'Seussical Jr.' musical to open Friday
by Marie Nesmith
Oct 24, 2011 | 1396 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With "Seussical Jr.," theater patrons and Dr. Seuss fans will be treated to an evening where the author's stories intertwine. Describing the musical as a "Dr. Seuss remix," stage director Morgan McCrary is delighted to bring the production to The Grand Theatre Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

"We wanted to do [a production] that was more [musical]," McCrary said. "The thing with 'Seussical Jr.' is that it is predominantly song. There's very little dialogue that is spoken outside of the music. So we thought that we had a talented enough group of kids that they would be able to handle that and they have done beautifully so far. ... [The musical] combines elements of, I think it's, 15 different books by Dr. Seuss.

"So it takes some familiar stories like 'Horton Hears a Who!' -- that's in there -- and there's 'Cat in the Hat.' But it combines them in a way that some of the characters from the books that never meet in the stories as he wrote them, they get to interact in this play. So you have Yertle the Turtle getting to interact with Horton."

Along with McCrary, the presentation's music director, Kaye Compton, is guiding the cast of 34 actors, who range in age from 7 to 18. The lead performers are Olivia Smith as Horton the Elephant, Derrick Chapman as Cat in the Hat and Alex Gilbert as JoJo.

"Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite authors, always has been," said Terri Cox, program coordinator for The Grand, 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville. "I know that this literature is something that all children love and love to read. So I knew it would be something that would go with the curriculum that the children study in school. And I knew that would be perfect for a school performance and on the other side it's just wonderful characters [and a] very positive message. I just knew the kids would love it and the audience would too.

"This is a partial musical. There's a full version -- a two-hour Broadway version -- and then the one that we do is an hour version. In our edition, it focuses mostly on the character of Horton the Elephant and there's two Dr. Seuss books based on that character. One is 'Horton Hears a Who!' and one is 'Horton Hatches the Egg.' To me, Horton is a very lovable character. [The stories] sort of teach a moral message. There's always somebody who's messing up in some way and Horton with love and understanding seems to help everybody. I've just always loved his character."

At the door, tickets for "Seussical Jr." will be $15 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased in advance for a savings of $3 by calling The Grand Theatre at 770-386-7343.