Welcome to the jungle: The Nevada County Performing Arts Guild performs ‘The Jungle Book’ | TheUnion.com

Welcome to the jungle: The Nevada County Performing Arts Guild performs ‘The Jungle Book’

Sarah Hunter
Staff Writer

The Center for the Arts has been under renovation for some time now, but that hardly stopped Nevada County's Performing Arts Guild. Utilizing the Grass Valley Elks Lodge, PAG will be performing "The Jungle Book," directed by Paulette Rudolph, choreographed by Mila Johansen, and original music written by Daryl Stines and Johansen.

Like all PAG performances, "The Jungle Book" is not a direct retelling of the novel or the ever-famed Disney movie, but is influenced by them to create a new, original narrative.

Johansen has carefully woven the story to teach lessons about prejudice and acceptance.

"It's a new, fresh, witty take on the original story," Johansen said. "I've layered the humor so adults will enjoy it as well."

This version depicts Mowgli, lost in the jungle until he meets Baloo and Bageera. The two take a liking to him and teach him the laws of the jungle that could someday save his life. But Mowgli still believes he's bigger than he actually is, and his skills are tested as he meets up with Kaa, the monkeys, and other jungle creatures.

"We normally have 30-something kids, this time we have 17, but it works this time," Rudolph said. "The show is much more intimate. It works really well. The kids are very talented."

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"I can't speak well enough about the kids," Rudolph said. "All of them are strong. Usually we [teach 8-16-year olds], but this time we have a 7-year-old, and she says her lines as well as anyone else."

Rudolph mused about how rewarding it is to be teaching children life skills, such as speaking and acting. Even if the children don't become actors, speaking skills go on in nearly every aspect of careers and hobbies.

"One of the shows, it's usually the opening or the last one, I just sit there and I cry because it's all coming together," she said. "Something I taught them weeks and weeks ago that I thought they weren't paying attention to — and all of a sudden, they're up there doing it on stage. That happens all the time. Kids are amazing like that."

PAG has been performing on stage for 33 years, and over 3,000 children have participated. It is the longest-running theatre company in Nevada County, providing three different shows each year.

"We don't have our normal venue or the normal amount of actors to work with, but it's as good as ever," Johansen said. "You can throw anything at these kids, and they'll still do beautifully."

It seems that for PAG, all that's needed to put on an amazing performance is the bare necessities.

"The Jungle Book" will be showing Thursday through Sunday, July 19-22, and July 27-29. Thursday and Friday shows are at 7 p.m., and weekend shows are at 2 p.m. All shows will be at the Grass Valley Elks Lodge at 109 S. School Street, due to the Center for the Arts being under construction.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Advance tickets are $2 off and are available at The Book Seller and at http://www.ncpag.com.

There is a special morning performance for all area summer schools, youth day care and youth/senior organizations at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 25. Special pricing is at $5 a person (child or adult). All walk-ins are welcome.

For reservations and more information, call 530-277-7100.

Sarah Hunter is a University of Nevada journalism student and intern with The Union. Contact her at ncpcintern@theunion.com.

KNOW & GO

WHO: The Nevada County Performing Arts Guild (PAG)

WHAT: “The Jungle Book,” adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s novel

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 19-22 and July 27-29.

WHERE: The Grass Valley Elks Lodge, 109 S. School Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Advance tickets are $2 off and are available at The Book Seller and at http://www.ncpag.com.

INFO: For reservations and more information, call 530-277-7100 or visit http://www.ncpag.com