Youth Production of “Seussical” Was SensationalMar 10, 2016 11:08AM ● By Bryan Scott
By Mylinda LeGrande | [email protected]
West Jordan - The “B” cast of the South Valley Youth Theater performed “Seussical the Musical” in the auditorium at the Viridian West Jordan Library on Feb. 8. It is a family-themed musical about trust, friendship and love, with characters taken from Dr. Seuss’ most famous books.
Highlighted in this performance were the Cat in the Hat (Patrick H.), Horton the Elephant and Grinch (Bryce S. and Nic H.), Gertrude McFuzz, (Audrey C. and Emma O.), Lazy Mayzie (Kate G. and Abigail P.), Sour Kangaroo (Karlee C. and Sammie C.), Young Kangaroo (Miriam I. and Addison F.), Mr. Mayor (Braeden L. and Brandon W.), Mrs. Mayor (Avery J. and Mackenna S.) and JoJo (Emma F. and Ryder M.).
The show begins with cat in the Jungle of Nool, where he meets Horton. This sensitive and observant elephant discovers a speck of dust containing Whoville. He meets the child, JoJo, who has been sent to military school for having too many “thinks.”
Horton decides he must protect Whoville, while protecting an abandoned egg left to his care by Mayzie the bird. Horton tells other animals of the existence of the Whos, but he is made fun of and put on trial for insanity. Gertrude, his loyal friend, believes him. They fall in love and band together to save the Whos, free Horton and restore peace and unity to the jungle.
The director of this show, Suzanne Buckmiller, was found getting around that night with a scooter and a cast on her leg. She explained how she fell off a platform the week previously during a performance and broke her leg. Despite her injury, she remained positive and upbeat about the group she directed.
“The best thing about this theater is that we are so inclusive. We have a couple of people in the cast who have some learning disabilities and we work with them. Tonight we have an interpreter for the deaf community as well. We go above and beyond to work with any person with a disability. With this cast, the leads work so hard and we are proud of them,” she said.
Live music, provided by the West Jordan Symphony accompanied the actors, bringing authenticity to this performance. Parent Julia Thomas described her son’s experience in the show.
“My son [Hunter] has loved it. He’s done a few plays now. He loves the friends and interaction with other kids his age and he loves acting. I like that this group has the live orchestra; it makes for a realistic theater performance. They work with the actors both providing cues and taking cues from them,” she said.
The first act, “It’s Possible,” was highlighted by umbrellas and fish props carried on sticks by cast members. Patrick H., as Cat in the Hat, was well cast with his good looks and charming personification. His outfit consisted of a red blazer, black pants, a big red bowtie and iconic, red-striped top hat. He charmed the audience when he opened Act II as the guest conductor for the live band. He danced and swayed while waving his arms dramatically as he twirled his cane like a baton.
Act II “Mayzie in Palm Beach,” featured Mayzie reclining in a lawn chair, singing. The Cat in the Hat wore a snorkel mask and flippers, fanning her dramatically with a palm leaf. Mayzie (Abigail P.) had a great musky-sounding voice. Her costume consisted of a flashy red, ruffled night-club style dress.
“Alone in the Universe” was performed by Horton (Bryce S.) on a darkened stage, which almost lulled the audience to sleep with the pretty and tranquil song. It provided dark, moody music on the dark stage while the cast wore bright LED lights on their fingertips, moving the lights with the music. This spectacle provided magic and energy to the second act.
This portion of the play progressed at a much slower pace than the first half, but eventually built up to more conflict and the eventual resolution of the story. While scenery was sparse, creative props, colorful costumes and crazy hair and costumes provided extra color.
A wide spectrum of singing and acting abilities provided variety for this show.
“This group has done a really good job of bringing together kids with different acting levels and making their experience fit their part. This is my daughter’s first production. She was nervous to give it a try. They were able to find a part that fit her personality just perfect. She has had a ton of fun,” Jody Niko said.