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“Seussical” the musical at Indian River Central


PHILADELPHIA — Charles R. Heck heard a “who” and figured “why not” when considering choices for this year’s musical at Indian River Central School District.

“We looked at our potential cast and we thought ‘Seussical’ was a good fit for the students we had for the vocal ranges and acting abilities,” Mr. Heck said.

“Seussical” brings to life characters created by Dr. Seuss — Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991) — ranging from the Cat in the Hat to Horton the elephant. It will be staged at the district’s Theatre of the Performing Arts for three shows today and Saturday.

“Many of the set pieces look like the pages out of Dr. Seuss books,” said Mr. Heck, district K-12 music coordinator. “It’s a very colorful show.”

The district is renting stage drops from a company out of Hollywood, Calif.

“We have to do that every year because our stage is so much bigger than many other school stages,” Mr. Heck said.

“Seussical” features music and lyrics by the Tony-winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who also wrote “Ragtime” and “Once on This Island.” The show ran for six months on Broadway beginning in 2000 for a total of 198 performances.

“This musical is a lot different from others that we’ve done,” said senior Dale E. Hajdasz, who plays Horton. “There’s more music than there is dialog. It’s pretty much music throughout the whole show, except for like two breaks.”

The production will have a professional pit band led by conductor Toni Zygadlo, who will also be on piano.

The Cat in the Hat is the musical’s narrator. It’s played by senior Aurora L. Adams.

“The cat is very mischievous,” she said. “There’s different problems that go on throughout the show which drives the story. I’m the one who causes all of those problems.”

Aurora said she uses “characters as tools” to tell the story. Those characters include Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks,” Mayzie the Bird, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and the Sour Kangaroo.

Tenth-grader Morgan R. Lightner plays the Sour Kangaroo, the musical’s main antagonist.

“The character is supposed to be really sassy who has an attitude,” Morgan said. “She doesn’t like Horton the elephant very much.”

“Seussical” is giving the students a chance to review their Dr. Seuss books. The author’s works show no sign of losing new audiences. He had six books in the top 10 Nielsen BookScan list last week.

“My mom had bought me all the books,” Morgan said. “I referred back to them, especially looking into the Sour Kangaroo to try to figure out my character, and I referred back to some of the movies based on the Dr. Seuss books.”

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The cast of “Seussical” at Indian River Central School District:

Aurora Adams as the Cat in the Hat, Kristi Ann Lapp as JoJo, Dale Hajdasz as Horton, Misty Brown as Gertrude Mcfuzz, Nikki Marshall as Mayzie, Morgan Lightner as the Sour Kangaroo, Matt DeMaio as Mr. Mayor, Joanna Hecker as Mrs. Mayor, Brian Walsh as the Grinch, Kenny Brennan as Gengus Khan Schmidt, Wayne Landreth as Vlad Vladikoff.

Bird girls: Abby Widrick, Becca Oster, Erin O’Brien, Sierra Hicks, Shayla Thomas and Desi Smith.

Wickersham brothers: Xavier Ehresman, Noah Laclair, Daniel Johnson, Weston Ebbrecht, James Kessler and Joel West.

Jungle animals: Netanya Archibald, Chris Bjornstad, Rebecca Butler, Deanna Chavez, Michaela Culbertson, Amanda Gydesen, Molly Kane, Sierra Laclair, Michaela Lamont, Shelby McAlister, Tabatha Mazingo, Lauren Oh, Abbey Pedroza, Morgan Ritter, Misty Rodriguez, Megan Shimkus and Ashlee Weldon.

The Whos: Matt DeMaio, Marisa Domeyer, Shealynn Foster, Emily Goodrich, Daisy Hecker, Tyler Heflin, Maria Inserra, Jamie Kemple, Meghan Koerick, Emily Lapp, Anna Latour, Maria Miller, Katie Peck, Kayla Ruttan and Alyssa Sands.

Besides Mr. Heck, the producer, the adult staff includes theater teacher Kristie Fuller as stage director, Tricia Moore as choreographer and Phillip Dyke as technical director.

the details
WHAT: Indian River Central School District stages “Seussical.”
WHEN/WHERE: 7 p.m. today and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Indian River Theatre of the Performing Arts, 32925 Route 11, Philadelphia.
COST: Tickets are $5 at the door or can be purchased from cast members.
OF NOTE: The 2 p.m. show will be interpreted for the hearing-impaired.
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