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Draper Journal

Take a trip to the jungle at Draper’s Historic Theatre

Jun 05, 2018 01:41PM ● By Michelynne McGuire

By Michelynne McGuire | m.mcguire@mycityjournals.com

Draper Historic Theatre will present “Tarzan” June 8–30. The theater is quaint and full of heart, with a cast and crew working together to put their hearts, and knuckles, into this production.   

A recent board member for the theater, retired drama teacher and actor Eldon Randall will be directing. The play will be performed as a musical with jungle décor, costumed actors as gorillas, aerial acrobats and more. 

Stage manager Kylee Larsen is glad to be involved with this show and working with the director. “He has a fantastic vision,” she said.

And if you’ve ever wondered what the jungle is like, here’s your chance. Grant Stowell, who plays one of the Tarzans, said, “It will take you back to your childhood in the jungle.”

The play has double castings for some of the roles. Aubree Langford, who plays one of the Janes, expressed her excitement to wear period costumes. “I love dressing up — old fashioned, beautiful, elegant dresses, you’re very proper, it’s fun,” she said.   

Tarzan’s costume dons the traditional loincloth. Both actors who play Tarzan, Stowell and Josh Jensen, laughed a little when sharing thoughts on the subject.

“It’s very vulnerable being in front of an audience like that,” Stowell said.

Jensen added in good humor, “a little weird, never wore a mini skirt before, rides up a lot,” he said.

Mae Hinton-Godfrey, the costume designer, has worked on many play productions, pulling her inspiration from Broadway shows. She works within the budget using “recycled materials,” and likes to be “creative, use textures and bright colors,” said Hinton-Godfrey. 

Some of the cast members who are playing gorillas have taken their characters to the next level, researching them as a species. 

Alex Montour, who plays Kerchek, Tarzan’s adopted gorilla dad, is the silver-back gorilla. He is “a leader of all the gorillas,” Montour said. “Anytime a gorilla has silver hair, that’s how you know they are the leader, because in their biology when they become the dominant gorilla, they grow gray hair,” Montour said. 

He tries to incorporate everything he’s learned about gorillas into his role, from walking on “knuckles, not fingers” to other nuances of what a gorilla does.  

Some of the cast members embrace using their own emotions to portray the story of their stage character, shining a new light and a deeper connection with their characters.

Taylor Twitchell and Bailey Loveless share the role of Kala, who is Tarzan’s gorilla mother. Both ladies have sentimental connections to their role in different ways. 

For Twitchell, being in this play was a way to remember special times with her grandmother.

“Tarzan was a show I watched with my grandma, and she would sing to me ‘You’ll Be in My Heart,’” Twitchell said.

And for Loveless, “to have a little boy, a first son for me, to explore feelings about motherhood, loving bonds…Love can conquer all,” she said.

Draper Historic Theatre is a place to express creativity, and many of the actors, sharing a sense of camaraderie, return to this theater for the friends made and the environment. 

“It’s a home away from home,” said Gabryella Shuman (13).                              

Becca Ferry plays Tarzan’s biological mother and has been performing for years with her family at Draper Historic Theatre.

“DHT has kind of been my other home since I was 6 years old, and my playground,” said Ferry. 

Ferry and her family have performed in numerous plays, and can be found welcoming the newbie talents with a kind heart. The unique environment of this theater has kept them coming back. 

 “There is a heart here,” said Ferry.

Sisters Tessa (14) and Bonnie (11) have been able to make some “good memories together,” said Dave Ellis, their father. 

“It’s been really fun,” said Tessa.

“Worries go away, and I can express myself through acting,” said Bonnie.

There are multiple messages within the show, and hopefully one that audiences will feel is that “family is everything,” said Ferry.   

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on the following days in June: 8, 9, 11, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23, 25, 29, 30

A matinee performance will be held June 23 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase at Draper’s Historic Theatre website: www.drapertheatre.org or at the location:

 Draper Historic Theatre

Address: 12366 South 900 East Draper, UT 84020

Phone: (801) 572-4144