WILLARD - Chances are, you won’t find many teary-eyed cast members of this year’s Willard High School production of “Seussical.” That’s because almost all will be back next year to perform in at least one more high school production before heading out into the “real world.”
Among the roughly 35 cast members, only two are seniors. Production director Cindy Light said she usually has anywhere from 10 to 12 seniors in a cast. But, Light said whatever this year’s group might be lacking in experience, they’re making up for in talent.
“We have a real strong group of juniors,” she said.
Talent is important with a musical such as ”Seussical,” which Willard students will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Willard High School.
Light said “Seussical,” based on stories of Dr. Seuss, is a difficult show to perform: The chorus is constantly moving on and off stage, the show is almost entirely sung-through, there are many pauses in the middle of songs and what little dialogue the show has is set to a beat.
Light said she liked what she saw from the cast during a recent rehearsal — 11 days before opening night.
To help cast members navigate the difficulties of “Seussical,” Light gave them CDs of the Broadway production. The teacher and drama director said she hoped listening to the CDs would help the students know what to do during the myriad pauses.
“Seussical’s” songs may be difficult but they’re crowd pleasers.
“You wake up singing them; they’re catchy,” Light said.
The numbers include “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think,” “How Lucky You Are,” “Here on Who,” “Alone in the Universe” and “Biggest Blame Fool.”
Bits and pieces of at least 14 Seuss classics are incorporated into “Seussical,” including “Horton Hears a Who,” “Horton Hatches the Egg,” “Gertrude McFuzz,” “The Butter Battle Book,” “If I Ran the Circus, McElligott's Pool,” “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew” and “The Cat in the Hat.”
The main story involves Horton the Elephant's efforts to save his friend Jojo and the other inhabitants on Who, even though everyone else in the Jungle of Nool thinks Horton is the "Biggest Blame Fool" for believing in people who live on a small speck of dust. But Horton is a determined, loyal and faithful friend who fights for what he knows to be true.
Cast members with lead roles include: Greg Riemersma as Cat in the Hat; Brock Sokevitz as Horton; Katie Holthouse as JoJo; Ariel Tarr as Gertrude; Cayla Gardner as Mayzie; Shannon Spayde as Sour Kangaroo; Brendon Bower as the Mayor of Whoville; Lindsay Bogner as the mayor’s wife; Norm Steinmetz as General Schmitz and Cody Frasure as the Grinch.
“Seussical” opened on Broadway on Nov. 30, 2000 and ran until May 20, 2001.
IF YOU GO…
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Willard High School
HOW MUCH: Adult tickets are $6 and student tickets are $5. To purchase tickets, call (419) 935-0181.