Paul Leslie Fields Jr. was always enthralled with gorillas and acting.
So when the opportunity came for him to combine his two passions by performing as one of the apes in Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s production of Disney’s “Tarzan,” the 22-year-old McKeesport High School and Point Park University graduate jumped at the chance.
“‘Tarzan’ is a great show about family, belonging and love—everyone has a story where they’ve felt odd or ‘othered’ by the world and this show highlights that struggle,” said Fields, who resides in McKeesport. “It’s also largely concerned with family and the dynamics of parents and children. Then there’s the obvious difference between humans and gorillas. Even though they appear unalike, our characters prove they are not so different at all.
“It’s also wildly entertaining,” continued Fields, who got his start with Pittsburgh Musical Theater in “Dreamgirls” earlier this season and watched his favorite sci-fi, ape-simian-centered movies like “Planet of the Apes,” “King Kong” and “Mighty Joe Young” to get the primate moves down. “The dancing, the singing, the lights—all of it creates an atmosphere of pure joy.”
Peters Township preschool teacher Amy Meyers and her son, Charlie, agreed with Fields.
“The staging and the deepness of Kerchack’s (Brady Patsy) voice and the scenes between him and Kala (Alysha Watson) brought two worlds together and that’s what Disney does. I think Walt Disney’s vision was to make sure we’re all equal and ‘Tarzan’ really does that.”
Charlie Meyers, who played the title role at Peters Township High School, last year, acquiesced.