'Jungle Book' creatures will roam BHES halls

Nov. 24, 2012 @ 02:30 PM

Monkeys, elephants, vultures, tigers and other creatures will be roaming the halls of Benton Heights Elementary School this week as the drama club performs "Disney Jungle Book Kids."

The cast of 43 tell the story of Mowgli, the man-cub, and his adventures with Baloo, Bagheera and friends while escaping Shere Khan, the villian tiger. 

Auditions were held the third week of school and it took about eight hours to cast the play. The auditions were open to third-grade students and above. 

According to Dawn Moretz, who is directing and designing the lights, 98 kids auditioned, more than in recent years.  

She credits the daily exposure with the arts with the increase. The students have developed a comfort level and an excitement about performing. The second-grade students are already eager to perform, she said. 

"The energy level's been fantastic," Moretz said. 

This year, they moved the musical from the spring to the fall. They also made some of the students "captains." There is a monkey captain and two jungle captains, to help the other students through dancing and choreography.  

The show also has a global element through the dances and costumes. They are intended to signify the cultures presented in The Jungle Book, Moretz said. 

The performance will welcome back veterans and greet many students who are new to the stage. 

"It's a very mixed group," Moretz said. "We've got a whole lot of repeat kids this year." 

The students are very excited to perform. Recently they put on their costumes for a photo shoot and that is when the excitement really set in, Moretz said. 

The performance is a significant one for the history of Benton Heights. It is the first show the students performed when the school became an arts school. Since it is the 100-year anniversary, the teachers thought they should commemorate their most recent designation. 

Performances will be Thursday, Nov. 29 and Friday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. Admission is free to children under 12 years old and Union County Public Schools employees with badges. General admission is $5. The show is about 40 minutes. 

Anyone interested can RSVP with Box Office Manager Melonie Ferguson at melonie.ferguson@ucps.k12.nc.us and tell her the number of seats to reserve, both free and paid.