Youth theatre to present Seussical, Jr. musical

Emma Bradley (who plays a Wickersham sister) practicing dance and acrobatics techniques on aerial silks for Seussical, Jr., January 24-26 at Kaufman Auditorium. (Photo Credit: Nikke Nason)

by Sydney Rehmann

Coming this January, audience members will go on a mesmerizing and entrancing journey through the tales of Dr. Seuss.

Seussical the Musical brings life to many of the classic children’s books we all know and love including Horton Hears A Who!, If I Ran the Circus, Green Eggs and Ham, Oh, The Thinks You Can Think, McElligot’s Pool, and many more.

The show is a musical extravaganza with the book and music by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Lucky Stiff, My Favorite Year, Once On This Island, and Ragtime).

David Bashaw, who plays the Cat in the Hat, lifts Emma Bradley, who plays a Wickersham Sister, during a dance rehearsal for Seussical Jr. (Photo Credit: Nikke Nason)

David Bashaw, who plays the Cat in the Hat, lifts Emma Bradley, who plays a Wickersham Sister, during a dance rehearsal for Seussical Jr. (Photo Credit: Nikke Nason)

“This show really fits our cast,” says Raquel Green, who plays a fish and a circus performer.

Transporting audiences from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus, the Cat in the Hat (played by David Bashaw), our narrator, tells the story of Horton (played by Andy Vanwelsenaers), an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos, including Jojo (played by Enzo Stabile), a Who child who gets in trouble for thinking too many “thinks.”

Horton’s challenge is twofold––not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must also guard an abandoned egg that’s been left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie LaBird (played by Sophie Shahbazi). Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz (played by Mallory Grugin) never loses faith in him.

Green

Green

Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Having great songs, and dances to go with them, are a huge part of putting on a musical.

If you thought The Little Mermaid was fantastic, be prepared to be amazed. Seussical takes youth dancing to a whole new level.

“The dancing is energetic, creative and wild. There is so much cool stuff going on, it’s hard to focus on just one thing. There are lots of twists, turns, and amazing tricks,” says Karen Ludwig, who plays the role of Cat Assistant in the production.

Ludwig

Ludwig

And she is right. Not only have they learned a new style of dance, the cast members have learned many difficult dance lifts as well as acrobatic tricks that will make your jaw drop.

But the dances can’t make a musical alone. The cast has spent months rehearsing the vocal aspects of the show. With so many songs and many difficult, made-up words, this show is slightly more challenging than previous ones.

Noah Gannon, who plays a Wickersham brother, said, “The hardest part of the show is the words that were made up. It’s a struggle at first but you find yourself getting more and more comfortable with them and eventually they become natural.”

Gannon

Gannon

The cast has gotten used to the unique words and is now busy with harmonies to make them sound even better. With such a talented cast, the songs are easily accomplished.

All of this put together makes a show that will leave you speechless, but none of it would be possible without a talented production team including a choreography team led by Jill Grundstrom and Jill Vermeulen with assistance from Donavon Chambers and Jake DeLong. The songs wouldn’t sound right without the vocal direction of Jeff Bruning.

The behind the scenes action relies on the tech crew led by Sydney Rehmann and technical director Mike Kangas. And helping everyone is director Nikke Nason, assisted by Moire Embley. The costumes, hair, props, makeup and set are led by artistic teams of parents, volunteers and crew members.

Nason

Nason

“The youth involved in the cast and crew have a large variety and high skill level of talents and this is a show that allows us to utilize all of those talents,” said Nason. “The ultimate goal of the Lake Superior Youth Theatre program is to empower young people to maximize their potential through performance arts training and the creation of outstanding theatrical and musical art.

“Seussical Jr. allows us to expand our cast size and offer several special lifts and dance opportunities not usually available in youth theatre.”

Seussical, Jr. wouldn’t be possible without support from the Max and Phyllis Reynolds Foundation, Marquette County Community Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, The National Endowment for the Arts, Kiwanis Club of Marquette, Marquette Rotary West, Kaufman Auditorium, Marquette Area Public Schools and several other individual donors.

Rehmann

Rehmann

The shows will take place at Kaufman Auditorium on Friday, January 24 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 26 at 1:00 p.m.

Seating is reserved and no refunds or exchanges will be accepted. Tickets are $14.00 for adults and seniors and $8.00 for a child or student in advance (add $3.00 at the door); all seats are reserved. Tickets are on sale at all NMU EZ Ticket outlets, online at www.nmu.edu/tickets/ or by calling 227-1032.

For more information, please call 362-6453, visit the theatre on Facebook, email lakesuperioryouththeatre@gmail.com or log on to the theatre’s website at www.lsyt.org

– Sydney Rehmann

Editor’s Note: Sydney Rehmann is an 8th-grade student at Bothwell Middle School and has been involved actively in youth theatre both on and off stage. She will be serving as the stage manager and leading the crew of Seussical Jr.

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