We sat down with actor Roni Akurati to hear about his experiences being in both the 2011 production of A Christmas Carol, and this season’s The Jungle Book. He alternates the role of Mowgli with Akash Chopra, and will appear in several performances this week!
You were a fantastic Tiny Tim a couple of years ago in A Christmas Carol, we’re glad to have you back! Tell us a bit about why you’re excited to play Mowgli.
It’s always exciting to be at the Goodman. Being Tiny Tim was fun in the Cratchit house, Mowgli is fun all over the jungle, with Bagheera, Baloo, the elephants, monkeys, insects and vultures!
||Roni with Larry Yando
in A Christmas Carol
How are Tiny Tim and Mowgli alike? Do you think there are any similarities?
Tiny Tim is sometimes a little quiet, but Mowgli isn’t, he didn’t grow up with humans, he’ll be loud he’ll throw things around he’ll be running and having fun. Tiny Tim was known for the line “God bless us everyone!” Mowgli character is about having fun with animals.
What do you find most challenging about this role?
The hardest part of this role is not laughing. Even though I am rehearsing and doing it for months it’s still hilarious.
What is your favorite moment in the play? Why is it your favorite?
"The Bare Necessities." It’s the most fun song, singing and dancing with Baloo. It’s Mowgli’s best day ever!
Did you always dream of being an actor?
I never thought of being an actor, I was a dancer when I was young. But after a couple of acting jobs, acting seemed fun, so I wanted to become an actor.
What do you like to do when you’re not on stage?
When I’m not on stage I like to have fun, play basketball or football. When it’s football season I like to follow football as I am a big Bears fan. I like to play with my friends a lot too.
What advice would you give to other young people who dream of appearing on stage?
If you keep trying, work hard and be patience your dreams will come true.