'Seussical' promises humor and heart
Most of us have fond memories of the madcap tales of Dr. Seuss, which so enchanted us as kids. For those of us who haven't, a trip by the Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts campus after school will find a delectable ensemble of wit, music and magic.
Keith Buck, the intro drama teacher at MCAA, has been working all year on producing "Seussical the Musical Jr." based on the 2000 Broadway production "Seussical the Musical." The first performance is today. Buck said he expects the play to "practically leap off the stage in a burst of color, style and song."
A cast with charm and high spirits, MCAA students Stephanie Rodwell, Gabby Hayes, Jaslyn Page, Alayna Kohen, Will Meher, Benjamin Olsen, Emalie Saalsaa, Kalie Shatswell, Sydney Johnson, Mariah Kuhn, Bryant Rivera, Anastasia Mathews, Cassie Rose and Courtney Perdue portray the main characters of the story, many of them alternating nights.
The primary plotline anchors upon Horton the Elephant, who faces the challenge of not only protecting his petite friend, JoJo, a young girl thrown into the play by the wild whims of the Cat in the Hat, but also caring for the abandoned egg of the negligent Mayzie La Bird. Unbeknownst to Horton, he is also pursued by the small bird, Gertrude McFuzz.
Two musical numbers between Horton and Gertrude, "Alone in the Universe" and "Notice Me, Horton," offer uncommonly earnest insight, which is sure to spark smiles and quiver heartstrings.
With a unique twist, "Seussical Jr." follows the Cat in the Hat through the lush sets, costumes, voices and numbers. The roguish Cat embodies the fey-like fickle of the human imagination, transforming from "the ringleader of a circus to a brassy, jazz-playing pianist to a rambling auctioneer," Buck said.
From what I have seen, this magical performance gives life to the thoughtful and tender tease of Seuss' perspectives. It is sure to enliven the audience with its far-reaching messages about friendship, loyalty, family and community and warm their hearts with its fast-paced songs destined to burst off the stage like fireworks.
"Seussical" integrates the storylines of more than 20 of Seuss' tales, blended together with "toe-tapping tunes" and "brassy" melodies, Buck said. The fantastical story will travel from the diminutive town of Whoville to the gargantuan glades of the Jungle of Nool.
Colorful sets, dazzling lights and vibrant costumes saturate the story along its breathtaking flights of fancy. Chris Purdie, a senior, directs the lighting for the show, a position he has held for the majority of his six years at MCAA. Rachel Madsen has been arduously involved in crafting "scene after scene of wacky wardrobes," Buck said.
At its base, the show's eye candy comes from the dedication of its actors and directors. Kudos to Keith Buck, student-director Mariah Kuhn and all who have made the show what it is — a spectacle of unorthodox sincerity, invention and sensation.
Mark Runyan is a senior at the Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts. His column appears about every sixth week in Education.