‘Madagascar’ musical got audiences to ‘Move It-Move It!’

The youthful “Madagascar Jr.” cast rehearse a scene under the direction of Rebecca Miller.

Story and photo by Mika Taylor
Stuttgart High School Senior

The Stuttgart Theatre Center held matinee performances for “Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.”, Feb. 2, 3, 9 and 10.

This was the directorial debut of Rebecca Miller, who performed in STC’s “A Coarse Acting Show” and “Berlin to Broadway” last season. Miller was supported by Jovone Lewis and theatre director Richard Roberts. The one-act show had a diverse youth cast aged 7 to 17 who brought energy and enjoyment to the production based on the popular movie.

The story followed characters Alex the lion (Corwin Turner), Marty the zebra (Shelby Harrison), Gloria the hippo (Mika Taylor), and Melman the giraffe (Henry Renninger) as they went on an adventure from the New York City Central Park Zoo to wild Madagascar. Fan favorite characters found along the way were lemurs King Julien (Marc Cabé) and Maurice (Jack Potter), and other wildlife that made the audience want to stand up and sing they like to “Move it, move it!”

The cast of more than 30 children had less than a month of preparation before opening, a handful for a directorial debut. However, Miller described the production preparation as quite positive.

“It is really fun, because the thing with kids is they are very willing to try new things. The best thing for me has been getting them to make these discoveries on stage character wise in terms of empathy and who they are,” Miller said. “I believe this is a skill that can help them later in life with their personal character.”

Full of laughs and upbeat music thanks to the hard work of the volunteer cast, stage crew, director and stage moms, Madagascar was a lively and joyous musical that got the audience “crack-a-lackin.”

(Editor’s note: In addition to being a senior at Stuttgart High School, Mika Taylor is a Stuttgart military community volunteer and Gold Award Girl Scout. She is interested in pursuing a career as a Foreign Service Officer.)