Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation debuts at Busch Gardens Tampa
Published: May 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Busch Gardens' Park President Jim Dean poses with his newest star Alex the Lion.
While the park's May 16th media event unveiled the show for the press, Busch Gardens' marketing team wisely packed the theater with a boisterous crowd of elementary school students who were ready to sing and dance with a familiar collection of Madagascar characters. Live on stage to lead the charge were Alex the Lion and Gloria the Hippo, as well as Skipper and his team of penguins – although the loudest squeals were reserved for the Lemur King Julian.
While the show's premise was a bit thin (the vacationing characters must cheer-up Gloria who misses her friends Marty the zebra and Melman the giraffe -- both of whom are absent from the production), the re-designed theater, music, dancers and gorgeous character costumes were more than enough to bring the younger crowd to their feet.
Julian, King of the Lemurs, welcomes his demographic... er, "subjects."
Clearly the jungle setting featured in the film fits nicely with Busch Gardens' theme. Park President Jim Dean expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with the DreamWorks films, noting that the Madagascar films "in particular complement our brand."
Vice President of Entertainment Nancy Hutson reported that the characters presence will extend beyond the Stanleyville Theater. Park meet-and-greets as well as character dining is planned.
While "Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation" will be most popular with the tweener set that turned the film franchise into a billion-dollar enterprise, Associate Marketing Manager Kelly Heckinger correctly points out that the films' humor and charm "work on many levels with adults as well as kids."
Another production of the show will debut at sister park SeaWorld San Diego in June.