Tag Archives: Jungle Book

Media Theatre Company’s “The Jungle Book” Review

Last Saturday I took my three little assistants – ages almost 3 through 5 (with my big assistant for back-up) to see a musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book at the Media Theatre.  

We pulled up in a misting rain and the little guys were transfixed by the rows of theatrical lights below the marquee.  The theater was built in 1927 for vaudeville and even occasionally featured the “talkies”!  It became a plain old movie theatre for a time.  (I saw my first movie there, The Black Stallion in 1979! We had to leave in the middle, though,  because there was a snake in the movie!)  Through many transformations and an extensive renovation, through the take-over of non-profit management when a for-profit theater group disbanded, and after the adoption of a new mission to produce great American theater here in Delaware county, the building has retained its classic beauty and an air of sepia-toned magic.

The criteria for a great children’s production is a bit different for the adults buying the tickets than it is for the little audience members!  The parking was super-easy.  In spite of a few harmless Muppet Theatre type back-ups (running out of programs, confused patrons trying to figure out ticketing, etc.) we were deeply impressed that the theatre thoughtfully provided booster seats for our little guys and that the line for the bathroom somehow didn’t seem too long!  The lights went down and out came the theatre rep for a rather long speech about the education program.  A toddler girl then volunteered to go onstage, and was coaxed to sing to everyone’s delight!  The talk wrapped up and the show began before anyone’s little angels began tearing the place down, so we were off to an excellent start!

Perhaps I was spoiled by the SRA Shakespeare kids (see last week’s SRA Shakespeare Review) but the story seemed to take a bit to get rolling.  The student actors were adorable and cleverly paired with experienced professionals.   Tim Haney was a funny and affable Baloo.  JD Triolo as the ten year old Mowgli had a very pleasing voice and relaxed presence.  Amber Duncan quietly gave Mowgli’s wolf-mom an Aunty Em-like quality that I liked very much.  Aaliyah Michael had great charisma as one of the three silly hyenas.  The little monkeys were appropriately mischievous!  Patrick Murray anchored us with his narration as the adult Mowgli, with the help of  Kristen Arbutina’s straightforward Bagheera. Roger Ricker, as King Louis, the monkey, kept the fun in the thing and danced, sang, and ribbed on the audience with with abandon!  We would have loved to see this group get their paws on those expensive Disney rights as the music was not as engaging as the performers.

After the show, the actors gamely lined up in the lobby to be pawed over (or blinked shyly at)  by their little fans.  They let us take pictures with our iPhones. Not one main player was too cool to offer a paw to a child – no matter how small or sticky!  Programs were available for taking home!  The car was right out front and our three under 6 were buckled into the car without incident – a parents’ theatre dream!

We went home like nothing had happened.  But this morning one little helper asked me plaintively, “Are we going to see The Jungle Book play again today?”

Tickets to the final performance, next Saturday, July 28th at 11am, are available at www.mediatheatre.org or by calling 610.891.0100.  You can also learn more about the company, the history of the edifice, kids programming, the season for grown-ups and even the Delco Idol contest!

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Activities in Wallingford, Swarthmore & Media this weekend – July 13-15th, 2012!

Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by...

Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Noel Paton: fairies in Shakespeare (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight (Friday, July 13th) only – Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be presented by middle and high school students at Swarthmore Rutledge Elementary School on College Avenue in Swarthmore!  This event is FREE!  7pm.

As usual, the Farmers Market will be held at the Swarthmore Borough parking lot Saturday (July 14th) from 9:30am-1:30pm.

Two offerings of children’s theatre are available Saturday:

– Media Theatre presents Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” at 11am Saturday.  Call 610.891.0100 or visit www.mediatheatre.org for more information. (My family will be attending this week’s performance – please join us!  We can even talk real estate during intermission!)

– Hedgerow Theatre presents “Snow White and the Little People” at 11am Saturday.  Call 610.565.4211 or visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org for more information!

On Sunday the Blackbird Society Orchestra will perform as part of the Rose Tree Park Summer Festival.  Check out www.co.delaware.pa.us/summer for more info on these outdoor summer performances!

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Weekend Activities in town July 7th-9th!

First Friday is tonight, July 6th!  Events are from 5-8pm at the Dew Drop Inn, Aria Mediterranean Cuisine, Hobbs Coffee, Renato Pizza, Occaisionally Yours, the Co-op, the Borough Hall and the Healing Center!  Enjoy great art, great food, and the company of a great community with outdoor dining and live music too!  Check out this article on the topic, where I found a great photo featured to the right: http://daily.swarthmore.edu/2009/09/07/first-fridays/

Media Children’s Theatre is performing an hour-long musical version of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” Saturdays at 11am through July 28th for ages 4 and up.  Visit mediatheatre.org for more info!

Hedgerow Theatre presents “Now, Now, Darling” – a farce by Ray Cooney with John Chapman.  Visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org for tickets and information!

Next Friday Swarthmore College is hosting a blood drive at Upper Tarble in Clothier (bell tower building) on campus.  To schedule online: http://www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code 0223806.

More activities can be found in this week’s The Swarthmorean newspaper as well as a great article encouraging us all to switch to green energy in order to up our EPA Community Challenge ranking – currently we are #4 in the nation!  You can go to the “Green Tips” tab at http://www.afewsteps.org and then select “Make a Green Choice for Your Electricity Provider” if you would like to do your part!

My favorite piece in The Swarthmorean this week, however, was a poem “On Leaving Swarthmore” by J. Barrie Shepherd, a twenty nine year Wallingford-Swarthmore resident.

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