The Growing Stage: The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey closed out their amazing “Dare to Dream” season with a heartwarming family show, Madagascar A Musical Adventure. The 2017-2018 season at The Growing Stage has been a wonderful theatrical journey that really captured the hearts of families and encouraged children to love the performing arts. Beauty and the Beast was a spectacular production of the classic Disney tale, while Cinderella had all little girls dreaming of being a princess. Boy Sees Flying Saucer was a witty and unique show that taught wonderful life lessons.
Madagascar A Musical Adventure was the perfect way to close out the season at The Growing Stage. This show truly catered to children while also entertaining adults. There were no elaborate costumes or effects which created a focus on the incredible acting and singing. Madagascar truly captures what family theatre is all about.
Madagascar A Musical Adventure is based on the DreamWorks Animated Motion Picture that is loved by families all over the world. The Book by Kevin Del Auila and Original Music and Lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Somelillan help take audience members on a journey across the world. The story begins with an introduction to some of the most loved animals at the Central Park Zoo including Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo. You can’t forget the cunning penguins too!
It is Marty’s birthday and he wishes to be back in the wild. He shares his wish with his friends, and you know what they say about sharing your birthday wishes! The animals soon find themselves on a journey to a far off land, Madagascar. They are befriended by some eccentric lemurs especially King Julien. I won’t spoil the show for you but I will say that Madagascar A Musical Adventure is a very entertaining show that focuses on the importance of friendship. See if they make it back to Manhattan or find a home in Madagascar!
I was thoroughly impressed by all of the actors in this show. James Ross’ interpretation of Alex the Lion was authentic and believable, and David Cameron Lemley was the perfect actor to portray Marty the Zebra. He was outgoing, funny and engaging (as he is in ALL his Growing Stage productions). Alli Ambriano as Gloria the Hippo was adorable, and her smile lit up the stage. Kirk Jasen Lambert did an amazing job of playing the hypochondriac giraffe. My favorite character, however, was King Julien played by Na’Jee Tariq. Na’Jee absolutely commanded the stage from the moment he walked on it. He was hilarious and engaging, and his dancing was phenomenal. Thanks to the great choreography by Jillian Petrie, “I Like to Move It” was a highlight of the show!
Steven Fredericks, Founder and Executive Director at The Growing Stage, said, “We must embrace the fundamental attributes of the child: curiosity, risk taking, candor and imagination.” That is exactly what Madagascar and EVERY show at this incredible theatre has done. The mission to encourage children to love the theatre shines through in every performance. Madagascar was a funny, interactive, heartwarming and entertaining show that had audience members smiling from ear to ear and children dancing in the aisles. It was a show about the importance of friendship and loyalty, two life lessons that are so important for young people to understand. I am so happy I was able to experience this production with my family, and you should too!
Madagascar A Musical Adventure is playing every Saturday and Sunday through May 20, 2018. Weekday shows are also available for field trips. In fact, my son’s Kindergarten class is going, and he cannot wait to tell his friends how amazing the show is. Plus, don’t forget that at the end of the show, guests can meet and take pictures with the cast. This is always a highlight for my kids as they love to see the characters up close. It adds a special touch to the experience and gets kids even more excited about being involved in the performing arts.
To learn more and purchase tickets, please visit their website.