By Erika Brown Thomas
The musical Madagascar, an adaptation of the Dreamworks blockbuster film, is a must-see at the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences.
The Marriott artistic team splashes the stage with an abundance of color, feathers, puppets and lots of laughs. Young audience
members as well as those who drive them to the theatre will certainly enjoy a wonderful hour of live entertainment.
Director Johanna McKenzie Miller keeps the audience engaged with her creative and masterful staging. Together with Choreographer Ericka Mac and Musical Director Sam Groisser, Miller brings new vision to this 2005 children’s movie hit. Rachel Rauscher
(set design), Jesse Klug (lighting design) and Robert E. Gilmartin (sound design) bring their considerable talents to the tale and create a cartoon world.
So, too, the costume designs of Jesus Perez are clever and contain just the right amount of animal flavor. They aren’t overboard or trite, but rather bring characteristics of each individual to the forefront so that all are immediately identifiable as monkey, hippo, zebra or whatever zoological species. For a complete synopsis of Madagascar, click here.
Onstage, Alex the Lion roars to life with a fantastic performance by Liam Quealy. His voice is perfection and the sensitivity to his inner lion’s angst as animal instinct wages war on true friendship is adorable. Alex’s best friend is Marty the Zebra (Ron King), and he truly gives an incredible performance. From the time he makes his first entrance to the very last zebra kick, King demonstrates just how much he “likes to move it!” His energy and zebra zest is unmatched on the stage.
Rashada Dawan and Steven Strafford make smashing performances as Gloria the Hippo (with A+ shout out to costume designer Perez) and Melman the Giraffe. Both of them bring about hilarity with their perfect physicality and comedic timing. A squad of penguins (Emily Agy, Alejandro Fonseca, Laura Savage) who perform various commando-like missions is led by Skipper (Allison Sill). This intrepid team provides the way out for all the zoo inhabitants as well as a rescue mission impossible later on.
Landree Fleming and Garrett Lutz portray several characters with ease and provide a solid base to the ensemble of Madagascar . Their ability to transform from character to character is a testament to their acting chops. And last but most definitely not least, Yando Lopez sings
and dances his heart out to the iconic and repetitive Madagascar cover of Reel 2 Real’s “I Like to Move It!” Lopez’s range is out of this world, and his mastery of the incredible puppets of Sarah E. Ross (puppetry design/construction) make you forget the man behind the muppet.
Seriously – make like the multitudinous species of Madagascar and MOVE IT on over to the Marriott!
“Madagascar” runs through December 29 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Way, Lincolnshire. More information and tickets are here.