NORMAN — On the 27 of April, on OU’s big stage, Dr. Seuss characters will jump off of the page. They’ll sing and they’ll dance, everything under the sun. With Seussical the Musical, it’ll all be great fun.
Students at the University of Oklahoma School of Musical Theatre are bringing the musical, based on the famous poet’s books, to life with a fun-filled adventurous story of friendship that is sure to please young and old alike.
Lyn Cramer, director, said the 17-person cast will be doing a fast-paced, high-energy Theater for Young Audiences version of the production.
“This is tight as a drum. This sucker flies. It comes out of the shoot like a rocket, and for 75 minutes it just goes like this,” she said, as she motioned her hand flying upwards. “And every piece of fabulous music was left in.”
The production takes it’s inspiration from the original Broadway production — packed full of jokes and music — and overflowing with imaginative, colorful costumes and sets, but Cramer said the cast and crew wanted the production to be their own.
Though the play is obviously designed for children, Cramer created a visually interesting show for adults, complete with a few character costumes that reference the reality TV show “The Jersey Shore” — think over-the-top animal prints.
“There’s a lot of adult-themed jokes in the show. A lot,” she said, adding that they’re still kid-friendly. “But we really have geared it for kids.”
Costume Designer Lloyd Cracknell said he designed the costumes — from the Cat in the Hat to the Grinch — to both fit in with convention and push boundaries. Though all characters are recognizable, like the bird girls wearing lots of feathers, their stylized as showgirls to add a comedic, adult twist.
The costumes were critical, he said, as part of the story-telling process of Seussical and add to the whimsy of the production.
“I think the goal for that really is for them to enjoy the spectacle and sometimes see childhood fantasies come true,” he said. “They want to see the bird girls behave a certain way, they want to see the monkeys behave a certain way, they want to see Horton (the elephant) — so I just hope they fall in love with the characters and really enjoy it. Its really about entertainment. It’s a fun piece, it’s a family piece.”
Students will sing the melodic, poppy tunes to a prerecorded CD, Music Director Vince Leseney said, and will build off of the “Seussy,” imaginative environment already created by costumers and set designers.
With all the elements combined — acting, singing, costumes, set and lighting — Leseney said the production brings home classic Seuss morals like “a person’s a person no matter how small.”
“People should come to see it because it’s uplifting and it’s happy,” he said. “I think a lot of times people kind of dwell on the bad things in life and the problems that they have, and it’s nice to escape and just go to Whoville for an hour and a half and be entertained.”
Kate Dinsmore, musical theater senior, who plays Sour Kangaroo — a rocker version complete with pink hair and leather pants — said the collaboration of talent created an upbeat, creative atmosphere that’s reflected in their performances.
“Kids are going to love it regardless because it’s a cartoon. But I think adults really will kind of go back to their childhood from when they read the books,” she said. “It really is a youthful, fun show but it’s still funny for adults as well.”
No matter what size of person you are, Cracknell said this feel-good-show is a must.
“Different shows do different things for people,” he said. “This show should have the audience leaving with a smile on their face.”
The production staff includes Music Director Vince Leseney, Scenic Designer Andrea Pratt, Costume Designer Lloyd Cracknell, Lighting Designer Curtis Marxen, Stage Manager David Pilchman, Technical Director Scott Henkels, Production Manager Kasey Allee-Foreman, and University Theatre Producer Rich Taylor.
The cast is comprised of OU students: Claire Avakian, Matthew Borchers, Alexis Bruza, Audra Bryant, Kate Dinsmore, Jamie Goldman, Daniel Horn, Ethan Kahn, Andrew Koslow, Brooke Lacy, Sophie Menas, Sean McGee, Jamard Richardson, Chelsea Stavis, Brett Uram, and Alie Walsh. Jojo is played by Campbell Walker Fields, a fifth grader at Sequoyah Elementary in Oklahoma City.
If you go
What: Seussical the Musical
Where: Rupel J. Jones Theatre in the Fine Arts Center, 563 Elm Ave.
When: 8 p.m. April 27, 28 and May 3-5. 3 p.m. April 29 and May 6
Cost: $15 students with ID, $25 for senior/OU faculty and staff/military, $30. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Fine Arts College Ticket Service at 405-325-4101, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The box office is located in the Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd. For accommodations on the basis of a disability call 405-325-4101.