Report: Actors' Equity Blocks Angell From Broadway Tarzan

News   Report: Actors' Equity Blocks Angell From Broadway Tarzan The U.K. Evening Times reports that 11-year-old Sam Angell, who had successfully auditioned to play the role of Boy Tarzan in the upcoming Disney musical Tarzan, may not be permitted to do so because he is not an American citizen.

Actors' Equity Association, according to the U.K. paper, has banned the young actor from appearing in the production, which is set to swing into Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre March 24, 2006, with an official opening night of May 10. Actors' Equity only permits foreign actors to appear on Broadway if "they are an established star or can do something that an American actor can't do." Actors' Equity spokesperson Maria Somma told the Evening Times, "The rules are there to give our own actors the first shot."

Often, non-American actors are permitted to star in Broadway productions in exchange for American actors being allowed to play in the U.K.

Angell, who is a student at Westcoats Primary in Cambuslang, told the U.K. paper, "Being Tarzan sounded fantastic. I'd be swinging above the audience. I would love to act in a Broadway show and do television as well." Angell auditioned for the role in New York.

Lynne Millar, Angell's agent, added, "Sam's a phenomenal little kid. He got the part but Equity in the U.S. will not allow a British actor to play the part unless he is a star in his own right. We've left it in the hands of our lawyer to see if we can move the goalposts. Playing Tarzan on Broadway would be a great first job for him."

The young Angell has been a student at the Academy of Theatre Arts in Glasgow for the past five years. A spokesperson for Tarzan could not comment on the casting.

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Two-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (Aida, Carousel) will direct and design scenery and costumes for Tarzan. Oscar and six-time Grammy Award winner Phil Collins has written the music and lyrics, "expanding his songs for Disney's film into a complete theatre score."

Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) has written the book, adapted from the screenplay by Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker and Noni White and based on the novel, "Tarzan of the Apes."

Choreography is by Meryl Tankard, with aerial movement by Pichón Baldinu (De La Guarda). Lighting design is by Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Aida) and sound design is by John Shivers. Other members of the creative team include Paul Bogaev (Music Producer/Vocal Arrangements) and Doug Besterman (Orchestrations).

Phil Collins composed five songs for the 1999 film, "Disney's TARZAN," including "Two Worlds, One Family," "Strangers Like Me" and "You'll Be In My Heart," which won the 2000 Academy Award for Song of the Year, spent 10 weeks as No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.

The soundtrack went double platinum, while the film went on to "instant international success, grossing $447 million worldwide, with subsequent DVD sales in excess of 13 million units."

Collins makes his Broadway songwriting debut with Tarzan — he's penned music and lyrics for eight new songs for the Broadway production, which also borrows from his film score.

Respected designer Bob Crowley makes his Broadway directorial debut with the show. He won the Tony for his scenery for Aida and was acclaimed for his design for Mary Poppins in London.

The 34-member cast will be announced shortly.