The Disney Company in NYC custom ordered Tipple Flutes for a production of “Tarzan” on Broadway. Learn more here…
A New York City musician, Anders Bostrom, wrote me in the Spring of 2006 and asked me whether I would be interested in making him a group of flutes, some in unusual keys (high C, Ab, Eb, low Db, low C major, low C minor) for simple system flutes. He had been chosen as the principal flautist for the Disney production of “Tarzan” on Broadway, and it was scheduled to open in early Summer. Naturally, I was very interested in making flutes that would be used for a Broadway show.
Phil Collins, who wrote the music and lyrics for the show, specified in the score that “ethnic” flutes were to be used in various numbers throughout the performance. Anders already owned bamboo flutes for several of the needed keys, but the bamboo flutes had the limitation that they could not be tuned with the orchestra, whereas all of my flutes are fully tunable. All in all, Anders ordered seven flutes from me for the show.
Naturally, for a show that runs eight performances a week, there is a need for backup musicians. Based on the recommendation from Anders, three other players ordered a series of similar flutes. Iin January, 2007 I was contacted by the principal flautist for a production company in Scheveningen, Holland. Again, based on the recommendation from Anders in NYC, she inquired about purchasing a series of seven flutes for the “Tarzan” show, which has now opened at the Fortis Circustheater in Holland. This time, the Disney Company in NYC purchased the flutes. Most recently, Disney contacted me again for two more sets (14 flutes) for backup players in Holland. In total, thus far I have made over forty flutes for the Tarzan musical on Broadway and in Holland. Depending on the continuing popularity of the show on Broadway, there is a possibility that there will be a show touring the USA, as well, so there may be other flutes to be made for the show.
In the Fall of 2006 I attended the Saturday evening performance of the show on Broadway. During intermission, it was nice to look down into the pit and see my flutes. There were two performances that day, so between the shows I met Anders, and together we had a wonderful Italian dinner. He mentioned to me later that he really had eaten too much food prior to the performance and that he should have passed the triple-chocolate cake, but I wasn’t aware of any problems from my seat on the third row. My flutes sounded good to me, and I was very pleased that in some small way I could have a part in the show. The following photos were taken just prior to the evening performance.
Regrettably, “Tarzan” closed on Broadway on July 8, 2007 after 35 previews and 486 performances, however the production in the Netherlands has had very favorable reviews and will continue there. Plans are underway at Disney to open a new “Tarzan” company in Germany in 2008. No word on a USA national tour yet. The good news is that Anders continues to use my flutes in another Disney show, “The Lion King”. Update, August 2012, Anders just informed me that he has been using my high B flute for “Stampede-Part 2″ and “Can you feel the love tonight”, from from Lion King. In both cases the flute is very exposed, playing solo on top of strings. He is happy with the flute’s performance.
Update, June, 2015: The same musician who has been using my flutes for the Disney productions on Broadway requested another specialty flute for the upcoming show “Amazing Grace” on Broadway, previewing this month and opening in July. Hopefully, this show will have a long run.