Interview: Madagascar’s Matt Terry

Evie Freeman interviewed The X Factor’s Matt Terry who is starring in Madagascar The Musical. 

You’re from Bromley originally, how does it feel to be performing to a home audience in September?

It’s nuts because I used to work front of house in the theatre there so to go back is really exciting. It’s going to be weird to be on the other side.

Are there any similarities between Musical Theatre and the X-factor stage in terms of a theatrical performance?

Yes, for sure. I think what a lot of people don’t know is that I trained in Musical Theatre before I ended up on the X-Factor. I just wanted to sing. I was in the finals for Thriller Live, Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots, I was so close. And then I fell into the X-Factor and that went really well. And now I’m back to my roots. They’re two completely different worlds.

Which is your favourite?

I would have to say this. Just because I’m enjoying it so much right now. I love the cast, I love the music and I feel really passionate about it.

When you go to drama school they say things like “be an animal”, “be a tree”. In this case, what was the rehearsal process like?

Total opposite. This was, “Matt, you’re not a lion, Tammika, you’re not a Hippo”. They made us think, ‘if Alex were a human, who would he be?’ and my thought was Joey from Friends. He’s kind of ‘whatever’ and gets all the ladies but it comes from a good place. He’s not arrogant in a way that means you don’t like him.

Do you think you share any characteristics with Alex?

Yes, for sure. I think we all do. The minute you walk in the room you think, ‘that’s Alex, that’s Marty, that’s Gloria and that’s Melman. Jamie and Melman are literally the same, Tammika is very sassy like Gloria and I am very similar to Alex. So, I think they cast us pretty accurately!

When it came to the rehearsal process, did the cast have an input into how the production? Was it workshopped?

They really trusted us, and I think that’s what attracted me to this role. We’re the first to do it, so we’re creating these characters and bringing them to life. It’s Dreamworks, it’s Alex, it’s Ben Stiller. I feel really grateful and honoured that we’re the first ones to do it.

You obviously have the talent to back up your TV persona but is TV something you would recommend to aspiring performers?

If fame is your thing then great, but personally I’m not very good at being famous. You have to be really careful, and you have to be the right kind of person. I was lucky. I feel like I’m the right person to have done that and luckily it went my way.

There’s been a lot of talk about how the title has changed. Can you embellish that a little bit?

The lovely producer stepped in to answer this one!

When it first went on sale it was ‘Madagascar: The Musical Adventure’. But that was before Matt was brought on and launched. It then became ‘Madagascar: The Musical’. From a producer point of view, it was key that the show was of a different standard to a ‘kids show’. It’s in that lovely ‘family’ market. There’s something for dads and mums to laugh at and then there’s something for the kids too. That’s why there was a rebrand.

Matt stepped back in

To add to that, Madagascar is timeless. We’ve had the spin-offs, and the sequels, and now it’s the right time for a musical to come along to evolve it and get it moving again.

Why should families come and see the show?

It’s a show for the entire family. Throughout the show there’s parts for adults, that they will get and the kids won’t, and then likewise for the kids! It’s fun filled, there’s great choreography, great music and the entire cast bring it together!

Evie Freeman
Evie Freeman

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