FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 10, 2012) -- For a few hours last week, Fort Rucker Elementary School's gym was transformed into a jungle, complete with vines and trees, and elephants, monkeys and bears.

The cast and crew, along with the help of a few parents and teachers, put hours of work into setting the stage for the sixth grade production of "The Jungle Book."

"This is an exciting event that we've all celebrated," said school principal Vicki Gilmer. "It was a spectacular performance."

The students auditioned for parts in November, studied scripts and lyrics in December, then started practicing twice a week in January, said Vicki Porter, one of the school's drama club directors.

The students were responsible for every part of the play, including changing costumes and adjusting microphones backstage, she added.

After the third and final performance Friday morning, Porter and Leslie Soffe, the other drama club director, gathered the students on stage to ask a few questions and give final instructions.

"Are you going to miss this?" the directors asked. "Yes!" the students shouted together.

The students said some of the most challenging parts of producing the play were remembering lines and dance steps at the same time, quick costume changes, staying quiet backstage and staying in character for the whole performance.

Some of the students' favorite songs included "Monkey Business," during which the students literally danced around like monkeys, and the finale version of "The Bare Necessities" that included the entire cast.

The directors extended special thanks to Allison Kickhoffel, a teacher who helped with the choreography; Laura Rogers, a parent who painted the backdrop for the play, and the school's Parent Teacher Association that provided microphones, costumes, and a "production box" of scripts and music.

Porter and Soffe also said the Thursday evening performance was a "special treat" because it was a packed house and a cast member from each of the previous plays produced by the sixth grade drama club attended.

"It was special to us because they made an effort to come back," Porter said.