Saturday September 23rd 2017

Meet two of the men behind “Madagascar Live!”

Today, I had the treat of spending some time with two of the men behind the scenes of the Dreamworks production of “Madagascar Live!” that will pop into Rosemont on March 16th through the 20th. This is an all new adaptation bringing us some of our favorite characters from the Dreamworks hit movie- Alex the Lion,Marty the Zebra,Melman the Giraffe,Gloria the hip hip Hippo and you know who- yes, those hilarious penguins. For those of you who know the film version, two of the original songs, “Move It Move It” and “Best Friends” are still there, but Dreamworks and Broadway Across America, in order to make sure that this would be a unique and memorable experience brought in Joel Someillan and George Noriega as the composers and Lyricists to add 16 new songs, allowing each of the characters to have their own identity. These writers have worked with the likes of Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin and Mandy Moore, but of even greater importance, they are the men behind “Dora The Explorer” and “Go Diegeo,Go” tv shows and the “Go,Diego,Go Live” show that  has toured the United States as well.

Not only are these super talented men, but they understand kids shows and that the children have to identify with the characters so the song has to fit, thus they use their own children to get a real response. We agreed when we spoke that “kids know real” and “you cannot fool them” as they are honest and open, so what better way to judge- let a kid hear the song and put it with the character. This makes for a sure-fire winner!

How does one take a well accepted piece and convert it to a “live” show for the family to enjoy. Well, first they look at the script( Kevin Del Aguila) and then they meet with the director ( Gil Hoppe , who directed “Dora The Explorer Live” among other children’s productions) and begin to write the new songs to make the show more of a live production, Broadway-type piece. Over a 4 month period they write their songs and test them and then watch as the performers become the characters. Remember, this story is about challenge, trust and friendship, so they have to make sure that the content of their lyrics hit the point. Also, since the majority of audience members are familiar with each and every character, they must make certain that the kids will be able to relate to them ( no surprises) and once they have completed their work, they go to the studio and lay down the tracks. There is no live orchestra for these shows, but, the performers really do sing. When you watch a show like this, one of the key people is in fact the “sound man”. He must be ready to hit the right button at just the right moment so that the music can be followed by the performer(s).

Both Joel and George love what they do and love building songs for the kids. Yes, they will work with the “superstars” and possibly win some more Grammy Awards, but one can hear in their voices the love they have for creating music for children ( and families as well) and the power that this music has to bring children to live theater and to let them learn from characters they love. Your chance to hear their creations will be coming to Rosemont March 16th. See for yourselves! I know I will, along with my grandkids- Adam and Sarah are just counting the days!

for more info visit www.madlive.com

on facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Madagascar-Live/156147897738163

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