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August 3, 2004 > Come See the Bare Necessities

Come See the Bare Necessities

by Mekala Raman

Stage 1 Theatre and Dreamcatcher Productions are teaming up to present their version of the much-loved children's play, Jungle Book, at Newark Memoral High School Theatre. The Jungle Book is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling story "Mowgli" and tells the story of a boy and his jungle friends including Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther.

This particular version of The Jungle Book, which has never been shown on Broadway, features a teenage Mowgli and features songs from the Disney animated classic including the award winning "Bare Necessities". Director Belinda Maloney and her cast of forty two children, ranging in age from five to sixteen, have been working hard on the musical since the end of May and are planning to use their talents to captivate the audience.

"We actually have some harmony, which is not common for a children's production," remarks Maloney.

Supporting the cast will be a wide range of fantastic and colorful costumes created by a hard-working team of parents and volunteers. As you can imagine, the bulky suits can become quite uncomfortable in the warm weather of summer, but the kids work through the heat looking forward to opening night.

The Jungle Book tells the tale of a young boy, about twelve years old, who is raised by wolves in the jungle and befriends animals like Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the Panther. He learns the ways of the jungle and is more accustomed to the characteristics of the animals than those of mankind, as he never made contact with humans in the jungle. This peaceful existence is disrupted when Shere Khan, a fearful tiger, is on the prowl to kill Mowgli.

The Jungle Book highlights the struggle of good versus evil, the worth of friendship and the value of loyalty. Maloney admires the various messages and morals intertwined throughout the story, "At one point Mowgli says, 'We are of one blood, you and I.' and that is a very important message to convey especially in the times we are in now."

The Jungle Book opens on August 19 and runs through the 29th. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday's shows start at 2:30 p.m.

To see this charming tale at Stage 1 Theatre, please order tickets at, call (510) 791-0287, or visit The Book End (5678 Thornton Avenue, Newark). Adult tickets are $12 and children's tickets are $10. The performances are at Newark Memorial High School Theatre (39375 Cedar Boulevard, Newark).

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