Head to ‘Madagascar’ for musical family fun

Gulfport Little Theatre is presenting ‘Madagascar: A Musical Adventure.’
Gulfport Little Theatre is presenting ‘Madagascar: A Musical Adventure.’ Gulfport Little Theatre

In Gulfport Little Theatre’s production of “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure,” a bunch of animals escpae New York’s Central Park Zoo.

The escapees inlcude Alex the lion (AJ Lawson), Gloria the hippo (Elizabeth Adams), Melman the giraffe (David Reeves), and Marty the zebra (Olivia Ruiz) and a gang of prodigious penguins.

After their escape, they land on the African island of Madagascar, home to King Julian and his adviser, Maurice, who musically bid those refugees to “Move it, move it” to a rhythmic beat.

If that plot sounds familiar, it is a theatrical version of the animated movie, “Madagascar,” that, along with its sequels, has entertained adults and children alike for years.

Director Cal Walters and his youth and adult cast are bringing that musical romp to the Gulfport stage, and you don’t want to miss this live (and quite lively) incarnation.

Walters, who also designed and constructed the set, did a marvelous job wrangling his youthful cast members and helping them forge vibrant performances that constitute the heart and soul of this show.

Cast members include zookeepers Valerie Wagner and Erikka Miller warbling a splendid introduction; Ruiz singing and dancing across the stage in Act I; and Trevor Musgrove (Skipper) barking orders (“Cute and cuddly everyone!”) to fellow penguins Olivia Marcum, Luke Skrmetta and Katheryn Otto throughout the show.

As King Julien, Madison Owen leads the cast in the show’s marquee song — “Move it move it,” as rousing a scene as you’ll see on the Gulf Coast stage this season.

Yes, adults Lawson and Reeves bring their “A” games, too, but adults simply cannot compete with cute and cuddly animals or children onstage, and these kids costumed as animals light up the Gulfport stage with enough youthful energy to electrify both New Orleans’ and San Francisco’s streetcar lines. Some of them are even talented enough to play multiple roles.

“Madagascar: A Musical Adventure” is a surefire winner for adults and children, judging by my son, Paul’s approval, alike, and the music will have you wanting to get up and dance with the cast.

‘Madagascar: A Musical Adventure’

Where: Gulfport Little Theatre, Pass Road and 13th Avenue

When: Nov. 11-13 and 18-20, Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinees 2 p.m.

Full cast: Olivia Ruiz, AJ Lawson, Elizabeth Adams, David Reeves, Trevor Musgrove, Olivia Marcum, Luke Skrmetta, Kathryn Otto, Zach Thomas, Valerie Wagner, Erikka Miller, Brennah Ladner, Emma Robinson, Cody Ghiloni, Thomas Buford, Cody Ghiloni, Madison Owen, Annie Goodman, Thomas Buford, Annie Bartos, Isabel Ruiz, Sidney Grove, Cassidy Spann, Blayden Reagan, Kylie Pepper, Aisling Noll, Charlotte Connolly, Emily Cunningham, Mia Cheeley, Victoria Robinson, Betsy Noll, Aisling Noll

Tickets: $16 for General Admission, $13 for Seniors/Military w/ID, and $11 for Child/Student w/ID. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the Gulfport Little Theatre Box Office at 228-864-7983 or online at the Gulfport Little Theatre website, www.gulfportlittletheatre.org.