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Chicago Shakes announces cast for family musical version of ‘Madascar,’ coming July 13

Submitted by on May 21, 2017 – 7:04 pm
This Just In: The following is a news release written by an arts organization, submitted to Chicago On the Aisle.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces casting for “MADASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE”
DreamWorks animated film brought to life onstage at Navy Pier, July 13–August 27
Rachel Rockwell to direct
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Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces the cast and creative team for the summer family musical production “Madagascar – A Musical Adventure,” at the Theater’s home on Navy Pier, July 13–August 27, 2017. Newly announced, Rachel Rockwell will take the helm as the production’s director and choreographer. Based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture, this wild and wacky musical is written by Kevin Del Aguila—the Emmy Award-winning writer of the animated PBS hit Peg Cat—with original music and lyrics by creative duo George Noriega and Joel Someillan, who have developed music for popular children’s series, including Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go.

“Madagascar – A Musical Adventure” follows Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the Giraffe and those plotting Penguins on a hilarious and unexpected journey from Manhattan to the faraway island of Madagascar. After busting out of their home at New York’s Central Park Zoo, these furry friends encounter the madcap antics of the outrageous King Julian and his fellow island inhabitants in a musical celebration of friendship. The nonstop adventure and rollicking pop score will have audiences of all ages wanting to “Move It, Move It!”

The 70-minute production is the perfect summer outing to share the wonder and delights of live theater with young people. Every performance features opportunities for the audience to interact with actors for one-on-one conversations and photos in the Lobby.

Celebrated director Rachel Rockwell returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where she most recently directed the enchanting stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love and the runaway hit Ride the Cyclone in 2015 which she went on to stage off–Broadway, and was featured on the “Best Theatre of 2016” by The New York Times. This production marks her fifth summer family musical production at Chicago Shakespeare, after The Little Mermaid (2015), Shrek The Musical (2013), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2012), as well as the CST-commissioned world premiere musicals The Adventures of Pinocchio (2011) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (2010). Rockwell’s Chicago-area directing and choreography credits include Jeff Award-winning musical productions at the Marriott Theatre, the Goodman Theatre, and Drury Lane Oakbrook.

Jordan Brown takes the stage as the “king of the jungle” Alex—a headstrong, attention-loving lion who enjoys his life at the zoo. Gilbert Domally performs as the carefree zebra Marty, who decides to leave the comforts of his zoo home and travel to the wild for the first time. Joining the group of adventurers is the zoo’s star attraction, Gloria, a sassy hippopotamus played by Lisa Estridge—and the kind-hearted, hypochondriac giraffe, Melman, performed by Stephen Schellhardt. Aaron Holland takes the stage as King Julien, the self-proclaimed king of the lemurs, with his right hand advisor, Maurice, played by Holly Stauder. Led by Leah Morrow as the captain Skipper, the mischievous penguins include Tony Carter as Kowalski, Adrienne Storrs as Rico and Erica Stephan as Private. Also featured in the ensemble are Ciera Dawn, Ron King, Garrett Lutz and Hanah Rose Nardone.

Joining Rockwell on the creative team are Music Director Jermaine Hill and Orchestrator Matt Deitchman. Scenic Designer Scott Davis returns for his 26th Chicago Shakespeare production, after recently designing the sets for Shakespeare in Love, Book of Joseph and Tug of War. Jeff Award-winning designer Jesus Perez joins as the production’s costume designer; he has previously worked with theaters such as Marriott Theatre, Circle Theatre and Rocky Mountain Repertory. Perez is joined by Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie who has created designs for over thirty CST productions. Jeff Award-winning Lighting Designer Jesse Klug returns to CST’s summer musicals after previously designing for Seussical, Shrek The Musical and Disney’s Aladdin, and collaborates with Jeff Award-winning Associate Lighting Designer Greg Hofmann, who previously worked on Love’s Labor’s Lost, Road Show and Othello: The Remix. Four-time Jeff Award-winner Ray Nardelli is sound designer, in his eleventh Chicago Shakespeare production. Projections Designer Shawn Sagady returns to Chicago Shakespeare after designing Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Puppetry Designer Sarah E. Ross will help bring the magic of the hit animated movie to life on stage.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater continues its successful collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum, presenting the following series of programs around Madagascar – A Musical Adventure:

  • CCM staff and volunteers offer free hands-on art activities in the Theater’s lobby from 12:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. between Friday performances.
  • The cast of Madagascar – A Musical Adventure performs at the museum’s Free Family Night on Thursday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Access Shakespeare performances for Madagascar – A Musical Adventure include:

  • ASL Duo-interpreted and Audio-described Performance: Sunday, August 20 at 11:00 a.m. (with optional touch tour at 9:15 a.m.)

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents a wide range of accessible and affordable programming for multi-generational audiences. In addition to imaginative summer musicals at the Theater’s home on Navy Pier, offerings year-round include Short Shakespeare! abridgments of Shakespeare’s classics and the FREE Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour to neighborhood parks throughout the city. This summer, 25 performances of the classic Romeo and Juliet adapted and directed by Marti Lyons, will tour to 18 neighborhood parks across the city, July 26–August 27, 2017. These programs reach more than 100,000 patrons each season—making Chicago Shakespeare one of the largest providers of family programming in Chicago.

Visit www.chicagoshakes.com/madagascar for a complete performance listing and additional production information.

This 70-minute production of Madagascar – A Musical Adventure is best enjoyed by ages 5 and up and will be performed July 13–August 27, 2017 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are $22 for children 12 & under and $34 for adults with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive discounted parking at Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. During 2016, CST spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.

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