COVID-19: Musicals make a return after costly pause due to COVID

COVID-19 took musicals off New Zealand stages in the middle of last year but finally Madagascar the Musical is able to resume its season in Christchurch. 

After performing in Auckland and Wellington, COVID-19 cancelled the Christchurch tour.

When COVID-19 took centre stage in the middle of 2021, Andrew Papas, who plays Alex the Lion, was disappointed. But he is now glad to be back under the spotlight. 

Associate producer and resident director Nick Purdie says COVID-19 doesn't make shows like Madagascar cheap to postpone. 

"It's not cheap, it's quite a costly exercise when you have to bring certain costumes over from the UK and then put them in storage for five months, all costs add up." 

The giraffe puppet alone has over 300 pieces of 3D printed material and while it has been locked away for five months, six cast members have changed. 

One of them, Matt Mulholland, who plays King Julien, is by no means a newcomer to the performing arts scene. 

"I've never performed in this theatre before I'm so excited," he says.

Mulholland has over 60 million views on YouTube but has traded his comical recorder for King Julien. 

"He comes in the second half and has a real good time, he's fun to watch."

With Omicron knocking on New Zealand's door, Purdie is crossing his fingers. 

"We just gotta cross our fingers I suppose and hope we can get the season underway, we've been living with the uncertainty for a long time." 

And for performers, it's a chance to get back to doing what they love. 

"Playing Alex comes quite naturally for me, he's a bit of a show-off, bit of a showman. I quite like doing that sort of thing," Papas says.