Rose Theater Embarks on a Musical Journey to MADAGASCAR!
The Rose Theater gets ready to "move it, move it" in its upcoming production of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, a "crack-a-lackin'" stage play based on the hit Dreamworks Animation movie. The show opens on Friday, Oct. 6 and plays through Sunday, Oct. 22. With its outlandish characters, fun adventures and upbeat score, the production offers much for families to enjoy.
"This is such an awesome story," says director Kevin Ehrhart. "When I first saw this movie, I was incredibly moved by the story, and now I am very excited to bring it to The Rose stage."
Madagascar: A Musical Adventure follows the adventures of Alex the Lion (played by JorDan Smith and Marty the Zebra (played by J. Isaiah Smith). Alex is the charismatic king of the urban jungle as the star attraction at New York City's Central Park Zoo and hungry for attention from his adoring fans. His unlikely best friend, Marty, likes to play for laughs. Along with their friends -- the hypochondriac Melman the Giraffe (played by Manny Oñate and Gloria the hip Hippo (played by Sue Gillespie Booton) -- the animals have enjoyed a blissful life in the comforts of captivity, with all their meals provided for them.
Marty feels that something is still missing from his life and dreams about the wonders of "the wild." Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape.
With Marty gone AWOL, his zoo mates set off to protect him, assisted by some plotting penguins. After their animal antics raise mayhem on the streets of NYC, the animals find themselves crated up and on a ship headed across the ocean, leaving the comforts of home far behind.
With so many locations featured in Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, scenic designer Bill Van Deest had some significant challenges. The set design utilizes modular elements to transport the audience from New York City to a floating cargo ship to the mysterious jungles of Madagascar.
Before long, the foursome find themselves shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar and they quickly learn how rough life in the wild can be, especially for animals who have always been served their meals on a literal silver platter.
Ehrhart says, "The characters just go from one trap to another, out of the frying pan and into the fire. It is nonstop madcap craziness throughout the show. From the very beginning, we have an escaped monkey running through the audience, and the craziness just goes from there."
As the lone carnivore, Alex is especially challenged with the task of not eating his friends.
"Alex's dilemma leads to one of my favorite parts in the show - enormous steaks dancing through Alex's dreams! It is going to be hilarious," says Ehrhart.
Costume designer Sherri Geerdes is responsible for creating a menagerie of animals - and dancing steaks - to life on The Rose stage. She explains that she wanted to give the zoo animals a certain amount of showmanship in their costuming.
"These characters are on display for their 'show' each day," she says. "I wanted their costumes to feature a sort of entertainer or circus or vaudeville mentality to them."
As a result, in addition to elaborate make-up and hair designs by Erin Bragg, the characters' costumes feature a wealth of sparkles and spangles embellishing modern street wear with an animalistic twist.
The zoo friends meet the King of the Lemur, Julien (played by Alphonse Kroeten) and his right hand lemurs, Maurice and Lars (played by Brian Guehring and Karl Houser). Together with the rest of the Lemurs, they try to convince the zoo animals to help them fight their enemy, the dreaded Foosa.
The introduction of the lemurs brings on Madagascar's signature song, "I Like to Move It, Move It," which is certain to have audiences dancing in the aisles, thanks to the energetic choreography of Sue Gillespie Booton.
"Something that I am really excited about for this show is that we get to incorporate youth performers into the show," says Ehrhart. "These performers are doing an exceptional job and they bring a really special energy and enthusiasm to Madagascar."
In the end, Madagascar: A Musical Adventure shares a story about friends sticking together through thick and then, working as a team to solve challenges. They accept each other's differences and respect the things that make them unique.
"What a perfect message for today's world," says Ehrhart.
With its energetic vibe, hilarious characters and zany storyline, Madagascar: A Musical Adventure is perfect for families with children ages five and up.
Madagascar: A Musical Adventure runs October 6-22, 2017, with performances on Fridays at 7 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 5 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. There will also be performances at 10 am on select Sundays; see The Rose website for more information.
Following an ongoing tradition at The Rose, the opening night audience will be treated to special pre-show activities, including face painting on the evening of Friday, Oct. 6. The 2 pm show of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure on Saturday, October 14 will be interpreted for people who are deaf or hard of hearing; this show will also include audio description services for audience members who are blind. The 5 pm show on Saturday, October 14 is designated as sensory-friendly, with special accommodations made for families attending with a child on the autism spectrum. Contact The Rose Box Office at (402) 345-4849 for more information.
Tickets for Madagascar: A Musical Adventure are $20. Discount ticket vouchers are available for $16 at area Hy-Vee stores. Members of The Rose receive four free tickets to the production.
Madagascar: A Musical Adventure is sponsored by Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Nebraska Furniture Mart, the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Special opening night activities are sponsored by Kiewit Companies.
About The Rose
The Rose Theater is one of the largest and most accomplished children's theaters in the nation, with a reputation for enriching the lives of children and families through top-quality professional productions and arts education. In 2016, American Theatre magazine named The Rose one of the 20 top children's theaters in the United States. The Rose is committed to making the arts accessible to all children, providing opportunities for thousands of children throughout the community to attend shows and participate in classes each year. Over the course of a year, approximately 70,000 people attend the public performances held at the theater, and nearly 30,000 students attend field trip shows annually. The theater strives to introduce young people to a mix of both traditional favorites and ground-breaking original productions. A number of plays and musicals have made their world premiere on The Rose stage, including Pete the Cat: The Musical, Sherlock Holmes & the First Baker Street Irregular, Zen Ties, Buffalo Bill's Cowboy Band, and The
Grocer's Goblin & The Little Mermaid. We take pride knowing that The Rose is the place where children of all ages experience theater for the first time, and we are dedicated to helping them appreciate theater for a lifetime.