With characters straight out of childhood, “Seussical the Musical” is onstage this weekend at Archbold High School and will hold audiences of all ages captive, Director Chelsey Smith said.
Connecting the stories of “Horton Hears a Who,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” and other tales by beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, “Seussical” is full of music and color and dancing, Smith said.
Featuring a cast of about 35, the AHS production will be shown Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 14, at 2:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium at 600 Lafayette St. General admission is $10; Gold Star seating in the front row is $12.
This is the second AHS production for Smith. She joined the faculty this school year as director of chorale activities, and also oversaw the fall drama, “Poe: Dreams of Madness.” She’s being assisted by Courtney Froehlich, Caleb Wyse, and Beth Voll.
The approximately 1-hour, 45 minute Tony Award-winning musical made its Broadway debut in November 2000, and continued for 197 performances. A national tour was held in 2002.
Dr. Seuss, the pseudonym of Theodor Geisel, wrote and illustrated more than 60 books before he died in 1991 at age 87, including 44 children’s best sellers. His first book as Dr. Seuss, “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street,” was published in 1937.
Smith said “Seussical,” in rehearsal since January, is an extravaganva of color in the sets, the costumes, and the lighting, “There’s color everywhere,” she said. “I’m really excited to put on my first musical production at Archbold High School.”
Moreso than other musicals AHS has brought to the stage, “Seussical” is laden with music, singing, and dancing, Smith said.
And choosing the right performers was easy, she said. “It wasn’t hard to cast this show at all. The characters just exude out of their own personalities. The kids I direct are doing a fantastic job. It just seemed like the show for them.”
Sophomore Will Nofziger, who plays the lead character, Jojo, was perfect for the role, Smith said. “He’s mischievous, always curious, asking questions, and that’s the same way the character is,” she said.
She cast senior Jeremiah Hartman as Horton the elephant “because he’s almost like a Teddy bear. He cares about everybody, and he always has a smile, and that’s how I imagined Horton to be.”
The role of The Cat in the Hat went to senior Gabby Cox. Smith said Cox “has a great stage presence, and she is able to light up a scene just with her acting abilities. She kind of brings the story to life.”
Other cast members include Kate Nofziger as Gertrude McFuzz, Erin Reichert as Mayzie LaBird, and Karina Tirado-Cruz as Sour Kangeroo.
All of the cast members bring a special attitude to “Seussical,” Smith said, adding, “With any challenge we’ve given them, they taken it head on.”
Having grown up with Dr. Seuss stories, adults will connect with the musical as well, Smith said.
“It’s a really great family-friendly show. I think the audience is going to love it,” she said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.