MARQUETTE- The magical worlds of Dr. Seuss are being brought to life by the Lake Superior Youth Theatre in "Seussical Jr." the musical.
Seussical Jr. combines books like "Horton Hears a Who," "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," "The Cat in the Hat" and other famous Dr. Seuss stories. The musical first appeared on the LSYT stage in 2004 and was brought back because it was a hit back then, said Nikke Nason, LSYT director.
"(This is) the kind of show that you heard about for years and still even hear about. It's also a great show for featuring a large amount of people and has roles specifically for younger youth," she said. "Our program also demands that we pick larger, family oriented shows that can accommodate large casts, and often our selection is very limited. Seussical Jr. fits all of our criteria perfectly."
Shown is a scene from 'Seussical Jr.' when it was performed in 2004 by the Lake Superior Youth Theatre. (Photo courtesy of Nikke Nason)
Sophie Shahbazi, front, flaunts her tail during a rehearsal as Mayzie La Bird backed up by the Bird Girls played by, from left, Megan Armstrong, Emily Burbey, Grace Feliz, Karissa Langsford, Anne Ludwig and Hanna Numinen. (Photo courtesy of Nikke Nason)
Nason said the music in the show has stayed with her over the years and loves each and every song, which is rare for her. The music is one of the reason that people should venture out to see the show, she said, but it's not the only reason.
"The quality of dance and performance in this show makes it a unique show to see," Nason said. "We even have one youth, Ricky Vermuelen, who flips upside down while holding himself in silks and lifts another youth, Emma Bradly, who then does a flip herself.
"I used to think that you could only see this at the circus or Cirque Du Soleil, but they've taken on the challenge and learned these skills in a very short time."
There are 127 youth with a rotating Who ensemble, which brings the total number in the cast down to 109. The youth - who age from 3 and 4 years old all the way up to 18 years old - have been rehearsing the show for four months now.
"Youth theatre not only teaches performance and technical skills, but also builds upon communication skills for youth, both in working with others in large groups and communication with the public," Nason said.
Seussical Jr. features Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz and of course Whos. The Cat in the Hat, played by David Bashaw, leads the audience on a journey telling the story of Horton, an elephant, played by Andy Vanwelsenaers, who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child, played by Enzo Stabile, who gets in trouble for thinking too many "thinks." Horton not only must 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 La Bird, played by Sophie Shahbazi. Through his journey the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz, played by Mallory Grugin, never loses faith in him.
Seussical Jr. showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26 at the Kaufman Auditorium in Marquette. Tickets are $14 per adult and $8 per child or student in advance or $3 more at the door. Tickets are on sale at all Northern Michigan University EZ Ticket Outlets or online at www.nmu.edu/tickets.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org