Lifestyle

Published October 25, 2019

Kempenfelt Community Players Bring 'Madagascar - A Musical Adventure' To Life

KCP is a community theatre group that has been performing in Barrie and the surrounding area for over 40 years

It’s a musical adventure through Madagascar. All the animals have escaped their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and are on the run from animal control and the police. After being tranquilized, they fall asleep and wake up on a ship bound for Africa and the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.

Director Keelan Ballantyne, front, with Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo, who are some of the animal characters in Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr.

Naturally, there are mishaps along the way but Kempenfelt Community Players’ young company is singing lots of catchy tunes, dancing and wearing crazy costumes. Find out how their adventure turns out at Georgian Theatre Nov. 8-10. The show is based on the smash hit DreamWorks animated motion picture Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr.

The mother and son team of Sandra and Keelan Ballantyne head up the adventure. It’s the first time they have worked to together although both have been involved with Kempenfelt Community Players (KCP) in the past, Sandra as a producer and Keelan as an actor. This show also marks Keelan’s first time as a full director.

The mother and son team of Sandra and Keelan Ballantyne

“This musical is part of my childhood so I’m very excited they came up with the rights for it,” said Keelan. “As an actor, it kind of stretches the kids (because) they play animals with human characteristics. My directing style is character based so it is a good way to stretch myself.”

The show features a large cast of 35 kids ranging in age from 10 to 18 and many are new to KCP. He was very impressed that they learned their lines and most were able to go ‘off book’ within a week.

The 35-member young company cast rehearses

Keelan grew up in KCP’s young company and followed older brother into the triple threat program at Moving Art. However, despite landing lead roles, he felt theatre “wasn’t his thing”. He was also into sports.

After he graduated from St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School, two years ago, he took a year off and then returned to school, in Alberta, to study theatre.

“I would like to transition into film but I think I will also keep live theatre around in my life (because) I think they complement each other,” he said.

Sandra did theater and dance growing up but there was little opportunity to develop her interest until her son auditioned for a role in KCP. She then went on to produce shows for the next six years before taking a break from it. She marks her return to producing with Madagascar.

“I love being able to provide an option for people to have a creative outlet,” she said. “I have met so many parents who have thanked me for providing an outlet for their kids that may not be academically inclined or just don’t fit in. It helps build up their confidence.”

Matinee and evening performances are available. For tickets see www.kempenfeltplayers.com or call the box office at 705-739-4228.

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