‘Seussical’ opening Friday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – The colorful artwork and whimsical tales of Dr. Seuss will be coming to life later this week on the stage of St. John Theatre when “Seussical” takes the stage later this week.

The show offers a large contrast from the theater’s last offering, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which featured a small cast and some rather adult themes. “Seussical” is a whirlwind of colors and large musical numbers.

“That is why we did this,” said director Darryl Clement. “We try to offer the community a variety.”

And not just the younger members of the community. Clement insists the show has something for everyone.

“Even though the show is considered a children’s show, the music is energetic and catchy,” he said. “And the story that these wild characters go through is something I think everyone can connect to.”

Besides, what adult doesn’t feel a bit of nostalgia every time “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” is aired?

The show is a musical in the purest sense of the word. Far from being just pretty interludes, in “Seussical” the story is largely told in song.

“The piano score comes in two books,” said Clement. “It’s a lot of music and a lot of dancing and a lot of fun.”

Although many Dr. Seuss favorites appear in the show, from Horton to the Cat in the Hat to Thing 1 and Thing 2, Clement said the characters will be suggested through creative costuming. For instance Horton, an elephant, will wear a hat and scarf to suggest the appearance of an elephant rather than having the actor wear an actual elephant costume.

“You have to use your imagination to sort of put it together,” said Clement.

Clement said a larger number of people auditioned for this show than he has experienced in the past. He said of the 80 who auditioned about 40 were cast. This has led to many first-timers on the stage, which, despite their inexperience, is a boon to the theater.

“We got more people more exposure for this place,” he said. “And we have entire families involved.”

The show itself brings elements from a number of books together.

Clement said, “This is an original story that tries to incorporate about 16 different books. Some are just mentioned in songs, and some are played out. But what’s really clever is how they relate to each other.”

Besides the familiar stories and characters, the show also retains the heart of Dr. Seuss tales.

“It contains many great messages. They deal with real human issues,” said Clement. “Doing what’s right because it’s right. I think it’s a message that’s timeless.”

“Seussical” opens Friday at St. John Theatre.