DreamWorks’ Madagascar, the film franchise, has been entertaining kids of all ages since its release in 2005. First came the film, then the animated series and other short films. Fast forward 13 years to July 2018 and LondonTheatre1 has been invited to a sneak peek of what to expect, as well the opportunity to meet some of the cast and creatives of the up and coming, Madagascar the Musical!
The Selladoor family and Hartshorn – Hook Productions have taken the leap and are bringing this family entertainment piece to life in the form of a stage musical. The much-loved characters of Melman, Mort, Marty, Gloria, Julian et al. will soon be swinging their way to a venue near you as they undertake a year’s tour up and down the breadth of the UK.
This is the first time I’ve been invited to a showcase, so I was not sure what to expect. I was warmly welcomed by the press team and guided into the studio where Ian, our host introduced us to the team and we got to see the opening number for the show, ‘Showtime’ as well as the infamous ‘I Like to Move It’.
I must say, those of you who are planning on seeing the show, you won’t be disappointed. The performers are slick, and they really do take on their characterisation and movements of their animal counterpart. My sister commented that the actor playing Marty the Zebra looked like a Zebra, even without a costume, which is some achievement for a human!
The dance moves are fresh, and I got to witness some fierce rope jumping from Gloria the Hippo and floss dancing from this entertaining and talented cast.
The piece is also performed using puppetry. Although this is not like Avenue Q, The Lion King or Pepper Pig. The creative team at Madagascar have brought to life the characters from the urban jungle through costume, movement and life-size puppets that are of Jim Henson calibre (they very much reminded me of the puppets that exist within the 80s film Labyrinth. Matt Terry said of the costumes “everybody is in for a surprise”.
As well as watching some of their show’s key numbers, we had a chance to meet with some of the cast and creatives, including their award-winning Director Kirk Jameson, Choreographer Fabian Aloise and Puppet Director Emma Brunton, as well as Matt Terry, Winner of 2016’s X-factor, who is taking on the iconic role of Alex the Lion.
The team, who are only 2 1/2 weeks into their rehearsals, paused their busy schedule to talk freely to us about their motivations for taking on their piece, how they found working with puppets and what the audience can expect from this world premiere.
Kirk Jameson told us that when the Selladore family came to him with the piece he was excited that he would get to put his spin on Alex the Lion, although he has been given extensive notes from his nephew throughout the process! He talked further about how the piece has universal appeal and is a genuine family production, appealing to audiences of all ages operating on two levels, one for adults and one for kids.
Before we left, the cast and creatives shared with us some of their highlights from the show, a list of scenes and characters that they are particularly fond of and moments from the piece that the audience should look out for. They included a glitzy, Vegas-style show number, the crate scene on the boat, the moment the animals arrive in Paradise and finally the ‘I Like to Move it’ routine.
I must say, after spending a few hours with ‘Team Madagascar’, I’ve got the bug, and am really looking forward to seeing the show in its entirety, it’s crazy to think that in less than 2 weeks time the show is opening in Wimbledon Theatre.
Join Alex (X-Factor 2016 winner Matt Terry), Marty, Melman and Gloria as they bound out of the zoo and onto the stage in Madagascar The Musical.
This smash hit musical features all of your favourite crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.
This brand new musical from Dreamworks (Shrek The Musical) will leave audiences with no choice but to ‘move it, move it’!
Suitable for ages 5+.
Running time: The running time will be added as soon as it is confirmed.
Madagascar The Musical
21st-28th July 2018
New Wimbledon Theatre
31st July-4th August 2018
New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
7th-11th August 2018
King’s Theatre Glasgow
14th-18th August 2018
Palace Theatre, Manchester
28th August -1st September 2018
2nd-6th October 2018
9th-13th October 2018
4th-8th December 2018
Theatre Royal Brighton
5th-9th February 2019
12th-16th March 2019
New Victoria Theatre, Woking