IF YOU GO
What: “Into the Wild with Jack Hanna” and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Powers Auditorium, downtown Youngstown
260 W Federal Plaza, Youngstown
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
“It’s going to be a fun one,” said Jack Hanna about his Sunday appearance with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
Hanna is famous for his appearances on television shows and at other events, in which he brings big cats, snakes and furry beasts from the four corners of the world. He also has his own series, “Into the Wild with Jack Hanna,” on Fox.
The director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo will do his first Youngstown show Sunday afternoon on the Powers Auditorium stage with the YSO.
Hanna has done guest spots on television since the 1980s and is a frequent guest on “Good Morning America” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.” He does 22 episodes of “Into the Wild” each year, traveling the globe to places such as Malaysia, Africa, India and the Amazon. In between, he squeezes in appearances such as Sunday’s in Youngstown.
During a telephone interview with The Vindicator, the Tennessee native wasn’t sure of all the animals he’ll bring to Youngstown. But expect to see a snow leopard, a cheetah, a spotted leopard, maybe a Siberian lynx, a sloth, a flamingo and a baby kangaroo.
Hanna gave a rough idea of what to expect. “I’ll sign autographs beforehand, then come on stage with maybe three or four animals,” he said. He also plans to show video from an elephant orphanage in Africa.
The orchestra will play along with the animal theme, playing Saint Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” while Hanna narrates it. The YSO also will play tunes from “The Lion King” and other animal-related stories, said Music Director Randall Craig Fleischer.
Hanna said he won’t bring animals on stage at the same time as the orchestra because they might not react well to the music. Overly fast or jarring sounds could spook them.
Children in the audience will have an opportunity to interact with the animals and learn about Hanna’s worldwide travels to their habitats.
When Hanna became director of the Columbus Zoo in 1978, he made it his mission to increase attendance by offering educational and entertaining events. He’s long since achieved that goal but continues to pursue it.
Proceeds from his appearance with the YSO will benefit the orchestra’s community educational outreach programs.