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Waiting in the Wings: Madagascar, Jr.

Believe it or not, I have never seen the movie Madagascar… cue the YOU’VE-NEVER-SEEN-(insert move title here) style freak out. I know, I know. “What have you been waiting for”, right? Maybe I’ve just never made the time. Pesky adulthood has been getting in the way of my film-viewing opportunities over the last few years, but I do love a good animated children’s film. I mean seriously, who doesn’t? But maybe, just maybe, I was waiting for something even better than the movie. I’m sure by now you’re saying, “But what could be better than the movie?” Well, all the theatre lovers out there can tell you what’s better. Real-life, in-your-face performances, that’s what. Fortunately for me, KVTA is producing Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, Jr. this fall, so that is exactly what I’m going to get.

Since I am a novice at all things Madagascar, I decided to sit down with the show’s director, Rozy Labriola, to get the scoop on this children’s favorite. In a nutshell, this story is about a group of animals who escape from the New York City Central Park Zoo but are then kidnapped by a group of penguins and end up in - that’s right - Madagascar. The group tries to find their way home and finds a whole lot of adventure along the way while learning some very important lessons. Sounds pretty incredible to me!

A self-proclaimed “kid at heart”, Rozy is very excited to be directing her first Young Peoples Theatre show. From the moment I began talking with her, Rozy’s passion for the theatre and this community was clear. We talked a bit about how she’s feeling pre-auditions. “It’s an excited nervous,” Rozy said. Anyone who has directed a show knows that you are almost more nervous casting the show than the auditioners are for auditioning! Rozy is particularly excited to watch these kids develop their acting abilities during the run of show. “Seeing the excitement, the drive, their ability to push themselves to limits they didn’t think they could achieve. It’s all stuff like that combined into one [that makes it worth it].” When I asked Rozy why someone should audition for Madagascar her response couldn’t have been more spot on. “I think it’s a good learning experience, especially for those who don't do theatre very often. It’s a good bonding experience with other kids and can help the shyer kids break out of their comfort zone a little bit.” As we wrapped up our conversation, Rozy shared with me her experience with theatre and what it has meant to her, and could mean for someone getting ready to audition. “[Theatre] brings people together and creates families that you never thought would exist. You have this feeling of joy and love plus a whole different perspective on life when you have all these people around who care for you. You spend so much time together… the bond you get in theatre you can’t get anywhere else.” If that doesn’t convince you to audition, then I don’t know what will!

Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, Jr. auditions are September 15th and 16th at the KVTA Studios in Kankakee. Audition information can be found on our website,, and you can sign up for an audition time slot at: We hope you will join us on this wild adventure!!

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