Set sail with wacky and not-so-wild animals as a menagerie escapes from the New York City Zoo and embarks on an adventure in Dreamworks’ “Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr.” at the Downriver Actors Guild.
The show runs 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 and 25, and 3 p.m. Aug. 26 at The Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue, 2656 Biddle, Wyandotte. The show, a summer youth theater production, is performed by 5- to 14-year-olds.
When Marty the Zebra at the New York Central Park Zoo longs for freedom, his curiosity helps him launch his escape, prompting his loyal friends Alex the Lion, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the hip hip Hippo to escape as well, searching the city for him.
Through a series of madcap adventures, they find themselves on a ship headed to Madagascar, an island off the southeast coast of Africa, with a bunch of plotting penguins. Add music and movement, and you have a fast-moving adventure.
Directed by Debbie Aue of Taylor and produced by Valerie Compau of Southgate, the cast features Anthony Chiarelli, 13, of Gibraltar as Alex the Lion; Jacob Bailey, 13, of Wyandotte as Marty the Zebra; Ella-Rose Ray, 14, of Lincoln Park as Melman the Giraffe; and Emma Otter, 12, of New Boston as Gloria the hip hip Hippo.
Compau said the each of the animal characters has distinct, larger-than-life personalities.
“They take on their roles in the most unique ways, and they are having fun with it,” she said. “It is something they want to do.”
Compau said the show has 14 lively songs, runs less than an hour with no intermission, and is an entertaining show delivered by a talented cast.
“It’s upbeat and dance heavy and a lot of movement,” she said. “Their favorite song is ‘I Like to Move It.’ The freestyle part of the dance they are all having a lot of fun and jumping around. It’s a cute dance, and super-energetic.”
Ray said it is fun being in an entertaining youth musical.
“I really like it a lot,” she said. “This is my first lead, so I am really excited.”
Ray said it is fun creating a colorful personality for Melman the Giraffe. She is also pleased with the costume, which has a long neck and giraffe head that she wears like a tall hat.
She said the show will appeal to all ages.
“It is a really good family show because kids will love the animals escaping from the zoo, but I think the parents will think it is really funny, with all the different personalities and characters,” she said. “You will have fun watching it and the audiences is a part of it some of the time.”
Chiarelli said his personality is like that of his character, Alex the Lion, who is exuberant and outgoing.
“He looks all tough, but is really a soft guy inside,” he said. “Children and adults will like how funny he is.”
Chiarelli said families will have fun watching the story unfold on stage.
“The music’s appealing, and the action is, too,” he said.
Bailey agreed that the show is energetic and entertaining for families.
He said his character, Marty the Zebra, is playful and a loyal friend audiences will find appealing.
The cast also includes Isaac Clark, 9, of Allen Park as Mason, the Chimpanzee; Emily Ascencio, 10, of Westland as Skipper the Penguin; Brownstown Township residents Calleigh Butler, 10, as Kowalski the Penguin, and Parker Forgach, 10, as Private the Penguin; and Olivia Emanuele, 9, of Grosse Ile Township as Rico the Penguin.
Other penguins are played by Mila Kozup, 6, of Gibraltar; Alaina Lough, 5, of Wyandotte; and Lydia Mitchell, 5, of Brownstown Township.
The Lemurs include Annika Mitchell, 13, of Brownstown Township as King Julien; Taylor residents Kaitlyn Aguila, 10, as Lynn, and Kayla Aguila, 10, as Lew; Riley Barbee, 10, of Flat Rock, as Lee; Vivian Nordstrom, 9, of Wyandotte as Maurice; Leonardo Emanuele, 7, of Grosse Ile Township as Mort; and Norah Aue, 5, of Taylor as Lars.
Also playing multiple roles in the ensemble are Cate Andrews, 12, of Allen Park; Brownstown Township residents Charlotte Clavet, 12, Madelyn Kastura, 10, and Naomi Mitchell, 7; Grosse Ile Township residents Gia Rosati, 7, and Alyssa Zulewski, 8; Elyse Hoss, 10, of Lincoln Park; Evelyn Otter, 8, of New Boston; Southgate residents Kaylynn Kiss, 6, and Maks Kiss, 9; Taylor residents Aaron Aguila, 6, and Emily Aguila, 14; and Lia Lenihan, 7, and Iyla Nordstrom, 10, of Wyandotte.
Tickets are $12. To order, call 734-407-7020 or go to downriveractorsguild.net.