In the winter of 2006, the Yorktown Theatre Department began one of its most ambitious projects to date: the production of its spring show, “Seussical: The Musical.” Combining elements of acting, singing and dance, it is director Carol Cadby’s goal to bring before the audience the world of Dr. Seuss, a world where “Anything’s Possible.”
The story centers on JoJo, a young boy who is picked out of the audience by the mischievous Cat in the Hat. With JoJo by his side, the Cat in the Hat single-handedly creates the world of Dr. Seuss, taking the characters of Horton the Elephant, Mayzie La Bird, and many other classic characters to life, from the page to the stage.
The Cat in the Hat first takes JoJo to the Jungle of Nool. Here we find the lonely elephant Horton, talking to a speck of dust. The other jungle citizens, led by the Sour Kangaroo, quickly label Horton as the “Biggest Blame Fool” for his outlandish behavior. We soon then learn that on this speck of dust lives the world of the Whos, “the tiniest planet in the sky.”
Although their planet may be small, the troubles facing the Whos have never been larger: their planet has been floating aimlessly through the air and the nation is now on the brink of war. Answering the Whos’ cries of desperation, Horton steps in to protect them from any future danger by placing their miniscule world on a clover. However, protecting the Whos proves to be easier said than done, and Horton struggles to keep the delicate clover from the Jungle’s more boisterous citizens, including the rowdy Wickersham Brothers and flirtatious Bird Girls.
It’s here where things start going really wrong: Horton loses the clover which shelters Whoville, and to make matters worse, is then put on trial in the Jungle of Nool for the criminally insane act of talking to inhabitants of that speck of dust. The fate of Horton and the Whos now is squarely on the shoulders of JoJo, who must prove to the entire jungle that there is actually a world of Whos living on this speck of dust in the show’s climactic ending.
The choice of “Seussical” for Yorktown’s Cappies show came as a surprising choice for those used to Cadby’s alternative, less-mainstream play selection. Despite the change of pace, Cadby’s dedication to educational theatre is still apparent. Students were cast in the general company after initial auditions and assigned parts of the show to block. “This allows the students to have an active role in the production of the show while at the same time learning the importance of ensemble,” Cadby said. Cadby then took these ideas, mixed in her own vision, and be basic framework of the show was complete.
When asked to comment on her favorite part of “Seussical,” student director Ginny Mohler said it was the overall theme of the story that she enjoyed most. “‘Seussical’ is a story which demonstrates the massive strength of the imagination. No matter what age you are, the power of imagination is what keeps us in touch with our inner child and it is this inner child that Dr. Seuss sought to bring out in each of his stories,” she remarked.
With dazzling dance numbers, outrageous characters, and whimsical sets, the inner child is set to come out in everyone in attendance of Yorktown’s production of “Seussical: The Musical.”