'Seussical the Musical' brings beloved characters to life
"Seussical the Musical" is what happens when a lonely little "Who" with a huge imagination conjures up a magical universe. The colorful, fun production will explode onto the Gladstone High School stage at 7 p.m. April 13 and 14 and at 2 p.m. April 15.
The plot includes stories from several different classic Dr. Seuss books, said director and drama teacher Emmett Pearson.
JoJo is a tiny Who whose creativity has begun to get him into trouble, and "that's when the Cat in the Hat appears, to help JoJo follow his imagination to wonderful places like the jungle, where we meet a fun and whimsical cast of characters," she said.
And then Horton the Elephant discovers JoJo's small planet filled with Whos and decides to help them. Meanwhile, Horton's neighbors think he has lost his mind.
"There's comedy, a sweet love story and amazing songs," Pearson said. "We really wanted to choose a musical with a big, fun ensemble cast, and this one was too good to pass up."
Josh Weir, GHS choral director, was familiar with the songs and knew that the talented group of students in the cast had the skills to sing them well.
"The music is recorded, which works best for a school like ours, not to mention the ease in which we can pause and replay any parts we need to in order to rehearse each day," Pearson said.
With any musical, putting the songs together with choreography is always a challenge, she said, noting that a GHS alumna comes in and helps with the dance scenes.
"The most fun element of this particular production has probably been putting together a bright and interesting set that feels straight out of a Dr. Seuss book," Pearson said.
The cast and crew worked together to paint big set pieces as well as the entire stage to really bring the show to life.
Pearson said she loves all the songs in the show, but one duet strikes her as particularly memorable.
"The song 'Alone in the Universe' is sung by Horton the Elephant and JoJo, and it's a really sweet moment where they both feel really lonely. But their friendship is special and gives them both hope," she said.
"The actors playing each part really make it stand out, and I get a little choked up every time I hear it."
Sadie Klaus, 17, plays Gertrude McFuzz in the play, and said audiences will like the "amazing songs, music and vibrant characters."
What she likes best about Gertrude is that she starts out timid and self-conscious, but ultimately realizes "that she's worth more and should not be ignored."
Chris Narcio, 15, plays the crucial role of JoJo, the tiny, but deep-thinking Who.
"The show is all about his imagination, and in the end he ends up saving his whole planet," Narcio said.
What he likes best about the show is his character's positive interaction with Horton the Elephant and the energy that the entire cast exudes onstage.
Nic Pfeiffer plays the iconic Horton the Elephant, and said people already feel like they know his character ahead of time.
His favorite song in the show is "Solla Sollew," which is about imagining paradise.
"It is a humbling song, very slow and emotional. I sing about what it would be like to be in paradise after being alone for most of the production," Pfeiffer said.
"Seussical the Musical" is appropriate for the entire family, Pearson said, adding that the production is short enough to keep children interested and just long enough to tell the story.
"This truly is a feel-good musical that everyone can enjoy."
What: Gladstone High School Drama and Choir Departments present "Seussical the Musical"
When: 7 p.m. April 13-14, 2 p.m. April 15
Where: Gladstone High School, 18800 S.E. Portland Ave.
Cost: Adults $7, kids and students $5 at the door