Under his renowned pseudonym, Theodore Giesel engineered the unprecedentedly zany yet immortally endearing mythos of Seuss. Infused with vivid color and imaginative zoological reimaginations, where felines flaunt headwear and pachyderms act as both protector of the tiny and incubator of orphaned eggs, the works of Dr. Seuss are among the most beloved pieces of children's literature of all time. With a musical that brings these colorful creatures to stage, Oakcrest School presented their delightful and vivacious take on "Seussical the Musical."
Despite its initial failure on Broadway in 2000, closing after only 198 performances, "Seussical" has gone on to be one of the most beloved and commonly performed musicals in high schools and community theaters. Written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, "Seussical," follows Jojo, a young who is struggling to control his wild "thinks," and Horton, a benevolent Elephant tasked with protecting Whoville (which just happens to be situated upon a dust speck resting on a clover). The show also features references to many other Dr. Seuss stories, including "The Butter Side Battle," "Oh The Thinks You Can Think," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and "McElligot's Pool."
Acting as the show’s effervescent catalyst and narrator, Danielle Dar Juan captured the essence of the suave and mischievous Cat in the Hat with an impish vaudevillian twist. Dar Juan was liable to steal scenes with her impeccable comedic timing, coupled with an expressive and fluid physicality. In addition to her madcap antics, Dar Juan danced with apparent skill, aptly managing segments of solo song, and cleverly interacted with the audience. Sophie Buono, as Horton the Elephant, sang out her difficultly low part, powerfully emoting while performing in a low, tenor range.
Carolyn Lucas set the audiences hearts a flutter as the insecure bird desperately vying for Horton’s affection. Lucas’s quirky cuteness allowed for an extremely relatable and likable character, reflected in her awkward flappings and charming devotion to her estranged elephant. With no trouble simultaneously performing challenging dance and song, Lucas’ voice was perfectly pitched, possessing a tone fitting for her enchanting and adorable characterization. Mr. Mayor, played by Jamie Rule, wholly took on her role, with a proper posture and vocal tone for the confident political leader while portraying an actively caring parent. Aiding the Cat in her hijinks were Thing One and Thing Two, played by Bonnie Newton and Sophie Frelk, entertained with their uproarious and childlike tomfoolery, squirting the audience with water guns and proudly waving a bubble machine in the background, among numerous other shenanigans.
Oakcrest’s makeup crew did a commendable job at duly representing the outlandish illustrations of Seuss upon the stage. With varying degrees of difficulty, from straight makeup to garish character makeup, each design was approached with thorough creativity and thought. With exaggerated blush on the whos, subtle yet effective feline makeup on the Cat, and gaudy, bright colorations on all of the birds, complete with absurdly large fake eyelashes, the makeup crew artistically enhanced the world of "Seussical." Oakcrest’s production also featured and managed many bizarre and larger-than-life props, such as oversized eggs and pieces of paper, all with a suiting degree of silliness.
With remarkable vocals, bursting energy, and hilarious capers by a childhood icon, Oakcrest’s "Seussical the Musical" provided an entertaining look into the brilliant mind of the Doctor himself, encouraging all thinkers who think to think more than ever before.