dance and act their hearts out in WCT’s season-opening musical, “The Jungle Book,” based on the “Mowgli” stories of Rudyard Kipling.

The musical adventure features Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, who, with the help of his mentors — the bear Baloo, the panther Bagheera and the python Kaa — learns to survive as they teach him the laws of the jungle. With their help, Mowgli escapes the ruthless tiger Shere Khan, and meets unforgettable friends along the way.

Like the lessons Mowgli learns from his jungle friends, the young cast members are also learning the value of cooperation and supportive teamwork in producing an ambitious show.

The musical was cast from students in WCT founder Martha Murphy’s production workshop class, who range in age from 7 to 16.

“A big part of what I want for the cast is for them to develop a sense of teamwork, while building their confidence and self-expression,” said Murphy, who directed and choreographed “The Jungle Book.” “The underlying goal of all my work with children in drama is for the kids to have fun and to create childhood memories that stay with them in adult life.”

“The Jungle Book” offers challenging animal parts for the young actors, ranging from a peacock to a panther, bats, bears, monkeys and wolves.

Students in the workshop auditioned for the parts they wanted, and often the parts they aspired to matched their personalities, Murphy said.

“Chatty kids make the best monkeys, while the quieter kids gravitated toward the parts of the mysterious, aloof wolves,” she said.

The students learned to act like their characters by studying the characteristic movements of the different animals featured in the play.

“Once they’re onstage, they must become the animals they portray. For example, monkeys are silly and noisy,” Murphy explained. “And the jackal’s antics may steal the show.”

Alyssa Woodbury plays the brave and loyal Mowgli, who is befriended by the wise panther Bagheera (Megan DeWolf), the lovable, goofy bear Balloo (Sophie Frank) and the hypnotic python Kaa (Hannah Mack). Cole Cable plays the jackal, and Audrey Neubauer is Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the mongoose.

The two high-school students in the cast, Kate Ewing and Ethan Berkley, act as mentors to the younger cast members. Ewing is the storyteller Nyra, whose narration keeps the story moving along, while Berkley plays the man-eating tiger Shere Khan.

The audience will be part of each performance, too.

“One of the fun parts of the show is engaging the audience’s participation in making jungle sounds, booing the villains and cheering the heroes,” Murphy said. “Some characters talk to the audience, drawing them into the action.”

WCT creates a real jungle experience for audiences from the moment they walk into the lobby. Murphy’s production team includes vocal direction by Melinda Mack, costume design and construction by Carrie Carpenter and set design and theater decoration by Glenn Jones and Gina Simpson.

“The Jungle Book” is a fun family show with original, catchy music and positive messages about friendship and respect for all life.

“The Jungle Book” plays two weekends beginning Oct. 10 at Whidbey Children’s Theater in the Porter Building in downtown Langley. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 10 and 17; Saturdays, Oct. 11 and 18 and Sunday matinees Oct. 12 and 19 at 2 p.m.

Adult tickets cost $12; students (K-12) and seniors (65 and older) cost $8. A special family-night performance on Friday, Oct. 17, offers all tickets at $7.

For advanced reserved seating, call 221-2282. For more information, Click here.

More in Life

Origins of fairgrounds’ story pole is a mystery

South Whidbey historian on the case to uncover true carver

Blues, berries, fun and fundraising at Saturday festival

Mutiny Bay Blues Farm hosts Commons Cafe event

Annual street dance, live bands set for Saturday

Langley’s new annual dancing-in-the-street summertime tradition is back for the third year,… Continue reading

New public art debuts in Langley

Steel and glass shape pieces chosen by arts commission

Denis Zimmermann and his wife, Cheryl, run Langley’s new ramen restaurant, Ultra House, which opened in May 2018. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times.
Langley restaurant owner is recreating his childhood with new ramen house

Denis Zimmer-mann said he’s not re-inventing the wheel with his ramen restaurant… Continue reading

A 1941 Graham Hollywood, owned by Roy Deaver of Clinton, was chosen as Best of Show in the Cool Bayview Nights car show Saturday.
Rain doesn’t dampen the fun at Cool Bayview Nights car show

Attendees selected the mildly modified and rebuilt 1941 Graham Hollywood, owned by… Continue reading

Shakespeare Festival plays emotional range

Female directors, perspective at the forefront

Expanding knowledge

Whidbey Institute adds more lodging, plans open house

Congolese Festival is a chance to celebrate, educate

Last event before Northwest Cultural Center relocates

Shhh…it’s a surprise party for old-timer Bill Lanning

Friends, customers invited to celebrate former owner of Bill’s Feed Tack

Mucking about for clams

‘Digging for Dinner’ a popular Sound Water activity

Scorch is a play about gender identification showing at Outcast’s black box theater on the Island County fairgrounds June 13-17. It’s a one-person play, performed by Carmen Berkeley. Director and co-producer Ty Molbak went to middle school in Langley was was active in Whidbey Children’s Theater. Both will be seniors at Rutgers University in the fall. One scene in the play “Scorch” portrays the main character looking into mirrors and wondering what others see.
‘Scorch’ looks at first love and ‘gender fraud’

Irish play revolves around one character’s confusion