Madagascar has the Audience on Their Feet, Singing and Dancing

By Katie Vyskocil

Madagascar The Musical, The Lied Center for Performing Arts, Saturday April 15, 2023, 3PM

I was instantly transported into the world of Madagascar as soon as this production began. Madagascar The Musical follows Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, & Melman the Giraffe who are all best friends and reside at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Marty realizes he wants to explore the wild and escapes from the Zoo. Because of his escape, his friends become concerned and chase after him, ultimately ending up on the island of Madagascar. This production shares their story with thrilling musical numbers.

Alex (Gary Paul Bowman) and Marty (Sterling McClary) performed a duet towards the beginning of the show. Sometimes technical difficulties can happen on stage. Unfortunately, that was the case during this duet between Alex and Marty. However, Alex and Marty still performed their duet acapella or without the music. Continuing or improvising is exactly how true performers should react when something unexpected happens. These two performers received a booming applause from the audience because of how they performed.

The production had fantastic lighting, sound, singing, & choreography. There is one scene during the production where the sound stood out the most. The song “I like to move it move it” is performed by the ensemble cast as an introduction to the Lemurs of Madagascar and specifically, their king, King Julien. I could feel the bass of the sound as if the entire theater was trembling. As I was skimming the crowd, almost everyone was singing and dancing to this song. They had multi-colored lights moving around the crowd as well. This was one of the best songs/performances during the production.

The entire cast gave thrilling performances throughout the show. My personal favorite was Alex because of his hilarious moments throughout the show. King Julien also stood out to me as he gave us hilarious moments as well. King Julien had the perfect comedic timing and spontaneous remarks relating to the Nebraska audience.

The costumes for these characters were impressive. King Julien’s costume was very detailed with a massive tail and intricate detail with the leaves hanging off his tail. I was also impressed by Melman’s costume. Melman is performed by James Silverstein who was in the costume puppeteering the tall character’s facial movements.

The set design was another aspect to the production that I enjoyed. There were plenty of props used to tell the story to the audience. The cast had a big stage to be able to move around and give their best performances. 

Overall, this production was a true excitement and showed off a ton of fantastic performances from the entire cast. The singing and choreography from the performers had incredible energy and was able to get the audience on their feet and dancing to follow along! Every performer gave their all even though there were technical difficulties. I encourage everyone to see this tour if you are able!

Madagascar The Musical played at The Lied Center for Performing Arts, Saturday April 15th at 3PM and 7:30PM.

Katie Vyskocil recently earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and now works at a community college. She has enjoyed theater from a young age and reviews film on TikTok and Letterboxd.

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