Theater Review: Feel-good musical Madagascar returns to the Engeman Theater

Theater Review: Feel-good musical Madagascar returns to the Engeman Theater

By Heidi Sutton

Ladies and gentleman — it’s showtime! Dreamworks’ Madagascar: A Musical Adventure is back at the Engeman Theater in Northport in all its glory through May 8. Based on the much-loved 2015 animated comedy by the same name, the show follows the adventures of four best friends from New York’s Central Park Zoo — Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo and Melman the Giraffe.

It’s Marty’s 10th birthday and his friends throw him a surprise party. When it’s time to blow out the candles, the zebra’s only wish is to go to the wild. After the party he bumps into a bunch of plotting penguins who also want to escape from the zoo and go to Antarctica and Marty follows them to Grand Central Station. 

Discovering that their friend has gone, Alex, Melman and Gloria go after him but they and the penguins are soon recaptured by the zookeepers, tranquilized, and placed in crates en route to Kenya. On the boat the penguins escape their crate, take control of the ship and cause the crates to fall overboard and wash up on the shores of Madagascar. 

There they meet the illustrious King Julien, self-proclaimed Lord of the Ring-Tailed Lemurs, and his adviser, Maurice who see Alex as their new protector from the bloodthirsty foosa “who are always bothering us and ripping our limbs off.” 

While the three vegetarians enjoy the lemur’s daily diet of seaweed on a stick, Alex the carnivore starts to get hungry for his favorite food, steak, and begins to look at his best friends in a new light. Will the four friends be rescued in time or will someone end up on Alex’s dinner plate?

Directed by Andrew McCluskey, the show is funny, fast-paced and wildly engaging. All of the actors are excellent with special mention to the scene-stealing Jae Hughes as the narcissistic King Julien. The songs, including “Wild and Free,” “Relax, Be Cool, Chill Out,” are terrific as well. Choreographed by Jillian Sharpe, the big musical numbers — “Steak,“ “Living in Paradise,” and the iconic “I Like to Move It” —  bring the audience to their feet.

Utilizing the set from the theater’s current Main Stage production “A Bronx Tale,” the stage comes alive through the use of lighting, sound effects (like Alex’s roar and the ship’s horn), props and costumes. The standing ovation at the end of last Saturday’s performance was well-deserved. Don’t miss this one.

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St. Northport presents Madagascar: A Musical Adventure on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through May 8 (no show on April 17) with special spring break performances on April 21 and 22 at 11 a.m. All seats are $20. To order, call 631-261-2900 or visit