in Downtown Ventura
There's so much to do in Downtown! Mark your calendars for these upcoming events!
- This event has passed.
Madagascar: A Musical Adventure
July 6, 2018
An event every day that begins at 12:00 am, repeating until July 8, 2018
Ventura, CA 93001 United States
For a Family Friendly Fourth of July Weekend, Rubicon Theatre Company Offers a Musical Adventure
Based on Popular DreamWorks Animated Film “Madagascar”
For a family friendly fourth of July weekend event, Rubicon Theatre Company presents Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, based on the popular animated DreamWorks’ 2005 film. The show is performed by talented young people ages 11-to-14 who are a part of Rubicon Theatre Company’s summer education and outreach programs. Madagascar: A Musical Adventure features a book by Kevin Del Aguila, original music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan. The production is directed and choreographed by Rubicon’s new Education and Outreach directors, Broadway veterans Beverly and Kirby Ward. Puppet Design is by master artist Bob Beuth.
The story of Madagascar follows the hilarious antics of Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo, and the plotting penguins of a New York Zoo, all of whom are desperate for a change of scene.
Co-Director/Choreographer Kirby Ward remarks that “the show is about zoo animals who have only known life in captivity until one of them – Marty – dreams of experiencing freedom, and the wilds of nature.”
“The theme of the show,” adds Beverly Ward, “is that through friendship and love we can conquer great obstacles.”
“The show helps us know that we must keep our friends close and we can’t turn our backs on each other,” says Kirby.
Madagascar: A Musial Adventure, runs one-hour and is appropriate for all ages. Performances are Friday, July 6, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, July 7, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 8, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $11 for students, $16 for adults, plus a $4 processing fee. For tickets, call (805) 667-2900 or go to www.rubicontheatre.org.
About the Cast
The cast of Madascar: A Musical Adventure consists of twenty-one students ages 11-to-14. Cast members from the City of Ventura include Gregory Gillett as Alex; Allison Stehle as Gloria; Abigail Block as Marty; Scata Rosengren as Melman; Nevaeh Aspuria as Zookeeper 2 and Lemur; Molly Globerman as Zookeeper 3 and Foosa; Channing McClure as Lew, Tourist and New Yorker; Juliette Nasarenko as Mort; Mya Sherman as Kowalski; Tessa Shinden as Maurice; Jimmy Vert as Skipper; and Penelope Achevarria as Lee. Lal Besir from Oak Park plays Lynn. Camarillo residents Frida and Gail Fernandez plays Rico and Mason/Lemur, respectively, with neighbors Jade Knowles as Private and Andilyn Ziegler as Zookeeper 1 and Foosa. Ojai residents Coree Kotula and Emma Poultney play King Julien and Lars; Joanne Lee of Oxnard is Candy Hammernose.
About the Directors
Beverly and Kirby Ward are both professional working artists.
Kirby Ward’s career in the arts has touched practically every facet of the entertainment industry from opera to cartoon voiceovers. He has written for television, stage and film, headlined with symphonies all over the world and starred on London’s West End and New York’s Broadway stages. He received an Olivier Award nomination as the original Bobby Child in the UK premiere of Crazy For You and can be heard on the London cast recording.
As a director and choreographer, Kirby Ward has guided theatrical productions all over the world, from New York City to the far reaches of China. He has twice been named Best Director of the Year in Boston and received San Diego Critics Circle Awards for Best Director of a Musical and Best Choreography for 2006.
As an educator, Kirby was a special guest director/instructor of the prestigious Central Academy of Drama (CAD) in central Beijing where he directed students in the art of American Musical Theatre. He has done similar work in Seoul, Korea. Last year in Inner Mongolia, he trained a folkloric troupe in the western style of theatre, directing them in an original musical celebrating the life of Kublai Khan. During this time, he oversaw the conversion of a 25,000 square-foot Mongolian yurt into a state-of-the-art theatre-in-the-round.
Kirby is a member of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC), SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity.
Kirby Ward is a firm believer in theatre education programs. He believes that programs such as this “give kids a real sense of who they are, who they want to be, how they fit into a group, and how they can have an impact on a something that is bigger than themselves. All the components – each actor, each prop, each bit of scenery – all that is put into a show – adds to the show’s whole affect. It’s not one person or one element that makes a great show. It’s the combined efforts and combined work of a lot of different people, and for kids to feel that they are a part of that is something they take with them into any future endeavor.”
Beverly Ward started singing before she can remember. Her first professional gig was touring with Anne Miller and Mickey Rooney in Sugar Babies. Since then, she’s played Broadway, London’s West End, traveled with three more National Tours, been a guest soloist at the Hollywood Bowl, sung her original music at Birdland, and raised three wonderful kids with husband Kirby.
Beverly has worked as a teaching artist with San Diego’s Jr. Theatre, The Bijou Theatre Summer Youth Program, Wiremill Academy and, with Kirby, she has built a long-standing relationship with San Diego Civic Dance Arts Program. Bev believes all young people should take part in the arts – especially the performing arts, where they learn collaborative creativity, healthy expression of powerful emotions, and have the opportunity to create friendships that last a lifetime.
Beverly is an active believer in communication. “I want them to take away the ability to communicate a story to an audience clearly, with enthusiasm, emotion and commitment,” says Beverly. “If that happens, when they go out into the world – whether it is a math class, soccer practice, or conversation with a parent – they will know how to also express themselves.”
Students Participated in Master Class with Professional Puppeteer Trained by Julie Taymor
During the classes and rehearsal period for the show, students had an opportunity to participate in a master class with professional actor, playwright and puppeteer Bob Beuth. Beuth learned the art of mask-making with Julie Taymor (The Lion king) in the early 80s. He has designed puppets and masks for various theatre companies in the Los Angeles area and in Ventura (creating the monster puppet for Return to the Forbidden Planet, and the Scrooge puppet for Rubicon’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, in which he also co-starred).
“We wanted to build something that was physically imposing and larger than the actors so that it could be really genuinely scary to the characters of the lemurs,” says Beuth. “But it also had to be light enough for the kids to be able to use and operate.”
Beverly remarks, “Kirby had the idea that the puppets would be large heads on some sort of stick, so that the bodies are the bodies of the children. This also made it possible for us to bang the sticks on the ground and create rhythm at particular moments in the musical.”
Over the years, Beuth has studied marionette carving in Prague, and, recently Italian leather mask-making in Padova, Italy. He recently returned from the 2018 National Puppetry Conference in Waterford, Connecticut. He currently teaches mask-making and puppet building through “The Clown School” in Los Angeles.
While explaining the thought process behind choreographing the antagonists of the show, Kirby mentions that he wanted to have the Foosa emanate a “tribal quality, and the feeling that this pack of animals are coming.”
“We hear them,” continues Ward, “and the pounding, and once there they are scary. There’s a fear factor, an adrenaline rush.”
In addition to Beuth, other members of the creative team for Madagascar: A Musical Adventure are Set Designer Oscar Escobedo, Lighting Designer Ryan Marsh, Costume Designer Sheryl Jo Bedal, Sound Designer Kenny Hobbs, and Stage Manager Addison Calvin. Amber Zepf serves as Production Manager.
Tickets for Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, may be purchased in person through the Rubicon Theatre Box Office, located at 1006 E. Main Street (Laurel entrance). To charge by phone, call (805) 667-2900. To order online, or to learn more about Rubicon’s Summer Education and Outreach programs, go to www.rubicontheatre.org.