A cast of youngsters, the youngest 4 years old, have been rehearsing their lines, songs and dances for the past few weeks to prepare for the opening of "The Jungle Book Kids," which will take the stage March 31, at The Community House.
"It's fun for everyone," Gianni Gizzi, 13, said why the community should attend the performance. "There are talented and amazing actors and it's exciting and heartfelt at times."
Creative Theater Workshop will present "The Jungle Book Kids" at 7 p.m. Friday, March 31, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2 and at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6 and Friday, April 7. The performance is being sponsored by the Sanibel Community House.
Chris Baker, 14, as Bagheera; Victoria Borton, 12, as Shere Khan; Kristian Schafer, as Mowgli and Gianni Gizzi, 13, as Baloo.
Tickets can be purchased at www.sanibeltickets.com, or www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net for $5 for children and $10 for adults. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the performance at the door for $10 for children and adults.
"Join Mowgli, King Louie and the rest of the jungle gang as they swing their way through wacky adventures and thwart the fierce tiger, Shere Khan. With colorful characters and that toe-tapping jungle rhythm, 'The Jungle Book' is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for audiences of all ages."
The large personality of Baloo, the bear, is played by Gizzi, who explains his character as a "fun loving" large bear with a "calm voice."
Gizzi began acting when he was 4 years old. The young actor said he enjoys acting because it provides him with an outlet to go into a completely different world all while entertaining the crowd through tears and laughter.
"Bare Necessities" is Gizzi's favorite song in the play because he gets to perform with Mowgli, the human boy.
"It's fun and exciting," he said.
Throughout the rehearsals, Gizzi said he had the opportunity to work on his biggest struggle - dancing. At one of the weekend rehearsals, he learned a fun dance from "Mary Poppins," which ignited a larger passion for dancing and a bigger want to improve his craft.
Ten year old Kristian Schafer, who began acting this year, was cast for the role of Mowgli.
"I get carried a lot and go through a lot of adventures," he said of why he enjoys his role.
The song "Bare Necessities" is also Schafer's favorite of the play because he's besides Baloo and he gets "carried away by monkeys."
Victoria Borton, 12, was cast for the role of Shere Khan, the ferocious tiger. The role, she said, has been challenging because she has to stay committed to the character.
"I'm a nice person," she said smiling.
An actress of five years, her role as Shere Khan, she said has taught her how to scare people.
Another key role, Bagheera, is played by Chris Baker, 14. He explained his character as the panther who chases around Mowgli as he tries to keep the boy in line while taking him to the man village.
"It's a great show about how people come together and settle their differences for the person they love," Baker said.
Creative Theater Workshop will hold auditions in August for "Elf Jr." More information will be released soon.
"Broadway and Beyond," a production that will take the stage on April 8, is looking for kids through 12th grade who would like to perform a two minute act. Those interested should contact Michelle Hamstra at email@example.com.