This year's spring musical at Central Crossing High School is giving student actors a chance to make monkeys out of themselves.

This year's spring musical at Central Crossing High School is giving student actors a chance to make monkeys out of themselves.

Or, more accurately, gorillas.

The school will present Tarzan: The Musical Friday through Sunday, March 21-23.

Based on the 1999 Disney animated film, the musical features songs written by Phil Collins and tells about the adventures of Tarzan, the orphaned boy who was raised in the jungle by gorillas.

"It's a fun musical that the whole family can enjoy," Central Crossing theater teacher Nathan Weaver said. "Children will like the color, dancing and story line and I think adults will enjoy the music and seeing how we convert the stage into a jungle setting.

"We try to alternate the spring musical, doing a more adult show one year and a light family show the next," Weaver said. "Last year we did Into the Woods and I think mixing up the type of shows we do provides more of a rewarding and learning experience for our students."

The stage adaptation of Tarzan is largely faithful to Disney's screen version, although the musical does not include the character of the elephant, he said.

"A lot of our students were disappointed by that," Weaver said.

But the students seem to be relishing putting on a play based on an animated movie many of them grew up watching, he said.

The characters include both humans and animals, including an ensemble of gorillas.

"Portraying an animal is a nice challenge for our cast," Weaver said. "The hardest thing is for them to be believable in the animals' movements and their reactions to coming in contact with humans and seeing a dress or hearing a human voice for the first time."

To prepare for her role as Kala, the gorilla who finds and raises the orphaned Tarzan, Anna Dick joined others in the gorilla ensemble to watch a documentary about the animals.

"We wanted to capture how they move and act," she said. "I would describe them as being gentle giants."

A four-year participant in the spring musical, Dick said she couldn't have picked a better musical for her final show.

"It's a cool show to end on. We all know and love the Disney shows, so it's been so much fun to do Tarzan," she said. "I've liked the challenge of portraying an animal instead of a human being."

It's not just the actors who are going ape over this production of Tarzan.

Stage manager Hunter Dean said it's a fun show behind the scenes as well.

"It's great because there's so much action going on at all times," he said. "There are a lot of quick changes and you have to keep on your toes to make sure everything's running smoothly."

He would much rather be working behind the scenes than be up on stage, Dean said.

"The best part of being a stage manager is that you get to work with and hang out with everybody," he said. "It's the best job you could have in the theater."

General admission tickets to Tarzan are $10. Tickets are $8 for students and seniors and $5 for children age 5 and under.

Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 21-22, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23.