Seussical | The Muny

Seuss 75This show is the most infectious children’s musical I have ever seen on stage, more compelling I’d argue than most of their Disney selections, like “Tarzan.”

Seuss 500

“When your thinks have run dry,

In the blink of an eye

There’s another think there!

If you open your mind,

Oh, the thinks you will find

Lining up to get loose!

Oh, the thinks you can think

When you think about Seuss!”

Theodor Seuss Geisel, affectionately Dr. Seuss, put to words some of the zaniest “thinks” to ever enter the world of children’s literature. “Seussical,” The Muny’s fifth show of the season, brings our favorite Seuss characters and stories together into one rhyme-packed musical adventure.

The Muny stage has been transformed into a cozy book lover’s dream, with Seuss titles towering into the rafters. Center stage is an equally large rotating book platform utilized throughout the show. On stage left and right there are open books that serve as seating for an audience of Muny kids who hang onto every word of the evening’s narrator, Cat in the Hat (John Tartaglia).

Cat is telling the story of Horton the Elephant (Stephen Wallem) to Jojo (Abigail Isom). In true Cat fashion, he throws Jojo into the story herself, casting her as daughter of the mayor of Whoville (Gary Glasgow) and his wife Mrs. Mayor (April Strelinger). Whoville is the tiniest planet in the sky, and the wind has blown them onto a pink clover. The mayor and his wife are a nervous bunch and fear war in their little city. They don’t have patience for Jojo’s “thinks,” which tend to get her into trouble, so they send her off to the army, which is under the leadership of General Genghis Kahn Schmitz (James Anthony). They chant “we don’t like green eggs and ham!” while they march, and the general fears people who butter their toast; it’s quite fun!

Luckily, there is hope for the tiny people of Whoville when their calls for help are heard by Horton the Elephant, who selflessly is willing to do anything he can to protect the town on the clover. His assertion “a person’s a person no matter how small” is stated and sang about throughout the show (in heartwarming fashion), but he receives nothing but flak from the other animals of the show, including Sour Kangaroo (Liz Mikel) and the Wickersham monkey brothers (Raymond J. Lee, Blakely Slaybaugh, Omari Tau). They think he’s out of his mind and even threaten to boil his precious clover! He does have one fan, though, and that is Gertrude McFuzz (Kristen Wyatt), who is herself a bit unusual as a measly one-feathered bird.  

The Cat continuously breaks the fourth wall. His interactions with the audience are hilarious and one of many factors that make this show so kid-friendly! He mocks Oprah at one point and takes bids from audience members during an impromptu elephant auction. Beach balls and a powerful watergun may even make an appearance!

This show is the most infectious children’s musical I have ever seen on stage, more compelling I’d argue than most of their Disney selections, like “Tarzan.” Adults will be as mesmerized as the kids, as there is something for everyone in Horton’s journey. It is a show about dedication (“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent!”), imagination, gratefulness, inclusion, and honesty, all in pure Seuss fashion. | Megan Washausen

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