MUST SEEREVIEWSSally Jo OsborneTheatre Reviews

Madagascar – A Musical Adventure

Based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture

Written by Kevin Del Aguila

Music and Lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan

Directed by Rachel Rockwell

At Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier

You’ve Got to Move It, Move It… Navy Pier…Hurry!

 What a way to spend a summer day! Not only can you enjoy the 100 year anniversary of Navy Pier and the new Ferris wheel (which by the way is fabulous) but you can escape to Madagascar-A Musical Adventure and meet all the fabulous furry friends at the Central Park Zoo! Young and old alike will find fun and humor in this musical comedy!

When Alex (Jordon Brown) the famous Lion struts his stuff—look out! His buddy Marty (Gilbert Domally) just turned 10 and is going through what you might call a mid-life crisis for a zebra. Is the grass always greener? The penguins seem to think so and so plan to get back to Antarctica, after all it unnatural for them not to be on ice. Gloria the hippo (Lisa Estridge) and Melman the “Hypo-congiraffe” don’t think that living anywhere but the zoo is the place to be.

Well, animals taking the subway can scare the heck out of some commuters, “Bad Kitty—bad, bad kitty” said the old lady, (Holly Stauder) as she is approached by the wild lion. So they end up in crates to what seems like a zoo transfer to San Diego. Little did they know they would end up in Madagascar (situated off the southeast coast of Africa and the fourth largest island in the world). The island which is ruled by the ever so funny and funky, Julian the King of Lemurs (Aaron Holland) who has a plan to keep them there. Alex, the famous lion, may have his own plan and just be able to save the poor lemurs from the very, very bad fossas (a cat-like carnivorous mammal endemic to Madagascar who catches their prey and killing it quickly with their sharp teeth). Not good news for the lemurs.

All kinds of fun and tests of friendships, especially between Alex and Marty—are we friends or should I eat you? A dilemma most of us won’t normally face. This is a creative story, using life-size puppets created by Sarah Ross. There is really hip music and use of really cool computer-animated scenes. The steak scene steals the show with a fabulous tap number and dancing steaks gone mad!

The entire cast is stellar including the musical direction by Jermaine Hill and orchestrator Matt Deitchman. Costumes by Jesus Perez are magnificent and fabulous wigs and makeup by Richard Jarvie. Scenic design by Scott Davis and projections by Shawn Sagady and lighting by Jess Klug all add to the dazzling production.

This is a really fun and fabulous show and really you should move it, move it and get there. Children or no children—all ages will enjoy. I laughed a lot and even danced a bit! My 10 year old Ella, who just happened to perform in this show at The Stage School in Park Ridge summer camp was especially keen of the production and well versed with the characters (having played a few herself) and said to give it as many stars as I could!

Highly Recommended.

Sally Osborne

At Chicago Shakespeare Theater Navy Pier 312-595-5600,, Tickets $22 for children 12 & under $34 adults, running time 75 minutes without intermission.