‘Oh, the Thinks You Can Think’
NEGAUNEE — In the world of Dr. Seuss, small has always been big. Battles waged by the underdogs and free thinkers are meted out in line after line made up of rhythmic rhyme.
And just like a Dr. Suess classic story, the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council has proven itself once again to be the little theater that could — with its lighthearted production of “Suessical” the musical.
The musical, written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, combines the plots of “Horton Hears a Who” and “Horton Hatches the Egg.” Although characters like the Grinch, played by Tom Pascoe make an appearance, along with Thing 1, played by Priya Morey, and Thing 2, played by Emmeline Chaudier.
The Cat in the Hat, played masterfully by veteran actor Tom Laitinen, is the mischievous emcee.
He opens the show by inviting the audience into the wildly imaginative world of Seuss where there’s no end to the incredible “thinks you can think!”
Robert Smedman is a relatable Horton, his portrayal of the character is both innocent and steadfast.
Ashlyn Elledge as Jojo the littlest Who is an excellent student for Laitinen’s mischievous Cat, with a vocal talent and acting chops that seem beyond her years.
Other standout performances were given by Alexxus Taavola as Horton’s love interest Gertrude McFuzz, and Malorie Munson as Mayzie LaBird, and Adrianna Stephens as the Sour Kangaroo.
The entire 75-member cast works well together in the whimsical romp, which is completed by colorful set pieces and multitude of flowery and feathered costumes.
The brash, brightly colored forest creatures, are a stark contrast to the yellow and white clad Whos.
Director Sara J. Perfetti has outdone herself, tackling musical direction, set design, as well as choreography with Eliisa Gladwell and Allyse Belanger.
The show even ends with a sweet surprise that promises to melt the heart of every audience member.
Performances will be held at the Historic Vista Theater on Iron Street in Negaunee at 7 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday. Matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets — which are available at Snowbound Books, Gitchee Gumee Cafe and Records in Marquette, Rare Earth Goods in Ishpeming, or online at www.vistatheater.org — cost $15 for adults, $12 for K-12 students and senior citizens aged 62 or older. Tickets for children pre-K and under are $5.
Tickets are also available for purchase three hours before showtime on performance days, according to the PAAC website.
Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is email@example.com.