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Seussical

   

Seussical™

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Co-Conceived by Eric Idle

Directed and choreographed by Linda Goodrich

Musical Direction by Cynthia Kortman Westphal

April 13 - 16, 2006

Power Center

UM School of Music

Musical Theatre Department

 

Overview     Press Release      Program      Photos

 

Overview

We have all the characters from Dr. Seuss,

They’re off of the page and out on the loose!

Horton the elephant, Gertrude the  bird!

And JoJo the thinker who thinks a new word!

The Wickersham Brothers, the Sour Kangaroo,

And all of the Who’s play a major role too!

And of course we can’t have a big show like that

Without our emcee – the Cat in the Hat!

From Whoville to the Circus to the Jungle of Nool,

Why we’ll even take you to McElligot’s Pool!

Fun for all ages and sizes and kinds

With big imaginations and open-upped minds!1

From the team who created Ragtime and Once on This Island comes a new and whimsical musical that weaves together Dr. Seuss’s most famous tales. The musical incorporates contemporary pop culture and social parody into breezy lyrics set to sweetly accessible melodies. Seuss’s stories have taught tolerance, peace, and the value of dignity to generations of kids — that “a person’s a person, no matter how small” — in fun and captivating ways. These teachings are at the heart of Seussical. Declared “clever, colorful, tuneful, and full of heart” by the Indianapolis Sun, Seussical is a delightful show for adults and children alike.

 

Press Release

THE WHIMSICAL STORIES OF DR. SEUSS HIT THE STAGE AS THE UM MUSICAL THEATRE

DEPARTMENT PRESENTS THE FAMILY-FRIENDLY MUSICAL SEUSSICAL

Ann Arbor – The UM Musical Theatre Department closes out the School of Music mainstage season with Seussical, a whimsical musical that weaves together Dr. Seuss’s most famous tales. Featuring breezy lyrics set to sweetly accessible melodies, Seussical plays at the Power Center for the Performing Arts on April 13 at 7:30PM, April 14 & 15 at 8PM, and April 16 at 2PM (Easter Sunday). Musical Theatre Department Associate Professor Linda Goodrich directs and choreographs the show after doing the same at the Music Theatre of Wichita last summer.

   The works of Dr. Seuss, the pseudonym of Theodore Seuss Geisel, have delighted children and adults alike since they first appeared in 1937 with And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. The distinctive rhythms of the works along with the illustrations encouraged reading – a particular intent of Seuss. Seuss’s stories taught tolerance, peace, and the value of dignity to generations of kids - “a person’s a person, no matter how small.” In all Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books, which had been translated into more than 15 languages with over 200 million copies sold. His works have provided the source for eleven children’s television specials and several feature-length motion pictures. His honors included two Academy awards, two Emmy awards, a Peabody award and the Pulitzer Prize. Geisel died in September 1991.

   Following their success with Ragtime, composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens approached Audrey Geisel, Seuss’s widow, with the idea of a musical based on Seuss’s works. Flaherty and Ahrens incorporated elements of 20 Seuss classics, including Horton Hears a Who, Horton Hatches the Egg, Gertrude McFuzz, The Butter Battle Book, If I Ran the Circus, McElligott's Pool, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, and The Cat in the Hat. The main story involves Horton the Elephant's efforts to save his friend Jojo and the other inhabitants on Who, even though everyone else in the Jungle of Nool thinks Horton is the "Biggest Blame Fool" for believing in people who live on a small speck of dust. But Horton is a determined, loyal, and faithful friend who fights for what he knows to be true. The show had its first reading in New York in May of 1999, and a workshop mounted in Toronto later that year created a positive buzz around the show. However, when Seussical opened on Broadway on November 30, 2000, to mixed reviews it closed after only 198 performances.

   Subsequent national tours of Seussical offered the writers opportunities to rework and reexamine the show in order to revive elements lost in its transition from small workshop to large-scale Broadway production. The musical has since gained a national following. “In large part, Seussical’s newfound success has happened because we seized the opportunity to revisit it,” states lyricist Lynn Ahrens. “We were determined to try to reclaim what had been lost: a beautiful show with tremendous potential — potential unrecognized in its initial Broadway production. But, in the end, what has really changed most about Seussical is not the writing but the way in which the show has come to be produced and perceived. Seussical has arrived high on the list of stock, amateur and regional productions, places with small budgets and big imaginations. Like our ebullient Cat in the Hat, Seussical has already had nine lives.”

   Guest child actor Quentin Craig, who played the role of JoJo in Goodrich’s production of Seussical at the Music Theatre of Wichita last summer, will reprise the role at UM. In an ironic twist, UM musical theatre major Andrew Keenan-Bolger, who played the role of JoJo on Broadway, is cast as the Cat in the Hat. In addition to other students from the School of Music, the cast also features a number of children from the Ann Arbor community: Charles Basset-Kennedy, Maya Basset-Kennedy, Olivia Basset-Kennedy, Ariel DeYoung, Tessa Elliott, Annika Kendall, Oliver Kendall, Sophie Kendall, Nyeli Kratz, Jacob Liebowitz, Erika Ratliff, and Garrett Weng

   The Musical Theatre Department has much artistic collaboration with Music Theatre of Wichita (MTW). MTW provides the set and properties for Seussical, designed by J Branson whose designs were last seen at UM in Guys and Dolls. David Neville, whose work was last seen at UM in Jesus Christ Superstar and who worked with Goodrich on the production of Seussical at MTW, designs lights. George Bacon, costume designer for the MTW production and associate costume shop manager for University Productions, adds costumes for two new cast members and rebuilds several costumes to work with the Michigan casting. Joining Goodrich on the Michigan artistic team are Cynthia Kortman Westphal and Brian Lewis as co-musical directors with Brian Lewis conducting. Westphal, who was pregnant, finished a session of coaching on March 22 and went straight to the hospital for the birth of her first child.

 

Program

Click here to view the program from Seussical.

 

Photos

cast
Kendal sparks and andrew keenan-bolger
Cast
Kendal Sparks and Andrew Keenan-Bolger
Kendal sparks
Ricki foss
Kendal Sparks
Ricki Foss
cast
casst
Kendal Sparks
Cast
cast
Quintan Craig and andrew keenan-bolger
Peter Gosik

Quintan Craig and Andrew Keenan-Bolger

Alex brummel
kendal Sparks
Alex Brumel

Kendal Sparks

Quintan craig
ricki foss
Quintan Craig
Ricki Foss
cast
cast
Cast

Cast

David Hull, Jake Wilson and Amos Wolff
raena j white
David Hull, Jake Wilson and Amos Wolff
Raena J White
cast
andrew keenan-bolger
cast

Andrew Keenan-Bolger

ricki foss and kendal sparks
Anne Horak
Ricki Foss and Kendal Sparks
Anne Horak
andrew keenan-bolger
cast
Andrew Keenan-Bolger
Cast
andrew keenan-bolger
anne horak and andrew keenan-bolger
Andrew Keenan-Bolger
Anne Horak and Andrew Keenan-Bolger
kendal sparks
cast
Kendal Sparks

Cast

andrew keenan-bolger and quintan craig
micahel mahoney, quintan craig and kristin shields
Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Quintan Craig
Michael Mahoney, Quintan Craig and Kristin Shields
raena j white
cast
Raena J White
Cast
kendal sparks and ricki foss
cast
Kendal Sparks and Ricki Foss
Cast

 

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower

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