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‘Seussical the Musical’

By Heidi Sutton

Theodor Seuss Geisel often said, “You have ‘em; I’ll amuse ‘em.” And for over 80 years the man who never had children of his own has been entertaining millions of boys and girls with his whimsical books filled with vivid illustrations and iconic characters like the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch.

‘The cast of ‘Seussical The Musical’ after last Saturday’s performance.

Now the genius that is Dr. Seuss is celebrated on the John W. Engeman’s stage in “Seussical The Musical.” With book, music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Michael Flaherty, the show incorporates the stories from “Horton Hears a Who,” “Horton Hatches the Egg,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “Miss Gertrude McFuzz” and others into a fun, whimsical and colorful adventure the entire family will enjoy. The musical runs through March 3.

Let me just say that this show is so incredible I had to look around the theater several times to make sure I wasn’t watching it on Broadway. Directed and choreographed by Marquez Stewart, a cast of seasoned actors guide the audience in perfect rhyme on a high-energy musical journey from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

The Cat in the Hat (Jae Hughes), who  serves as narrator, introduces us to Horton the Elephant (Evan Schultz) who finds a speck of dust on a clover flower containing the town of Whoville. While he’s busy trying to help the littlest Who, Jojo (Makayla Connolly), the loyal pachyderm is tricked into sitting on Mayzie La Bird’s (Marielle Greguski) egg, is captured by hunters and sold to the circus. When he is finally rescued by Gertrude the girl-bird (Emily Brennan), he is put on trial by Sour Kangaroo (Suzanne Mason) for “sitting on an egg and talking to a speck.” Will he ever catch a break?

Stewart knows her target audience well and keeps them on the edge of their seats. The dance numbers are exciting with special props; actors walk, run and dance through the theater; and audience participation is encouraged as Horton and Mayzie’s egg are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

All of the songs are wonderful, from the fun intro “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!” to the catchy “Horton Hears a Who” (where a person’s a person no matter how small),  the sweet “Notice Me Horton” and my favorite, “It’s Possible.” The finale “Green Eggs and Ham” ends the show on a high note. Costumes designed by Daniel Rodriguez and the cartoony sets look as if they’ve jumped right off the pages of “Horton Hears a Who.”

It has been said that Dr. Seuss’ books are special because they sing. “Seussical The Musical’s” current production at the Engeman brings that adage to the next level. Put this on your list of “not to be missed.”

Meet the cast in the lobby after the show for pictures and autographs. An autograph page is located toward the back of the program.

Check out this video from the show! 

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport will present “Seussical The Musical” through March 3.  Children’s Theater continues with “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure” from March 23 to April 28. All seats are $15. For more information, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Photos courtesy of the Engeman Theater

 

Photo courtesy of Engeman Theater

Lifting Spirits

On Aug. 15, actors and staff from the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport presented a fully staged production of the Broadway musical “Seussical the Musical” for over 100 patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

The production, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union and Northwell Health, took place in the hospital’s lobby, which had been transformed into an intimate theater space, complete with a stage, lighting, professional sound and full costumes. An enthusiast audience of young patients, parents and hospital staff attended the production, which was also broadcast to televisions in all of the center’s in-patient bedrooms.

“On behalf of all of our young patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center and the people who love them, we are once again delighted to welcome the very talented cast who brought us ‘Seussical the Musical,’” said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health. “Being in the hospital can be a very lonely experience for children, especially in the summer because of all the activities they’re missing. Thanks to the dedicated and generous troupe at the John W. Engeman Theater, we’re able to brighten their spirits.”

Before the performance began, each patient in the audience was given a “Seussical” T-shirt and a colorful program with Dr. Seuss-themed activities. When the show ended, audience members were able to meet the cast, take photos and have their playbills autographed by the actors.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring ‘Seussical the Musical’ once again to CCMC. It is an opportunity for us to lighten the load that the patients and families are carrying with a night of joy,” said John W. Engeman Theater owner Kevin O’Neill. “We are very appreciative of the Bethpage Federal Credit Union and Northwell Health sponsorships that help make this wonderful evening possible.”