Dr. Seuss' characters come to life in Chantilly High's production of "Seussical." This fun-filled, musical comedy runs Wednesday, Nov. 10, through Saturday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. each night.
There's a cast of 54 and crew of 15, plus 30 rollicking musical numbers. Tickets are $8 at the door, or buy them Nov. 9-12, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., in the cafeteria, and 2-3 p.m. in the main lobby.
HORTON THE Elephant discovers the planet of Who on a speck of dust on a clover in the jungle. Then he has to convince everyone else that the people of Who exist.
"It's a great show," said Katie Anderson, 17, who plays jungle creature Sour Kangaroo. "There's a wide variety of musical styles — everything from soul to ragtime to disco and funk."
And all the actors' lines rhyme, just like Seuss's books. "I think the audience will leave saying, 'Dude, that was a lot of fun!'" said Anderson. "The whole shebang is so entertaining."
The characters are identified by their costumes and actions. Anderson's kangaroo wears red sequins and hops a lot. "She bosses everyone around in the jungle," she said. "I love playing her because I get to be big and attitude-y."
Anderson also acts with the Wickershams — monkey brothers portrayed by David Wyant, Jae Laroya, Mike Wilbur, Corey Conrad and Brian McDonald. "And the songs are fun to sing," she said. "I reach out of the vocal box and really project."
Senior Phil Reid plays the lead role of Horton in a one-piece gray suit and big ears. "He doesn't care what outside people think of him personally," said Reid, 17. "But he wants the jungle creatures to believe him about the Whos because he's the only person who can hear them."
He said it's cool playing a part he knows so well. "When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading Dr. Seuss and, the more I knew about the musical, Horton was a character I could relate to," he explained. "I feel his pain when someone doesn't believe what you're saying. You try to prove it, and no one understands."
Combining the books, "Horton Hears a Who" and "Horton Sits on an Egg," Reid said a bird named Mayzie suckers Horton into sitting on her egg. Then hunters capture him and sell him to a circus. But a bird named Gertrude saves him. Later, Horton stands trial for talking to a dust speck and sitting on the egg.
"EVERYONE IN the cast is great to work with," said Reid. "I like performing, and being Horton is a bonus. The audience will love the show. It's loud and fun and has costumes with bright feathers and colorful boas."
His favorite number is "Notice Me, Horton." Gertrude sings to Horton, saying she loves him, but he never notices her. Meanwhile, Horton sings to the dust speck, saying how — before it came along — he was nothing. And Gertrude feels the same way about him.
Mike Deveney, 17, plays Jo-Jo, the mayor's son. "I'm a boy, 10, with a wild imagination," he said. "I see a lot of strange things. I'm a Who living in Whoville and always getting in trouble because of my crazy imagination." Deveney's favorite song is "Alone in the Universe," which he sings with Reid. "It sounds really nice when we sing our two parts together," he said.
Junior Faith McAuliffe portrays bird Gertrude McFuzz. "I'm plainer than Mayzie who's flashier and has more feathers," she said. "She's insecure because she only has a one-feather tail. She's sweet, but doesn't feel like she's good enough for Horton. They're next-door neighbors and she's been in love with him forever, but he's never noticed her. So she goes to extreme lengths; she even takes a pill to make her tail grow bigger."
But he doesn't really see Gertrude until she saves him and helps him save the Whos. McAuliffe says she, too, relates to her part. "Teen-age girls all have that one insecurity that really doesn't matter," she said. "All you need is the confidence to get past that. And I like it that Gertrude's the heroine, but not the stereotypical skinny blonde princess."
Senior Melissa Klein plays Mayzie La Bird. "She's a fun-loving, promiscuous bird in a sparkly, bright-fuchsia costume with a huge tail and lots of feathers," said Klein. "She's a lot of fun — so out there. Nobody gets in her way; the world bows down to her. I get to be flirtatious and strut around."
Narrating is Nick Napier, 17, as the Cat in the Hat. "He's the comic relief in tense moments, and he also plays different characters while wearing his hat," said Napier. "The cat finds a way to turn trouble into enjoyment."
GRANT OSVALDS, 16, is the mayor of Whoville. He's dealing with his imaginative son, plus a war on his planet, and takes his job seriously. "I have lots of funny lines, yelling at my son but missing him when he's gone, so I get to play both drama and comedy," said Osvalds. "The show brings out the child in all of us. It's really creative and ties all the Dr. Seuss books together wonderfully."
Anna Waigand, 17, is the mayor's wife, a quirky character who wants everything perfect and happy. "I want to have a good persona, but I get drunk in front of the townspeople," she said. Her favorite number is "Solla Sallew" — an imaginary place to "think of when you're sad so you know there's happiness out there." Seeing "Seussical" does the same thing, she said: "You come here, and it makes you feel happy."