I’ll be honest, I’m not an avid play or musical viewer.
So, when I had the opportunity to see Rogers Drama’s production of “Seussical: The Musical” last Thursday night, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
What I didn’t expect, however, was to be as thoroughly and completely entertained as I was for nearly two hours.
The Seussical is a love letter to all things Dr. Seuss, particularly Horton Hears a Who, among with other well known Seuss tales. Along the way, audience members meet a wide variety of characters who contribute to, in the words of director Paul Hill, “a central theme of acceptance”.
What got my attention right from the get-go was when after a short few lines by talented young actor Xarik Bender, was how the stage curtains opened to reveal an impressive, massive, multi-leveled stage design filled to the brim with characters in every corner.
There was so much going on in that very first rendition of the pivotal song, “Oh The Thinks You Can Think”, which one could easily find themselves humming along to days after the show, that as a viewer you get to decide which section, which characters, and which part of the big moving puzzle you were going to watch.
From a logistical and practical standpoint, it’s undeniably impressive.
This logistical feat extended to beyond center stage as well as the entire show is accompanied by a live orchestra, conducted by Stephen Pickard.
The music throughout was practically flawless. Working in tandem with the vocalists, the music and singing itself was perhaps one of the most engaging aspects of the performance.
But what may be even more impressive, and was a recurring theme throughout the evening, was how every person on that stage was incredibly believable in their role, which made the audience even more immersed in the world unfolding on stage.
There’s often times when watching professional movies or TV that you can spot out a specific character and performance and say, “Yeah, that person is not meant for that role”. Or, “That person is overacting” or “that person is underacting”.
I can say wholeheartedly, not once did I get that impression from any cast member in Seussical.
Every person on the stage looked like they wanted to be there and that they had embodied their character one-hundred-percent, no matter how big or small the part was or how much contributed to the overall plot.
The cast appeared to be a team that had been through many, many practices with everybody buying into their role to accomplish the common goal of creating an entertaining performance.
Acting wise, Benjamin Wheat who plays The Cat in the Hat, was one of, if not the lead character throughout the show and was a strong catalyst for the audience to latch on to. His impressive vocals and perfectly timed joke delivery made him one of the most entertaining characters to watch.
Another fun character to watch was Noelle White as Gertrude McFuzz who got many funny scenes and showed off some real talent vocally. Her character and the way she brought that character to life was for many a highlight.
Cameron Daves as one of the Wickersham Brothers killed his role with unparalleled stage presence and an impressive accordion solo.
Off the stage, the entrance to the PAC and lobby were totally decorated and put the audience into the world of Seuss before the show even started, a true testament to the length and attention to detail that went into the production.
Being opening night, there wasn’t a complete lack of blunders. Like for instance, an on stage piano built into the set came down at one point but it was quickly and discreetly repaired by a cast member on stage, causing little to no attention in the process.
I recommend that if you can, attend Seussical. The next show times are this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 PM in the Rogers PAC.
The dedication and pride with all those involved in the production is clearly visible and even if you’re like me and plays aren’t usually your forte, the cast provide a memorable show that will transport you to another world.