New musical tells Dr. Seuss stories – in song and dance

Take a look, and see why SEUSSICAL is a sophisticated show that’s sure to delight the entire family …

These characters, rehearsing their dance steps for the upcoming David Douglas High Theater production of SEUSSICAL, show they can “really keep a secret”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Of all the musicals presented by the David Douglas High School (DDHS) Theater Department, SEUSSICAL! The Dr. Seuss Musical is destined to be remembered as the most action-packed, song-filled, dazzling staged production they’ve put on in years.

The show, which opens on the evening of November 15, brings to life favorite Dr. Seuss characters – including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie, and Jojo, the little kid with a big imagination.

-2 The Horner Theater’s new Technical Director, lighting designer, and assistant scenic designer for this show, Molly Stowe, updates the lighting programming on a computer. Note: she’s sitting one one of the theater’s brand new, luxury seats!.

Shelby Hansmann (playing Gertrude) watches Ethan Archer (as he portrays Horton) – while he watches Clover.

40 student actors dance and sing, accompanied by the David Douglas High School Orchestra, as they present the stories – woven into a delightful experience set in the Jungle of Nool, Circus McGurkus, and the invisible world of the Whos.

“This show is an operetta,” commented its director, DDHS Theater Instructor Michael Givler.

“Bird Girls” Sabel Van Meter, Kailynn Brace, Shalina Baker, Bella Green, and Becca Daigle are serenading sad Gertrude (played by Shelby Hansmann).

Brandon Montes (as Mr. Mayor) and Sarah Granberg (Mrs. Mayor) are shocked and dejected, as their darling Jojo (played by Madison Eager) is taken off to military school by The General (Connor Riggs).

“This means there are almost no spoken ‘lines’ in the show; the story is all carried in the songs,” Givler told East Portland News. “One of the cool things about it is that the authors took actual story book verse and made them the lyrics of the music, scored for this musical.”

Givler said this show proved its universal appeal by playing for nearly 200 shows starting in 2000. “This is not a simple production. Instead of stage hands changing sets, our actors create the different ‘worlds’ by moving the trees, the set pieces – I’’s all being evolved as the show goes on.”
Even adults who are without children will still enjoy the energy, colorful scenery, and great production values, Givler promised.

Thing 1 (Michelle Wangerzyn) clowns around with the Cat in the Hat (Olivia Stuart) and Thing 2 (Nicole Westenshen).

The curtain goes up for the first time on this production of SEUSSICAL! The Dr. Seuss Musical on November 15, at 7:30 p.m.

The show continues on November 16, 22, and 23 at 7:30 p.m. And, take the kids to one of the two matinee shows – November 17 or 24, at 2:30 p.m.

Reserve your tickets now, online: CLICK HERE to open their special Ticket Reservation webpage. OR, stop by their Box Office, open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. – OR call (503) 261-8270.

The Box Office and Theater are in the Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Avenue, between SE Division and Stark Streets.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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