Musical theater

The Jungle Book

By Top Hat Theatre
Written by Pamela & Todd Russell
U of M Rarig Center Proscenium

Stomp on down to the Seeonee Hills Jungle for a magical, musical, energy packed adventure! Join Mowgli, Baloo and friends as together they discover the true meaning of family and the cherished value of love.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 2 and up.

 Thursday, 7/31 @ 7:00 p.m.
 Friday, 8/1 @ 8:30 p.m.
 Sunday, 8/3 @ 4:00 p.m.
 Wednesday, 8/6 @ 8:30 p.m.
 Thursday, 8/7 @ 7:00 p.m.
Read the reviews

For the Kids

by Thomas Moore on August 9, 2014
This user has reviewed 2 shows

This adaptation of the jungle book is perfect for the kids. But unless you have children to venture to it with, it leaves a little left to be desired for date night. Reimagined Disney can be difficult as the originals movies are so iconic.

However, the music was tight and it was visually appealing. Worth checking out if you have little ones. Seeing other young audience members enjoying themselves also contributed to the overall experience. It's so nice to see the younger generation appreciating live theatre.

So much fun!

by Teige Cudahy on August 9, 2014
This user has reviewed 3 shows

The cast of The Jungle Book brings this classic story to life in a fun and beautiful way. Everything is full of energy and the performers did a fantastic job. Congratulations on a wonderful show!

Kids Intro to the Fringe

by Jan Russell on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great kids intro to the Fringe. We took our 10 year old to the fringe for the first time this year. She liked the the final scene. High action and drama and kid friendly comedy for the elementary set. The adult actors, especially Sher Kahn and the 6 Kaa s (number 5 was our favorite) were delightful. Mother Wolf's voice was lovely. The elephant brigade was a great fun.

Fun for young and old alike!

by Elizabeth Froemming on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great show! It was engaging and fun to watch with a wonderful and brilliant cast.

A Proud and Satisfied Audience Member

by Domonique Scott on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

I was extremely impressed with the production of the Jungle Book, Each character did such an amazing job with captivating the audience and making it fun for the little people. I loved each character, and I thought Mowgli did an astounding job with memorizing each line and bringing the character to life. How can a 7 year old go wrong when they are playing a jungle boy?

I love the girl who sang the song about the jungle boy she has such a beautiful voice.

I loved the snake girls, they were so funny and had a lot of attitude. I really enjoyed the elephants especially the little one, super adorable. Everyone did such a great job. Thanks to Pam for putting on such a fantastic show as well as playing the elephant.

Definitely a kids show

by Rachel Johnson on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 10 shows

I went to go see this show because I knew someone in the cast, but wasn't expecting an elementary school play. I appreciate that there were kids in this kids show and that it was so family friendly; I enjoyed seeing the children in the audience light up at different parts.

Sometimes the music was too loud and I couldn't hear the singing. It was a cheesy, but cute, storyline, and I think it does a great job for being a kids show because the kids in the audience seemed to like it. Not sure I would recommend it for an adult with no children, but four stars for Rob Ward's portrayal of King Louie, and for the little Mowgli's diva-esque performance.

Well, the kids liked it...

by J. Anderson on August 7, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Put 800 children on a stage and you're going to get large audiences and great reviews from their friends and family. That is to be expected, and even a good thing- it is good to get children interested and confident in theatre at a young age.

If you're not a family member, or have 4 children in need of entertainment, don't bother with this one. The music is formulaic and lifeless, and the story is watered down. The adults give good efforts, but not enough that I'd sit through this without children in tow.

Some parts were okay

by Julie Schramke on August 7, 2014
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I liked the actor who portrayed Shere Khan, but wondered why he was the only principal character without a song, while the King Louie sang a song about his banana, which came off as unintentionally funny. Personally I dislike the "Christmas Pageant" aspect of this show where everyone needs to have a line (most unintelligible), and the production number appeared three times, same music, same dance. Why? Did it further the story line? Also, I don't think the writers actually read the Kipling original to the end when creating the story, but stuck to the Disney version for inspiration.

Very good family show

by Anna Amyx on August 7, 2014
This user has reviewed 8 shows

This retelling of the Jungle Book story boasts a huge cast, fun costumes, and a lavish set. The casting was spot-on from the loving mother and father wolf, to the manic monkeys, to the marching elephants, to the silky and seething Shere Khan. Kaa the snake is richly (and comedically) portrayed by 6 actors.

I gave this show four stars instead of five mainly because it was hard to hear the dialogue much of the time. This is partly ameliorated by the songs (repetitive lyrics). Otherwise, a very good show, especially good for families with kids.

Great for kids and kits at heart!

by Nanette Stearns on August 6, 2014
This user has reviewed 30 shows

There are so few Fringe shows that are really appropriate for children, that I was glad to see this one. Very professional presentation and fun to watch all the performers.

Awesome show!

by Hans Lillejord on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

This children's adaptation is full of fun for everyone! The music is fun. Easy to follow. Very entertaining. Go see it!

Great show!

by Michelle Kmiecik on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

I saw this show with my 9 year-old daughter last Sunday, and we both loved it. The huge cast of adults and children does a wonderful job with a well written script and engaging music. I was very impressed with the full cast very well choreographed and executed dance numbers. The whole cast emitted great energy from the stage. Our favorites were Shere Khan and Mowgli, who is clearly a star in the making. Highly recommend it especially if you have children.

Something for everyone else

by Katie Koechling on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 3 shows

It's not that this show is bad... lots of cute stuff, a great snake and stuff, but I just felt itt dragged a bit. Not my thing, but everyone else seemed to have a good time.

2 people found this review helpful

A real treat for kids.

by Nick and Rosie Heille on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 28 shows

It's a 5 for Kids and a 4 for adults. The next generation of theatergoers and doers were in this well produced and directed play. Everyone enjoyed it especially the kids. The young actors in the play did spontaneous handsprings and summersaults because they were so exited. What more could you want? Thank you to all the adults that captured that energy and brought it to the theater.

Go see the kids if you know them

by Stephanie Dedieu on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 5 shows

All the adult actors bored me with their lack of presence and engagement on stage. Really it felt like the director had not paid enough attention to each scene. Not to talk about the lack of attention and effort put in the "puppetry work". The kids were present and on spot but what a shame that a talented kid playing mowgli comes out as a bad singer because the songs are too deep for him!

2 people found this review helpful

Bucket of Cute!

by Adam Rousar on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

A cute show! A HUGE CAST!!! Like the title of this post says it is a bucket of cute! The main reason to see the show would be the Baby Elephant! She was FANTASTIC!!!!!!

Preview Song was Brilliant

by Marie Cooney on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 24 shows

The passion, beauty, and brilliant talent of the girl, who sang about the Jungle Boy, aka man cub, asking "Where does he go?… " during the preview is the precise reason I went to this show. I wanted to see her front and center again. Unfortunately, directing that scene at the side, caused feedback with the sound system during this and other pieces. Use of wireless microphones helped deliver an outstanding show for all ages in an often difficult space. The cast included a good mix of children, teens, and adults in a play which is appropriate for all ages. Although I do not have children, I commend this company on this show and I encourage others to bring more shows to the Fringe which are particularly appropriate for children. Thank you.

1 person found this review helpful

The Biggest Musical you'll see at Fringe

by Minrod Mier on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 4 shows

Once again Pamela and Todd present one their amazing, fun, and slightly sideways shows! A great big cast with lots of fun supporting characters. All the kids in this cast were all great and so talented! The main standouts for me were Mowgli, his wolf parents, and - okay - all the leads. Full of crazy dances and sentimental ballads, this version of The Jungle Book isn't Disney or a Disney parody, this show is a rumble in the jungle and just plain fun.

Top Hat always brings the biggest musical shows to the Fringe. They're crazy that way. I am very happy to say this kid and adult friendly show tickled me all the way through.


by Scotti Thompson on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 8 shows

A good quality family show, which Fringe needs a lot more of. Thanks for giving us the classic Jungle Book! I felt like a kid again! Ba-loo!

1 person found this review helpful

Jungle Book - Top Hat

by Katherine Froemming on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great show for the entire family. Liked the family values presented.

Song delivery, staging and lyrics were moving and hilarious especially Mama Wolf, Mowgli, King Louie and Shanti, the young village girl. The group numbers were full of energy. Mowgli was amazing with his vocals, acting and acrobatics, especially considering his young age.
Thoroughly enjoyed the show!

1 person found this review helpful

Fun little show

by Benjamin Kolis on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 4 shows

It was fun to see so many young-uns involved in a show. The choreography was crisp and the story was classic with a few interesting twists (King Louie and the ladies of the python Ka were particularly fun).

I had a hard time hearing all of the words all of the time--the music was right there onstage with the performers and tended to overpower the actors in the huge space (especially the drums).

I enjoyed the show, but wish I'd heard more of it.

Jungle Book

by Ashley Robillard on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Absolutely loved it! Great show for kids and adults. Very entertaining. There were points in the show when I burst out laughing without expecting to at all.
I was ear to ear grinning for a good 15 min after the show ended. The boy who played Mowgli was amazing and adorable and is going places. So good!
And the Kaa girls...awesome! Loved the banter between them.
Overall a great show and will be recommending it for sure!

Great for the whole family

by Rikki Honnold on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

I took my 18 month old to her first play ever. This was a great choice! There were so many amusing parts and the elephant brigade and the snake were hilarious.

Six ladies play caa, the snake and the elephants march in a makeshift brigade.
The snake is sensuous and tries to eat Mogwli.

Mogwli himself is a mini-Bruno Mars, this kid and the villager who plays his almost-girlfriend are great! So much talent in this production.

The writer wrote a clever script and the music is a great accompaniment.

Brings your kids to this! It is way cooler than a Disney version of the same source material. Kudos to people willing to write a new script themselves and produce for kids.

1 person found this review helpful

Lots of great laughs

by dave spangler on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Wonderful characters! I really enjoyed the character interactions they pull you right into the show. The singing was great I wished I knew the words so I could sing along. So many of the kids stayed in their characters the entire time, there are quite a few future stars in that bunch.

Fun for ALL!

by laura runge on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great show for all ages. Great dancing, amazing singers, and really funny characters. I'll be bringing more family to see it again!

A solid family friendly choice

by Kim Chase-Kozak on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 7 shows

Little Mogli and Shere Khan were excellent. Loved seeing the large cast on stage and the fact that they had live musicians. This show is definitely geared toward the younger set. Occassionally hard to hear lines and a few tech issue while we were there.

1 person found this review helpful

Four stars for kids, 2.5 for adults

by Patrick Gallagher on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Really solid children's entertainment. Ambitious in its scope. When the stage fills with the cast you get a real sense of excitement and energy. Kids all around me were engaged by the story. The cast is enthusiastic; The young man who plays Mowgli practically radiates charm. The snake's number was the standout song.

That said, probably not as much of a draw for adults. Hopefully they can iron out a few technical issues with sound over the course of the run. For now, sit more house right.

3 people found this review helpful

Jungle Fun For Everyone!

by Zander Lee on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 5 shows

My granddaughter and I enjoyed this more than the Disney movie. Great villains! Jacksons menacing Shere Khan, Pauliks repellent Tabaqui the jackal, & the 6 (!) actresses who play Kaa are seductively evil with a standout song. Its a shame the character is undercut by a crude, pointless joke later. Scotts Mowgli is a delight. Strom is tender yet strong as Mother Wolf and sings beautifully. Saxe is excellent as the initially doubtful, but ultimately courageous & loving Father Wolf. The Wolf Family scenes are the heart of the show. Saxe and Jacksons fight is a highlight and makes a great climax. The whole cast shines in that well designed number.It felt a little rushed, some scenes felt like filler, still a great adaptation & Fringe family show

2 people found this review helpful

Fun! Fun!! Fun!!!

by Chan San on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

The show was very energetic and entertaining with many great songs! The kids did a wonderful job and I especially enjoyed Shere Khan, Mother Wolf and Father Wolf. I would definitely recommend this show to all ages!!!

1 person found this review helpful

Fun Show. Great Characters.

by Keith Wolf on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

We all know the story of the Jungle Book and this adaptation was well performed with fantastic character development. Shere Khan was a standout and his performance was grand. Kaa, the snake, was exceptionally played by a group cast with great humor. Kaa's singing was also exceptional adding great moments to the show. And little Mowgli was the shining star adding great energy and vibrancy to the entire show. Great for kids of all ages.

1 person found this review helpful

Love that Jungle Beat!

by Amy Bellinger on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

What a fantastic way to start off the Fringe! I could only catch one on opening night, and what a great decision I made! The large cast was full of energy and humor. The music was beautiful and helped tell the story well. I especially liked King Louie and Kaa, but holy cats, Shere Khan was incredible!!! He alone was worth the price of my ticket! I don't have kids, but I love classic stories and this one proved to be well thought out, and a fun way to spend an hour of my time. That little Mowgli... he's going places! (Oh, and did I mention Shanti.... oh, and... ) Yeah. You should get a ticket to this little Fringy gem!

2 people found this review helpful

My Daughter Loved It!

by Bridget Gernander on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Fun production with great humor and sweetness. My daughter was repeating lines from the snake all night. Highly recommend for families.

1 person found this review helpful


by Stephanie Piland on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great job by the entire cast! The story was well told and the music was fun and engaging. I especially enjoyed the children, as well as Mother Wolf, King Louie and Tabaqui. Very enjoyable show!

1 person found this review helpful


by Markus Akre on August 1, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

A nice adaption of a classic story. Great to see so many young actors involved.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew

Xavion Scott


Singing and dancing since age 2, Xavion began to explore theatre at Stage Coach shortly thereafter. A student of Birch Grove Performing Arts, he also shines academically. Knowing he wanted to be on stage acting, he joined Top Hat Theatre's Young Actor's Club where he was an immediate hit with the audiences in his title role of Peter Pan. Following that success, he plunged into the role of King Louie in their YAC version of The Jungle Book. Xavion dreams of one day making it to the big screen or being part of Disney entertainment.

Katharine Strom

Mother Wolf

Katharine is thrilled to be making her Fringe debut! Favorite credits include: 9 to 5 (Judy), The Wild Party (Kate), Oklahoma (Laurey), Chicago (Velma), and The Sound of Music (Maria). B.F.A. Musical Theater, North Dakota State University. Many thanks to Top Hat, Mom, Dad and Evan.

Matt Saxe

Father Wolf

Matt's previous Minnesota Fringe Festival credits include: Grimm for Kids! (Shadow Horse Theatre), Theater 101 (ABTech Midwest), Tales from a Twisted Universe (Seldom Scene Productions), Once Upon A CSI (Theatre of the Cheshire Cat) and Sex Soap Torture Weather (Shadow Horse Theatre). Matt moved to MN from Los Angeles and is the founder and artistic director of Shadow Horse Theater where he produces/directs/performs in the popular A Drinking Game Minnesota series at Bryant Lake Bowl and just closed Clive Barker's Crazyface, playing the role of Mengo. Matt is also a member of Last Action Movie improve. Film Credits: Jarhead, Pearl Harbor TV: The Bold and the Beautiful. Thanks for supporting Fringe!

Khary Jackson

Shere Khan

Khary is a writer, musician and youth worker who only does theater when someone he likes cajoles him and his schedule allows. He looks forward to sharing the stage with such talented co-creators.

Rochelle Akre


A past theatre and vocal student of Top Hat, Rochelle is more than excited to take the stage with this fine group of talented actors and musicians! Favorite past roles include Cinderella (Fairy Fail!) and Mother Otter (The WInd in the WIllows). She wishes to thank her family for their crazy humor and you... for being here today!

Thomas Raddatz


Originally from Blaine, MN, Tom studied theater and earned his Associate in Arts degree from Anoka Ramsey Community College. He is now looking to finish a Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. He would like to thank his family and friends and you for coming to the show!

Amy Wolf

Kaa 1

Lyric soprano, Amy Wolf received her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota. She has appeared in leading roles as well as an ensemble artist with Anoka Civic Opera, Coro, Duluth Festival Opera, Lyric Arts of Anoka, Minnesota Opera, North Star Opera, Park Square Theater, Opera on the James, The Oasis Players, Top Hat Theatre and Utah Opera. She has appeared on the concert stage as a soloist with Lynchburg College Chorale Union, Macalester Festival Chorale, Sonomento and Wayzata Symphony Orchestra. www.amywolfsoprano.com

Rob Ward

King Louie

Rob is thrilled to be part of "The Jungle Book" which is one of his favorite stories. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Rob recently graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BA in Theatre Honors and a minor In music. Rob was in "Clocked" last Fringe and will also be performing in "Circulate" with Guittar Productions at this year's festival. He would like to thank his family who never cease to drive him absolutely bananas!

Clair Tomari-Leak


Clair is delighted to be swinging into this great production of "The Jungle Book!" Most recently performing in CTC's "Shrek the Musical," Clair is thrilled to back at Top Hat after her debut last summer. Clair also appeared in Annie at Minnetonka Theater. When not acting, you can find this 11 year old on the ice... competitive figure skating! Thoughts and love go to Auntie Marg. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the Jungle Beat!

Tina Paulk


Tina is a wife and Mother of 3 girls. She loves the opportunity to play crazy roles such as Tabaqui to embarrass her children! Tina also teaches music and theatre in the Southern Metro area at Center Stage Kids and in Minneapolis at New Creatiion Bible Church.

Al Fiene

Colonel Hathi

Al is excited to be back with Top Hat (and Fringe). Previously in the cast of "Flakes: The Musical" (Clark), "Salem" (Giles Corey), and Robin Hood the Musical (Friar Tuck). Other productions of note: Sabes JCC world premiere of "The Fence" and Old Gem Theatre's "A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol." Favorite roles include Curly (Oklahoma!), Paravincini (The Mouse Trap) and Bob Cratchit (Scrooge the Musical). Regional credits include Major Malone (Zombies From the Beyond), with Commonweal Theatre Company. Al also toured nationally with Troupe America as Mortimer (The Fantastics). Thanks to Diane for her understanding and support.

Abby Ahlquist


Abby is extremely proud to be a part of this talented and professional cast. Appearing for her third time on stage, this 3rd grader also enjoys swimming and gymnastics. She would like to thank her mom, dad and sister, Maddy for their love and support. She would also like to thank director, Pam Russell for allowing her this valuable experience.

More information
The beauty of the Jungle Book is told in a series of stories told by the infamous Rudyard Kipling (1894). This mild adaptation removes the strong violence (though there are some altercations), amplifies the familial relationships and fun, yet holds fast to the fact that Mowgli became part of a family of wolves, and on a larger scale, part of the Seeonee HIlls Jungle.

"Rudyard Kipling's 1894 story collection is potentially fraught source material, but if anyone can do this right, it's the seasoned storytellers of Top Hat Theatre. A special highlight promises to be the charismatic Khary Jackson as Shere Khan." ~ Jay Gabler, Minnesota Public Radio

"“The Jungle Book” seemed so charming in a little song..." ~Graydon Royce, The Star Tribune (in reference to our Fringe-For-All preview below)

Minnesota Fringe
Minnesota Fringe