Port Huron Civic Theater set to play Madagascar Junior next month

“Do you like moving it, moving it?”

Over the past six weeks, 64 children have worked hard to rehearse “MadagascarJunior: A Musical Adventure”, the musical that made this quote so recognizable.

The show will be presented at the McMorran Theater from August 5-7. Co-directors Amy Fabick and Leah Tyrrell said they were thrilled the community was seeing the children play for the first time since the pandemic began in Michigan more than two years ago.

“These kids put their hearts, bodies and souls into this show,” Tyrrell said. “They deserve an audience to cheer and sing along with because they’ve worked so hard.”

The musical follows Central Park Zoo animals Marty the zebra, Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo and Melman the giraffe. After Marty decides he wants to experience life outside the zoo, the group finds themselves stranded on the island of Madagascar.

The cast of Madagascar Junior will perform August 5-7 at the McMorran Theater in Port Huron.

When auditions began for the show, Fabick said she saw a more sedated group than usual given the hiatus during the pandemic. However, since rehearsals, she said confidence in all the children has blossomed.

“We have kids who have never had a lead role before,” Fabick said. “Watching their self-confidence grow is amazing.”

The cast ranges from 5 to 15 years old. Fabick said the cast size is usually around 120 kids, so almost everyone in the Madagascar cast has two parts. In addition, the actors are divided into two groups and will each perform half of the sessions. For the final show on Sunday, casts will change during intermission.

Fabick and Tyrrell said the large age range of the cast was not difficult to deal with. They said the older kids in the cast were compassionate and patient with their younger cast members. Even the younger ones helped the older ones.

“We have a child who is coming off a serious injury and has mobility issues, so the younger ones rushed to him to make sure they help out,” Fabick said.

The Children of the Port Huron Civic Theater Show

Another way the older kids have helped is behind the scenes. Kaleb Hodgins, Student Director, Michael Decker, Student Voice Director, Vincent Oldford, Student Producer, Niah Hess, Student Choreographer, and Teagan Georgia, Student Teacher Team Leader assisted the directors with the show.

Addison Partipilo and Andrew Cottone were cast as Melman the Giraffe. Both have been part of the theater troupe since they were little. Partipilo said playing the character of Melman was really fun.

“He brings all kinds of sprays and hand sanitizer everywhere, so it’s really fun to play with,” she said.

Cottone said it was his first time in a lead role. He said it was good to have another person playing the role alongside him.

“It’s nice to have two people because we can play against each other and create the character together,” he said.

The Madagascar-themed float as part of the Port Huron Civic Theater show

Tyrrell said she loved seeing the new friendship grow between kids who may not have interacted before this show.

“They have this show in common, and now they find more things in common with each other because they can interact and socialize,” she said.

There will be five performances of the show. Show times for August 5 and 6 are at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., with the 2 p.m. show on August 5 intended to be a special preview for community groups such as day camps or church groups. The August 7 show will take place at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $18. For those interested in the special preview show, contact the Port Huron Civic Theater through their Facebook for ticket prices.

Contact McKenna Golat at [email protected] or (810) 292-0122.

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