Seussical the Musical – Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, PA
March 15, 2016
Review by: Marisol Smith of Lindenwold High School
Within minutes after taking my seat in the expansive auditorium of Upper Darby High School, I was transported back to my younger years as an innocent kindergartner reading my first Dr.Seuss book. Bright lights, an extravagant set, and a vibrant cast came together to illustrate a world where, “a person is a person no matter how small,” in their production of Seussical, The Musical.
This exceptionally creative musical centers around the famous stories of Horton Hears A Who!, Horton Hatches An Egg, and Miss Gertrude McFuzz. After discovering Whoville, a tiny world beyond the hearing reach of most characters in the jungle of Nool, Horton the Elephant vows to protect the creatures from those who cannot hear them. In the meantime, Mayzie La Bird abandons her egg, leaving him to Horton’s care while Gertrude McFuzz struggles to gain Horton’s attention and affections.
The cast of this production can only be described as extraordinary. Their energy carried out throughout the performance as each individual character was introduced. The dynamic duo of Thing 1 and Thing 2, played by Annie Loeliger and Kenny Turner, stole the stage as they mischievously pranced around the stage playing out each scenario. Their animated leader, none other than The Cat in the Hat, played by Rylee Curry, led the way as they ran throughout the audience, interacting with the crowd and drawing several laughs. Although they struggled to enunciate clearly, they continued to pursue every high note and nail each dance move.
Other memorable parts of the production consisted of the comical gang of Wickersham Brothers (Dean Galiffa, Colin Jones, Will Daniels, and Rain Diaz) who persistently tormented Horton as he attempted to watch over the clover that held Whoville and the performance of “It’s Possible” by Jojo, played by Cory Fitzpatrick. The song was lively and touching to all.
Undoubtedly, the jaw-dropping vocals of the Sour Kangaroo, enacted by Courtney Schultz, was unforgettable. At the same time, the sassy Mayzie La Bird, portrayed by Natalie Bruce, held her own as she flaunted around with her fabulous feathers.
Additionally, the Upper Darby High School Pit Orchestra picked up every cue from behind the scenes as the show went through each song. The smoke machine went off without a hitch and the lighting crew illuminated the room, emphasizing every dramatic scene. The sound effects also helped highlight key points in the dialogue.
In final consideration, Upper Darby High School’s production of Seussical was a success. From the setting to the singing, the cast and crew brought their all. They became one with their characters and took the audience back to their childhoods. Oh, the thinks you can think when you think about this show!
Review by: Aditi Biswas of Phoenixville Area High School
Around the world, people relate to the joy of Dr. Seuss books, and who wouldn’t? Filled with wacky characters, strange lands, and serious yet heartwarming morals, it is hard not to be swept away by the magic of the stories. Upper Darby High School explored the serious morals and silly fun that Dr. Seuss is known for in their production of Seussical, The Musical.
First debuting in Broadway in 2000, the musical became a favorite for theater-goers of all ages. Using multiple stories from the Dr. Seuss series, the show tries to shed light on issues of self-love and self-sufficiency. The story centers around Horton, a lonely elephant in need of a friend, who stumbles upon a speck of dust that holds an entire world of creatures called Whos. What follows is a crazy adventure for Horton and his Who friend, Jojo, and a variety of characters, as Horton tries to protect the Whos from disaster.
Avery Leach plays Horton with dual sensitivity and bravery, showing that big doesn’t always mean scary. He portrays earnestly the kind nature of Horton, someone who believes that every creature no matter how small, deserves love and respect. There is never a moment when Horton seems preachy rather than genuine in his tenderness, and that can be attributed to Leach’s attention to making Horton seem like an everyday do-gooder. Jojo’s gradual change from confusion of who he is to his defiance of following the evil General Schmitz into war was portrayed succinctly by Cory Fitzpatrick.
The multiple ensembles retained their energy throughout the play. Colorful in their characterization and humorous melodrama, they were the ones adding humor to the musical, while main characters led the more serious storyline. The ensemble of Thing 1 and Thing 2 (Annie Loeliger and Kenny Turner) led by the wacky Cat in the Hat (Rylee Curry), often interacted with the audience, receiving laughs just from the weirdness of the situation.
The use of light and audio was extensive in this musical. As the story changed moods, so did the light of the “sky” in the background, and spotlights were often thrown across the stage to portray chaos.
Seussical is a show that melds life-lessons with extreme silliness, as a variety of strange creatures and animals find their inner strength, love, and kindness through song and crazy dance.