Tarzan Literally Swings into The Muny

Leon Dobkowski swung into The Munyless than two weeks ago and well, hit the ground running.

"These are the shoes for the apes that you're looking at on the floor and these are all the ape hands," Dobkowski, the costume designer for Tarzan explains.

He's been working tirelessly on the costumes for Tarzan.

"You can not be barefoot at The Muny, so Tarzan is going to wear these shoes that we're going to paint up to be nude," he points out.

It's a musical this talented costume designer had never actually worked on.

"No, no, no I've never done it, I've never actually seen it either," Dobkowski adds.

But several months ago he started sketching.

"These are final drawings of what we've come up with, there were many, many rough versions, but this is the final version," Dobkowski says.

And now his creations are coming to life on The Muny stage.

"We're not doing realistic apes, we're not doing a realistic leopard, it's a suggestion of those animals," he goes on to say.

What you might not see from the seats is just how much work went into each ape.

"This is 195 yards of shredded fabric in about four or five different textures," he explains.

And considering summers in St. Louis can get quite warm it's sewn into something that can breath a bit.

"It's all just built on this stretch mesh here," he points out.

He also had to keep in mind all of the ape's movements.

"The movements a big deal, they have to dance, they have to tumble, they have to climb, they have to swing," Dobkowski explains.

All of which has to be done on a set that was the brainchild of this guy Timothy Mackabee.

"Most theaters you can fly scenery up and down, The Muny you can't do that so the first thing you have to do is say how am I going to do this without flying scenery," Mackabee says.

So he had to think outside the box for this particular production.

"The first thing we said was wouldn't it be cool if this was a jungle gym and then we said what if it's literally a jungle gym," Mackabee explains.

There are rope swings and ladders, monkey bars and connecting bridges.

"There's about 15 different paths through the set for an actor to take.

And it's all painted green of course to make it feel like a jungle. So check out Tarzan at The Muny because the men behind the scenes aren't monkeying around.


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