Writer praises 'Jungle Book Kids' show

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By The Staff

I am not a performing arts critic by any stretch of the imagination.

But I felt compelled to comment on the Lancaster County Community Playhouse production of the “Jungle Book Kids.”

My daughter, Kate, played a small part in the production.

Those who missed this show missed something very special indeed.

The talents of our children never cease to amaze and they were on full display in this rousing rendition of the Disney classic.

The singing, dancing, costuming and just plain fun of this production were wonderful.

From the Big, Bumbling Bodacious Bear Baloo to the sheer joy and huge energy and stage presence of Little Mowgli, a first-grader; from the elegant, almost sultry Kaa the Snake to the eerily mysterious Shere Khan the Lion; from the quite captivating and charming Baguerra to Jazzy King Louie, these characters transformed the Covenant Baptist Church gym into Mowgli’s jungle home.

The joyous monkey dance, the clunky elephants, the precious bumblebees, the singing and swinging vultures, and the energetic jungle chorus will have you singing “I Wanna Walk Like You,” and “The Bare Necessities” for days.

The accomplishments of director Eric Grace with this very young troupe of singers, dancers and actors over a relatively short period of time are amazing.

Grace’s patience, sense of humor, commitment to excellence and attention to detail are evident in every scene.

Beckie Johnson, the mother of five children, pulled every possible joyous note from these mostly under 10-year-olds.

Fun choreography directed by Patricia Clancy is central to this production.

I have to say that I was momentarily taken aback to walk into rehearsal one night and hear Eric telling the performers, “Girls, use your tails!” I was relieved to round the corner to see the wonderful monkey dancers swinging those tails for all they were worth.

These children and their directors and crew committed half of their summer to create something very special in and for our community.

Hats off to everyone who took part, including all sponsors, particularly Wilson Gas and Oil, advertisers, volunteers and Covenant Baptist Church. And to the 60 children who brought “The Jungle Book” to life.

We, parents and the community, are very proud of you.

Denise B. Pettit