Watch The Jungle Book musical videos

National Theatre of Pécs


The only way
(Csak egy út van!)
(Beindul A Pofonofon)
Turn to stone!
(Válj Kővé)
Searching for words
(Szavakat Keresek)
The Reverence Cor-pse-poration
(Kegyelet Egylet)
Monkey funky
(Egy Majomban Őrlünk)

Welcome to the official site of The Jungle Book Hungarian musical

The enthralling Opening Night of The Jungle Book took place at Budapest Pesti Theatre on 26 June 1996 and 17 years later, in 2013 the 1000th performance entranced the audience at this prestigious theatre. The show still continues to attract young and old, children and adults, families and singles.

Des’s mesmerising and unforgettable music and Geszti’s witty and unique lyrics magically depict a young boy’s journey into adult manhood while encountering friendship, cruelty, bravery, hatred, generosity, greed, revenge, and love.

The legendary story of Rudyard Kipling and has enfolded on stage on over 2000 nights in several countries in 17 years.

Lately, in Helsinki, Finland the musical was debuted on Svenska Theater stage in September 2013 and still on with huge success.

The authors

Dés LászlóDés, László - music

Dés László is a composer and a jazz saxophonist.

Following hia piano and clarinet studies, he graduatedon the saxophone faculty of Liszt Ferenc College of Music Art, Budapest.

Heading several exciting and popular bands, he became one of the leading jazz saxophonists in Hungary, Europe (Festivals) and India in the first part of his carrier (Discography). He owns a precise sense of proportioning the elements of jazz with songs for the wider audience. His professional jazz talent was implemented in pop music creating a higher standard of the genre. Des’s extraordinary work has been acknowledged by numerous Hungarian and international rewards.

Later, besides continuing his path in jazz, he started composing songs to singers, scores to films, to theatre plays and in 1995 he composed his first musical, a great box-office success: Somewhere in Europe. Not wasting his time, a year later the amazing The Jungle Book was brought to life. Since then it has been continuing to entrance audiences not only in Hungary but also in cities of Central and Northern Europe. In 2007 his third musical play: We never die followed and was greeted with enthusiasm wherever played.

Recently he is busy creating his solo album of songs.

More information:

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His film scores:

  • No traces (Nyom nélkül) (1981)
  • Another Way (1982)
  • Love to First Blood (Szerelem első vérig) (1986)
  • Love to Second Blood (Szerelem második vérig) (1987)
  • A whole day (1987)
  • Year of Monsters (1987)
  • Freedom is Here (Itt a szabadság) (1990)
  • Three sisters (1992)
  • We Never Die (1993)
  • Ana (1993)
  • Pharmacy (TV-series, 1994)
  • Samba (1995)
  • Out of Order (1997)
  • Pirates (1999)
  • One life time (2000)
  • Wake Up Jancsi (2000)
  • Jazz+Az: Concert+Story (2000)
  • Glass Tiger (2001)
  • May Day Mayhem! (2001)
  • A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda (2003)
  • World Hit (Világszám) (2004)


  • Infertile (Meddő) (1995)
  • Love affair of mine (Szívügyem) (1997)
  • Love at First Hearing (Szerelem első hallásra) (1998)
  • On the way (Útközben) (2002)

Theatre music:

  • Jarry: Übü király, Fellini: Nők városa, Erdmann: Öngyilkos, Puskin: Borisz Godunov, Mrozek: Mészárszék - Kaposvári Csiky Gergely Színház
  • Gorkij: Nyaralók, Határ Gy.: Patkánykirály - Nyíregyházi Móricz Zsigmond Színház
  • Három lány kékben, Goldoni: Új lakás - Katona József Színház
  • Wesker: Konyha - Szeged
  • O'Neill: Long day Journey into the Night - Miskolc
  • Gombrowicz: Yvonne, Princess of Burgund - Helsinki Nemzeti Színház, Burgtheater – Bécs

His ensembles:

  • 1978 - 82 Dimenzió I.(Dés L., Másik J. - piano, Tóth T. - bass, Baló I.- drums)
  • 1982 Super group
  • 1984 - 87 Dimenzió II. (Dés L., Szacsky R.- piano, Tóth T. - bass, Szende G.- drums)
  • 1985 - 86 Budapest Big Band
  • 1987 - 93 Trio Stendhal (Dés L., Horváth K. - percussion, Snetberger F. - classical guitar)
  • 1998-2000 Jazz+Az
  • 2003 - Dés sextet

His awards include:

  • 1988 Emerton-prize (Hallgass kicsit)
  • 1991 Liszt prize
  • 1994 Film Critics prize- Best film music (We Never Die, Ann)
  • 1994 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe-prize (Great Journey)
  • 1994 Artisjus Huszka Jenő-prize - Best composer (Great Journey)
  • 1995 Artisjus Huszka Jenő prize - Best song (How Beautiful We Were)
  • 1996 Theatre Critics Prize- Musical of the year (The Jungle Book)
  • 1996 The Officer's Cross of Distinction of the Republic of Hungary
  • 1999 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe- Best film music of the year(Jazz+Az:Pirates)
  • 2000 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe - Best pop album, best recording (Jazz+Az:Good for one)
  • 2001 MAHASZ Golden Giraffe - Best video (Dés László: Would you?)
  • 2002 The best film music of the year (Dés-Bereményi: Strip-A Kind of America)
  • 2002 For Budapest Prize
  • 2003 Merited Artist of the Republic of Hungary
  • 2003 Hungarian Jazz Award- Best jazz musician of the year
  • 2006: Kossuth Prize


  • Dimenzio I.: 1980 Novi Sad, 1981 Wroclaw, 1982 Pori Jazz, 1980; 1982 Finland
  • Dimenzio II.: 1986 Umeo (Sweden), 1987 Bratislava
  • Trio Stendhal: 1988 Jazz Yatra - New-Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore (India), Ybs- Innsbruck (Austria)
  • 1989 Kajaani (Finland), Pori Jazz
  • 1991 Paris
  • 1992 Berlin
  • 1980; 1982 Dimenzió: Finland
  • Trio Stendhal: Austria, Italy, Spain


  • 1960-68 Kodály Zoltán Music School
  • 1963-71 Piano studies
  • 1971-73 Bartók Béla Conservatory - clarinet
  • 1973-76 Ferenc Liszt Music Academy, jazz faculty - saxofon


  • 1981 Dimenzió I
  • 1981 Nyom nélkül (Filmdalok)
  • 1982 Supergroup
  • 1983 Udvaros Dorottya - Átutazó
  • 1984 Fal mögött - jazz szólólemez
  • 1986 Szerelem első vérig (Filmdalok)
  • 1986 Básti-Cserhalmi - Hallgass kicsit
  • 1987 Avec Plaisir - Dimenzió II
  • 1987 Szerelem első-második vérig (Filmdalok)
  • 1989 Trio Stendhal I
  • 1989 Best of Dés Jazz - Running Time
  • 1991 Earth Sound - Trio Stendhal
  • 1992 Something Happened - Trio Stendhal
  • 1993 Rag Handed - Horváth Kornél
  • 1993 Sose halunk meg - Nagy utazás (Filmdalok)
  • 1994 Trio Stendhal Live (koncert lemez)
  • 1994 Patika (Filmdalok)
  • 1995 Valahol Európában (musical)
  • 1996 A dzsungel könyve (musical)
  • 1996 Szamba (Filmdalok)
  • 1997 A miniszter félrelép (Filmdalok)
  • 1998 Jazz+Az I - Kalózok
  • 1999 Jazz+Az II - Egynek jó
  • 2000 Ennyi a dal (Dalválogatás I)
  • 2001 Üvegtigris (Filmdalok)
  • 2001 Évek óta már (Dalválogatás II)
  • 2003 Jazz+Az koncert+Story DVD
  • 2003 Metszetek (Dés Septet)
  • 2004 Dés-Snétberger - Double Invention
  • 2004 Világszám (Filmdalok)
  • 2005 Utcazene (Dés Septet)
  • 2005 Dés Septet koncert a Madách színházban DVD
  • 2005 Dés Septet örömkoncert Randy Breckerrel DVD
  • 2005 Contemporary Gregorian

Geszti PéterGeszti, Péter - lyrics

Peter Geszti is one of the most well-known and acknowledged character of the Hungarian media and cultural scene. He is a singer, lyricist, advertising expert and television showman. He has been successful in the fields of advertising business, media and pop music alike, many of his innovations and brands are well-known and beloved in Hungary. For many years he has been the No 1 star-advertising expert, winning numerous creative awards with the advertising agency „Akcio” he owned. He has been the founder and lead singer, rapper of three music bands as well as the songwriter for numerous top-list hits. He is also co-author of the musical adapted from Kipling’s Jungle Book.

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Show host and reporter of various entertainment programs in the Hungarian Television (MTV). The programs included quiz shows, pop music shows, talent contests. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 judge and mentor in the most successful commercial tv show, X-Factor Hungary (RTL Klub). In 2013 his mentoree Oláh Gergő wins the contest.


1991-1995, 1998-2000
DJ and creative producer at the biggest Hungarian commercial radio station (Danubius Radio), hosting pop charts and live music shows.

Pop Music

Songwriter for various Hungarian music bands and solo singers (Első Emelet, Manhattan, Szulák Andrea, Oláh Ibolya, Zséda, Ruzsa Magdi, Wolf Kati, Vastag Csaba)

Founded the first Hungarian rap band. Songwriter and lead singer, rapper of the band „Rapülők”, hitting top sales for 10 years on at that time.

Premiere of the Hungarian adaptation of Kipling’s Jungle Book. Songwriter and co-author. The musical is still a success-play, has been over its 900th show, and has been on stage in 15 Hungarian theatres country-wide.

Founded his second band, Jazz+Az

Founded his third band, Gringo Sztár
Winning the Grand Prize of VIVA television’s annual celebration

Advertising, Communications


Co-founder and creative director of Hungary’s most successful advertising agency AKCIO-NXS. With numerous award-winning campaigns and twice Advertising Agency of the year. Himself still today the best-known advertising expert of Hungary.

Co-founder of OKEGO a new meme buliding company.

Other activities

Co-founder of @RC billboard exhibition, a unique creative art project organised annually.

Author of Magyarország song - an adaption of Alegria (the main song of Cirque de Soleil’s Alegria show)

Founder of "National Gallopp", a unique historical horse-race and culinary festival organised in Budapest’s Hero’s square every year. A celebration of Hungarian traditions and culture, attracting 200,000 people, with tv coverage of the event.

Co-founder of "Media Union", a non-profit communications body incorporating almost all the media companies of Hungary, organising annual campaigns for various socially important issues.


Békés PálBékés, Pál - libretto

Writer, playwright, translator. He earned a degree in comparative English and Hungarian literature from ELTE University in 1980. He worked as an interviewer doing sociological surveys then as a teacher of English and Hungarian. In the 1984-1994 period he was a freelance writer then he worked for the Hungarian Television as a studio manager and as an editor of its literary and theatrical programs. He has been working as a freelance writer from 2000. He has a predilection for an experimental voice, his works are characterized by the grotesque and the ironic.

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  • Radio Critics Prize, 1982
  • Maksim Gorki Prize, 1985
  • Európa Publishing House Prize, 1987
  • Új Magyar Hangjáték Prize, 1988
  • László Wessely Prize, 1988
  • József Fitz Prize, 1991
  • Children’s Book of the Year Prize, 1992
  • Europe 1968 Competition Prize, 1993
  • Tibor Déry Prize, 1998
  • Creative Prize (Soros), 1999
  • Attila József Prize, 2000

The story

storyMowgli, a little child is sitting with his father by the fire. Suddenly Shere Khan, a man-eating Bengal tiger appears and attacks them cruelly. The fight is absolutely hopeless. Although the father, in his last attempt to save his son, wounds the wild animal with his knife, it kills him. The boy broken heartedly manages to escape into the unknown and frightening jungle. The tiger, pulling his wounded leg, roars.

Later, in the jungle the wolves are having their annual gathering with their leader, Akaela heading it. The wolves introduce their cub to the pack. Akela introduces Mawgli, as his cub when Shere Khan appears again claiming the boy as his prey.

The warm hearted sloth bear Baloo makes justice with the support of a splendid black panther, Bagheera who offers the pack her pray, a fat stag. Finally, the wolves accept him as a brother and defend him from the tiger. Baloo and Bagheera are raising the boy teaching him the laws and languages of the jungle.
Just like parents do.

storyOne day the monkeys kidnap the uncareful young man Mawgli and carry him to their old city. Since there are hundreds of them, the panther and the bear find it impossible to rescue him by themselves, they need help. Very politely they approach the monkeys’ greatest and most dangerous enemy, Kaa, the huge but narcisstic python who had been offended by the monkeys earlier. Being hungry, intending to take revenge, the blood-curdling Kaa kills them all and Mowgli becomes free.

Several years go by, the wolves are having their gathering again, the tiger appears again still demanding the man-cub. This time he tries with turning the servile wolves against their leader, Akela and succeeds.

Not having a wolf-protector any longer and having his best teacher and friend, Baloo, died, Mawgli has no more place in the jungle. Bagheera recommend him finding a new home in the people’s world.

storyWhen the young man arrives at a village only the women stay at home, the men went out hunting in the wild.

Following their first fright and surprise, the women start to like the boy, pamper, have fun with and take care of him. Unknown emotions and flickering flush all over his body by the sight of the cutest one: Toona.

On arriving home, the hunters’ head, Buldeo, (Toona’s groom) bursts in anger at the boy’s presence there and claims that he leave at once.

This is the moment when Mawgli realises neither is he at home in the jungle, nor among people. A stranger everywhere.

Finally, in a deadly fight he kills the tiger with his father’s knife in hand and for it’s skin, Buldeo lets his bride leave with him to start a new life.

History of the musical

Laszlo Des remembers:

After my Trio Stendhal concert on a spring day in 1993, the director of the Víg Theatre came to my dressing room to congratulate on the performance and with great enthusiasm he started to tell me about his great idea on a musical topic: The Jungle Book. Later, we sat down to discuss the details but I asked for his patience for I was busy composing another musical: Somewhere in Europe.

After a time the theatre ran out of their patience so while rehearsing Somewhere in Europe, with the director, the writer Pal Bekes, and the dramaturge Zsuzsa Radnoti we started to work on the libretto. Pal was open, creative and patient and he rewrote the play minimum six times (he first version was like a horror story covered in blood, the next one was more of a comedy) before the final form and plot was born.

The composer even in this phase has an important role: he must decide where and how the music will sound which determines the structure of the play.

Another important question demanded an answer: Who will write the lyrics? I threw in Geszti’s name to the old theatre foxes’ surprise. „A rapper in the theatre?!” Although I didn’t really know Geszti very well either and we had never worked together before, somehow I knew this job will suit him so I convinced them. He accepted the invitation and we started working in June 1995. I was deeply immersed in musical writing anyway for Somewhere in Europe opened only a month before. I allowed myself not more than a two-week-holiday because the opening day for the Jungle was already set: 26 January 1996.

Before sitting down at the piano, several essential things expected me to decide on: what will be the musical world of the play like? Ethnic? Indian? Or a rock-opera like: theatrical, romantic or neoclassic? Brrr! No way!!!

While writing the libretto, our picture was that the story may take place anywhere, in any jungle, even in a great city’s jungle, so I chose to follow the intrinsic qualities of the characters and the features we, humans attributed to them. This is why Shere Khan’s sings a demagogue blood-demanding rock song, the funeral entrepreneur vulture’s song cherishing their service reminds us of the show business, the dangerously coiling python, Kaa’s music is more Oriental and so on. The musical world of The Jungle Book is undoubtedly ecceltical, colourful and diversified.

I like humor and irony in music and here a field of opportunities opened up for me. All in all, my main purpose was that the music reflect the features of the characters, deepen the situations, strengthen and determine the rhythm of the play.

And one more thing I was to consider: since this play was produced for a prosaic theatre, and the singers are not professionals but theatre actors, I was supposed to be careful with the range of voice and complexity of the songs.

But be honest: singing any songs precisely, authentically, beautifully is art in itself.

Rewievs on the Opening Night

"The main role is carried by Laszlo Des’ music initiating from extraordinarily valuable material, the colouration typical of the original piece of art, which is melodious, delicate, well-singable without making any compromise to our present day ’chewing gum taste’."

(Koltai Tamás – Life and Literature (Élet és Irodalom), 1 March 1996)

"Pal Bekes and Peter Geszti’s dialogues and lyrics match wonderfully. Both play with referring to remarkable pieces of literature, word-wits and other language tricks which enthral the audience..."

(Magyar Judit Katalin – Theatre Magazin (Színház), 1996/5.)

"Des, Geszti, Hegedus D (the director) have created an unbeatable production... a fairy tale which includes sorrow, death, devotion, intrigue and joy just like in great dramas... After all, Kipling’s story is about not less then Arthur Miller’s famous drama which conveys the message that you must go into the jungle and be able to come out safe and sound.
Mawgli is also supposed to take this journey and at the end of the play having become human, come out... a fairy tale with tons of humor, dance and Des’s noble songs, Geszti’s funny-witty lyrics and Bekes’s superb, sometimes ironic dialogues."

Bóta Gábor 1996