By Holly Jones
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza of “Seussical the Musical” is kicking off the Sooner Theatre’s summer theater series this month with eight performances.
A cast of 63 third to seventh grade students are taking on the shortened TYA edition of this colorfully imaginative tale to bring to life favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination — Jojo.
“We want the audience to feel the energy the students bring, to enjoy the fun songs of the beloved tales that we have all grown up with,” Co-Camp Director Melany Pattison said. “The students get to be a character that is totally unusual and quirky. The music is challenging and catchy and at times funky. It is a non-stop show with basically all singing and dancing and very little dialogue.”
The story centers around Horton the Elephant, who finds himself faced with a double challenge — not only must he protect his tiny friend Jojo (and all the invisible Whos) from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird.
Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him, the only one who recognizes “his kind and his powerful heart.” Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant, in a story that makes you laugh and cry.
All cast members auditioned for and were selected to perform in the theater’s summer production camp. Cast members are primarily from the south metro, including Oklahoma City, Moore and Norman.
“‘Seussical the Musical,’ was a great choice for us. Children rarely do the show because it is a challenge, but we have such talented students that are involved with our studio program, we knew we had all of the characters covered,” Pattison said.
Sooner Theatre Executive Director Jennifer Baker agreed.
“The pacing is fast and these campers are being troupers about tackling the advanced material,” Baker said. “And, because it is the familiar and quirky works of Dr. Seuss, they are having a blast and so will our audiences.”
Jacob Livesay, Moore seventh grader performing as the Cat in the Hat, said kids of any age will enjoy seeing these classic Dr. Seuss stories played out on stage.
For more information about Sooner Theatre visit soonertheatre.com.
Performances of “Seussical the Musical” are 7:30 June 26, 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 27-29 and 2 p.m. June 30.
Tickets are $10. Group rates are available for 10 or more to any one performance. Tickets can be purchased online at soonertheatre.com, by phone at 405-321-9600 or at the Sooner Theatre box office, 101 E. Main St., 10 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. Tuesday–Friday.
Of special note: The Sooner Theatre is holding a book drive during the shows that will support Moore Books for Moore Kids. All attendees are encouraged to bring any new or gently used books to the show to be donated to Moore Public Schools to help teachers replenish classroom libraries.
The Cat in the Hat: Jacob Livesay+, Alex Irwin*
Horton The Elephant: Jack Adams
JoJo/The Boy (or Girl): Nathan King+, Avery Robertson*
Gertrude McFuzz: Ashlea Stewart+, Addison Baker*
Mr. Mayor: Saif Salim
Mrs. Mayor: Emma Adams+, Caytie Ross*
Mayzie La Bird: Abby Hesselroth+, Kaylee Boyer*
Sour Kangaroo: Bailey Churchill+, Claire LaReau*
The Bird Girls: Isabella Arrowood, Hannah Beeson, Mollie Benn, Katie Coggins, Addison Horn, Reagan Massay, Halle McCormick, Sarah Munsell, Isabelle Pence, Caeli Rice
The Wickershams: Aubrey Baker, Lola Bruner, Maddie McKown, Molly Moore, Rachel Tipton, Corban Vincent, Connor Willis
Who Dancers: Lauren Bell, London Classen, Carsen Coggins, Kaitlyn Davis, Kate Wenger
Whos: Reece Carmen, Carys Crawford, Abby Frakes, Rachael Jewell, Zoe Porch, Bella Sanders, Andrew Schoelen, Cooper Soto, Maddie Southern, Jordan Whitmer
Jungle Citizens: Brooke Bauman, Brooks Carmen, Raegan Cole, Addyson Fox, Mia Frisby, Jennie Higdon, Alyssa Killingsworth, MaKenna Langdon, Logan Longacre, Addlynn Maack, Dylan Mattingly, Shelby Pippins, Harrison Roth, Jackson Roth, Hayley Steele, Eleanor Totten
+Opening Cast: Performs 7:30 p.m. June 26, 2 p.m. June 27, 7:30 p.m. June 28 and 2 p.m. June 29.
*Closing Cast: Performs 7:30 p.m. June 27, 2 p.m. June 28, 7:30 p.m. June 29 and 2 p.m. June 30.