‘Seussical Jr.’ is whimsical and wonderful

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By Sara Miller

“Seussical Jr.” is a celebration of all things whimsical, wonderful, mythical and musical. The show is based on the beloved works of Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. In celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday March 2, the cast at StageDoor Theatre will offer up a fantastical production of singing, dancing and merriment.

The story weaves elements from 15 of Dr. Seuss’ books and incorporates familiar characters such as Horton the Elephant, the Sour Kangaroo, Mayzie La Bird, Yurtle the Turtle and, of course, the mischievous Cat in the Hat. Beginning March 11, middle-school actors from throughout the mountain area will sing and dance their way through this enchanted tale filled with feathers and fish, elephants and eggs, all wrapped up in the magic of Dr. Seuss’ fictional worlds.

Based on the characters and stories of the renowned author, “Seussical” follows the adventures of lovable, dependable Horton the Elephant, innocent bluebird Gertrude McFuzz and tiny but big-thinking JoJo, the smallest child in Whoville, the smallest planet in the universe.

Horton (Chris Wilcox) is teased by the other jungle animals for believing in the unseen, the tiny town of Whoville, which can be found on a speck of dust. JoJo (double cast by Max Smaniotto and Ben Powell), the youngest Who child, is ostracized for the unpopular act of thinking — an activity not encouraged by the parents and teachers of Whoville. Everyone’s favorite, the Cat in the Hat (Laney Winkler), narrates the story that also includes self-centered Mayzie La Bird (Ellie Williamson) and Gertrude, the shy bird (Austin Johnson).

The sets bring to life a world of wonder and whimsy — you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the pages of a Dr. Seuss book with a kaleidoscope of colors and moveable platforms that create planes of visionary wonder.

The bright colors both onstage and in the costumes are the perfect complement to this whirling, twirling cast of 29 actors.

“The students have been doing an exceptional job,” says Nelson Conway, the show’s director. “This show has some pretty intense musical expectations for middle-schoolers. Every cast member has stepped up and is delivering quality singing and some convincing, quirky acting that fits these parts perfectly.”

The show’s crew has been working hard as well to deliver some stunning visual effects. The Fish Ballet, a song-and-dance number filled with fish swimming underwater, will be a visual delight with black lights that make the cast appear to glow while they dance in the dark depths of the ocean.

Numbers like this were choreographed by Jenna Hawkins, a professional dancer, actor and voice-over specialist who makes her home in Colorado.

There’ll be singing and dancing and colors galore. Elephants and fishies and birdies and more. The show’s good for all ages — young, old and between. You’ll feel like a kid again with every new scene. Opening night is drawing quite near. Get your tickets for “Seussical” — it’s the show of the year!

StageDoor is also offering seven different theater camps this summer. The camps are for grades K-12, and each four- to six-day camp covers a different area of the theater. Students will experience storytelling, dramatic fundamentals, body movement, show choir performances and more. More information is available at www.stagedoortheatre.org.

‘Suessical Jr.’

Presented by StageDoor Theatre March 11-19

Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.; Ssunday matinee (March 13) at 2 p.m.; Saturday matinee (March 19) at 2 p.m.

Tickets: adults, $12; children and seniors, $8. For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or visit www.stagedoortheatre.org.