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Herndon High School Seussical

By • Nov 22nd, 2013 • Category: Cappies

A bumbling elephant, a sassy kangaroo, and a sly cat all take center stage in the fight over the survival of a place called Who, a town the size of a dust-speck. As time passes, the lifespan of the town seems to be continuously shortening, as the only animal that can save the lives of the Whos is seen as insane. Who could possibly create such a ridiculous yet fascinating story? Why, Dr. Seuss of course! The world of the many Seuss stories came to life in the most enjoyable of ways in Herndon High School’s production of Seussical.

Written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, creators of the hit musical Ragtime, Seussical was initially a Broadway flop when it first premiered in 2000. Soon after the show’s rights were released for public use, however, it became a national hit, consistently being named one of the most performed musicals in the United States, specifically among high schools. The musical is a conglomeration of the many Dr. Seuss books and tells the story of Horton (Hunter Robinson), an elephant who hears tiny voices coming from a speck of dust. Once it is revealed that these voices belong to an entire town, Horton becomes protective of its people, especially after Sour Kangaroo (Cassie Szymczyk) lobbies to get him incarcerated for his “insane” beliefs. As the story progresses, the battle over the Who people becomes increasingly more important yet increasingly more difficult, leading to laughter and heartbreak for those involved.

As the Cat in the Hat, Drew Lytle expertly crafted the most uproarious, nimble performance of the entire production. Narrating much of the show for the audience, Lytle marvelously created unique facial expressions, paid constant attention to detail, and had complete dedication to character that made him an audience favorite and extremely personable (ironic, considering he played a cat). His chemistry with Jojo (Henry Metcalf), son of the Mayor of Who, made the show even more enjoyable, especially when the two sang together, such as in “It’s Possible” and “Our Story Resumes.”

In an ensemble often full of energy, it was the Bird Girls that dazzled. Although some of the cast sometimes seemed slightly off pitch, the Bird Girls harmonized beautifully, especially in songs like “Amazing Mayzie” and “Amazing Gertrude.” Also delivering a powerful performance was Zach Klein who, as Who Mr. Mayor, delivered fantastic vocals in conjunction with strong acting.

The technical aspects of the show were unparalleled, specifically the lighting. Led by Alissa Clayton and Lucas Lauber, the lighting was spot on, consistently adding to the moods of the scenes, using intelligent lighting to create fun shapes and designs on the cyclorama and walls of the auditorium, and having over 100 lighting cues to make the show pop. The set was also of note, as its creative designs and sensible application was used well by the cast. The use of a scrim and a fountain on stage also added depth and fun to the performance that made everything more enjoyable for the audience.

All in all, Herndon High School’s production of Seussical was a great success. Although there were some lags in energy, a fantastic set of leads and superb ensemble worked together to create a very comical performance. The technical elements, in general, were tremendous, adding excitement and color to the show. In the end, there is perhaps no better description for the performance than something Seuss wrote himself- “From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”

by Kevin Buckley of Stone Bridge High School

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