Shuler Hensley Likely for Broadway's Tarzan

News   Shuler Hensley Likely for Broadway's Tarzan Shuler Hensley, who will be seen Off-Broadway next month in The Great American Trailer Park Musical, has been offered a role in the upcoming Disney musical Tarzan.

Shuler Hensley (right), with Laura Benanti
Shuler Hensley (right), with Laura Benanti Photo by Aubrey Reuben

On the actor's official website, Hensley says, "I have been offered the role of Kerchak (the grey-black gorilla and Tarzan father) for Disney's upcoming musical version of Tarzan. It will be a huge production complete with jungle and a Phil Collins score. Should be great! It will open on Broadway this spring."

No official casting of Tarzan has been announced.

Tarzan will feature direction as well as set and costume design by Bob Crowley, choreography by Meryl Tankard with aerial movement by Pichon Baldinu of De La Guarda fame. Natasha Katz will design the lighting with sound design by John Shivers.

Phil Collins, who penned the score for Disney's animated "Tarzan" film, has written several additional songs for the stage version. The musical will also feature a book by David Henry Hwang, adapted from the film's screenplay by Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker and Noni White and based on the novel "Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Shuler Hensley won a Tony Award for his work as Jud Fry, a role he created on the London stage to Olivier Award-winning effect, in the most recent Broadway revival of Oklahoma!. His other theatrical credits include Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and The Most Happy Fella. Hensley's numerous screen credits include "Van Helsing," "Ed," "Deadline," "Gary Powers," "Monday Night Mayhem," "Sabrina," "Someone Like You" and "The Bread My Sweet." Hensley also recently filmed the upcoming movies "Legend of Zorro" and "Opa!" *

The 1999 animated Disney film of "Tarzan" featured songs by Phil Collins. Collins, in fact, won an Oscar for the tune "You'll Be In My Heart." The film employed the voices of Tony Goldwyn (Tarzan), Minnie Driver (Jane Porter), Glenn Close (Kala), Brian Blessed (Clayton), Nigel Hawthorne (Porter), Lance Henriksen (Kerchak), Wayne Knight (Tanor), Alex D. Linz (Young Tarzan) and Rosie O'Donnell (Terk).

A Jan. 30, 2004, workshop of the musical featured Daniel Manche as the Child Tarzan and The Light in the Piazza's Matthew Morrison as the Adult Tarzan. Former Rent-er Adam Pascal sang the role of the Tarzan Storyteller. The remainder of the workshop cast included Everett Bradley (ensemble), Laura Bell Bundy (Jane), Will Chase (Clayton), Dwayne Clark (ensemble), Aisha de Haas (ensemble), Chris Fitzgerald (Adult Terk), Kristen Lee Kelly (ensemble), Joshua Kobak (ensemble), Anika Larsen (ensemble), Cass Morgan (Kala), Doug Storm (ensemble), Travis Walters (Child Terk), Alton White (Kerchak) and Paxton Whitehead (Porter).