A musical about “the thinks you can think, when you think about Seuss” will be there for the whole family at London High School this Friday.
The Madison County Arts Council will be presenting “Suessical the Musical” this weekend, starting Friday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. followed by shows on Saturday, July 22 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the high school’s Joyce Hildebrand Auditorium on 336 Elm St. Tickets will be sold an hour before show time and cost $10 for students (high school and under) and $12 for adults.
The musical is a rendition of several classic Dr. Seuss stories rolled into one. The story focuses on Horton the Elephant, the central character of the production. Horton, played by Paul Oswalt, is trying to save Whoville from disaster, but faces all sorts of opposition.
Danielle Fredette plays Horton’s love interest, Gertrude McFuzz, but is ignored because of his concern with saving the planet of Whoville. She’s helped by a flamboyant bird known for her beautiful tail named Mayzie LaBird. Played by Shelby Dodds, the character tries to help Gertrude grow a tail as beautiful as her own in hopes of winning Horton’s affection.
The Cat in the Hat, who serves as the narrator of the entire show is played by Paul Smith.
Other characters include Jojo, a young man with a big imagination who is a creature known as a “Who” which Austin Carter plays.
Other key roles include:
Sour Kangaroo — Jessica Fair.
Roo — Sierra Boyd.
Mr. and Mrs. Mayor — Jennifer and Billy Ruhlen.
Bird Girls — Crystal Moran, Julie Akers, Madelyn Frambes, Madison Wells.
Wickershams — Bryce Redick, Ben and Hobbes Treynor.
The General — Aaron Gates.
The Grinch — Kevin Brown.
Yertle the Turtle — Nathan Haley.
Brynne Adkins, who choreographed the show’s dance numbers, said she is excited to see the show finally come together, mentioning how smoothly things had gone so far.
She said the direction staff’s biggest struggle was weeding through all the skilled people who tried out in May.
“With the pool of talent that showed up, casting was a challenge that resulted in a talented cast from the lead roles down to the chorus,” said Adkins.
Jason Hanrahan, the director of the musical echoed Adkins’s thoughts.
“We were lucky to have the option to pick through the best of the best but it certainly was our biggest struggle of all,” he said.
The group has been practicing since mid-May at the Brennan Loft on 158 S. Main St., which Hanrahan said had been going well. Adkins said this is his first time directing and it couldn’t have gone better.
The novice director said he’s only felt one challenge during practices.
“The scheduling was the biggest hurdle there, we only had about three days of practice a week, which is less than I would have liked,” he said. “But, the cast pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and got things done. We worked around everyone’s conflicts and we have a production I’m proud of.”
Adkins said she noticed real growth with the cast.
“At auditions there were a handful of young kids who struggled to stand in front of an audience to sing and read. We have cast members as young as eight years old,” she said. “Throughout the rehearsal process it’s been amazing to see these kids’ confidence grow and watch them fall in love with being on stage.
“That’s honestly what community theater is all about,” she added. “I hope these kids — and adults too — have an experience that’s so great that they can’t wait to come back next year.”
Both Adkins and Hanrahan encourage people to come out and support their local theater production this weekend.
“It’s not just good for the people, it’s good for the economy; all of the sets, costumes, we work hard to make sure it’s all done local,” he said. “But really the most important thing is the people. For our younger community members, this may be their only chance outside of school to be part of a theater production. For adults, it’s probably their only outlet for this sort of thing. It’s hard to hunt around for acting gigs when you work a full time job already.”
Adkins said it certainly has been a positive experience for her.
“I like to think we’re providing an experience not only for the people involved in the programs, but the community,” she said. “The arts have played a huge role in my life both as a performer and an audience member and I’ve chosen the Madison County Arts Council as an outlet to give back and give thanks. MCAC would not function without the support of the community, and we’re so gracious for the loyal supporters that donate and attend the arts council’s programs.”
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.