Bethlehem Press

Thursday, June 21, 2018

THEATER REVIEW 'Seussical' a delight for all

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by REBEKAH HAWK Special to The Press in Focus

The cast of "Seussical, the Dr. Seuss Musical!," performs with great enthusiasm in a show that's a delight for children and adults alike.

"Seussical" continues through July 27, Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, as part of the 33rd season of Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

With the singing, dancing and rhyming, it's almost as if Dr. Seuss directed the play himself. In fact, the play was directed by Benjamin Shaw.

"Seussical" has music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, who also wrote the book. It's based on the works of Dr. Seuss.

The Cat in the Hat (Luke Taylor) establishes the theme throughout the musical.

The choreography by Nina Pongratz immediately grabs your attention. Music director David Dabbon and the talented cast brings such songs as "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think," "Horton Hears a Who" and "Green Eggs and Ham" to life.

Scenic designer Colin McGurk made a wise decision in keeping the background plain so as to bring out the rambunctious cast dressed in bright, exuberant clothing which costume designer Lex Gurst chose.

When Horton, the shy, insecure elephant played by James Patefield, discovers a small world existing on a speck of dust that happened to land on a clover, he makes it his responsibility to protect the small Whoville society. "A person's a person, no matter how small," says Horton.

JoJo, a little boy, played by Lana Gallo, is the only one who can hear Horton. Both characters are ridiculed by their peers for believing what they know to be true. Horton describes it best when he says, "Let them all laugh for I have found something they'll never find."

Throughout the performance, the cast switches back and forth from the jungle scene, where Horton lives with the other animals, to Whoville.

The musical keeps the story moving by adding different plot lines, including how Gertrude (Lily Fryburg) wishes more than anything to be like the other birds.

The conceited Bird Girls are played by Emily Paley, Colette Campbell and Jamie Leigh Lepper.

Other characters include Mayor (Josh Shapiro) and Mrs. Mayor (Collette Campbell).

Another flamboyant character, the Sour Kangaroo (William Raynor), brings humor to every scene he's in.

The Wickersham Brothers are Adrian Graham-Chesnavage, Josh Shapiro and Will Kellogg.

Mayzie is played by Morgan Reilly.

Any child will be captivated by "Seussical" and take away some important lessons, too. An example would be when Horton says, "I said what I meant and I meant what I said. An elephant is faithful, one hundred percent."