Seussical the Musical – Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, PA
March 22, 2016
Review by: Cynthia Reynolds of Bordentown Regional High School
With colorful costumes, cartoon-like sets and a cheerful cast, Cardinal O’Hara High School’s production of Seussical the Musical brought Dr. Seuss’s classic tales from page to stage. Who knew that a musical could be this much fun?
Seussical first debuted on Broadway in November of 2000, and celebrates the power of imagination and friendship. With music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Aherns, this whimsical musical combines some of the classic children’s stories written by Dr. Seuss, such as “Horton Hears a Who” and “The Cat in the Hat”. With catchy tunes and meaningful morals, Seussical is fun for young and old alike.
With a towering presence, signature hat and bowtie, and mischievous smile from ear to ear, Thomas Dempsey, as the trouble-making tabby, the Cat in the Hat, was everything one could expect from this familiar childhood icon. With animated characterizations ranging from a field reporter to a blues pianist, Dempsey was dynamic, comedic and quirky.
Straight out of Jungle of Nool, brimming with a multicolored menagerie, were standouts, Billy Issertell as the loveable and kind pachyderm Horton, Melissa Goldhorn as the sweet songbird Gertrude, and marsupial Kayla Ricker as the sassy Sour Kangaroo. Issertell made Horton both endearing and genuine pairing well with Goldhorn’s adorable singing and acting. Ricker displayed her impressive and powerful vocal prowess, strutting around the stage in numbers such as “Biggest Blame Fool”. Another vocal standout was Jacqueline Rooney, as the feathered and flirty Mayzie Labird. The ensemble of mayhem causing monkeys, the Wickersham Brothersm, also added to the antics.
A spectacle on a speck of dust, was the tiny town of Whoville, which was full of an energetic ensemble in entertaining numbers such as “It’s Possible” and “Here On Who”. Ryan Jewell and Meghan Eglington as the Mayor and his wife along with Isabella Pennock as their inventive son JoJo soundly rounded out the cast.
Also noteworthy was the predominantly student filled orchestra who kept the show lively and up-tempo never missing a beat.
Cardinal O’Hara High School certainly showed that they know a Thing One or a Thing Two about putting on quite the entertaining show.
Review by: Marissa Emerson of Upper Merion Area High School
A show with kind elephants, cats in hats and shy birds? Why no one has heard of a show so absurd! But wait! Cardinal O’Hara had a show just so fitting, their production of Seussical the Musical is where a lucky audience was sitting!
Seussical is a fun-filled extravaganza featuring some of Dr. Seuss’s most famous characters like The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, and Gertrude McFuzz! As all of their stories intertwine, the fun grows and the show culminates in the famous Dr. Seuss message: “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”
Ensemble energy and volume were strong in group numbers like “Oh The Things You Can Think,” and facial expressions throughout the show were fittingly animated for such a jovial production. The Wickersham Brothers stood out in the cast and brought playful energy to the production, most notably when they scrambled through the audience during a comical chase scene with Horton.
Thomas Dempsey (The Cat in the Hat) was a spectacular showman! His voice was as much of a character as his body throughout the production as he played multiple roles (all of which were The Cat in disguise) with great humor and skill! Dempsey’s singing was flawless and his warm tonality made the already exciting score all the more inviting! Kayla Ricker (Sour Kangaroo) was another fabulous vocalist. Her powerful voice and stage presence commanded the space and demanded attention. Her performance of “Biggest Blame Fool” received roaring applause and rightfully so, as her strong belt and riffing abilities were on full display.
Jacqueline Rooney (Mayzie LaBird) sparkled in her role, with clean, well-executed dance steps and soaring notes that rang throughout the auditorium. Adam Landolfi humorously played Judge Yertle the Turtle at the end of the show, waving his arms and dramatically singing his lines like a reality television star, while Sara Newman (Vlad Vladikoff) danced gracefully and visibly expressed her remissive feelings towards Horton through facial expressions and sassy posture.
While the microphones were sometimes too loud, taking the sheer number of them into consideration (over thirty!), the sound crew for Seussical did an “Amayzing” job handling them between the cast and orchestra.
It’s no wonder to think Cardinal O’Hara’s show shined – they worked hard for weeks with noses to the grindstone. Both the cast and the audience had a nest-full of fun, and there’s nothing to say but what a job well done!