EHS theatre to present ‘Seussical’

By: 
Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

Not quite a week after the birthday of the singular Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, the East Washington Theatre Department will perform their rendition of “Seussical: The Musical” at the East Washington Performing Arts Center.

The musical comedy based on the many stories of Dr. Seuss, is based on ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ and includes characters and references from many other stories.

Director Veronica Lindley said this show is a far cry from the past few years’ productions.

“Our last two years, we did musicals that took place in the early 1900s,” she said. “The kids all portrayed people. We decided to go as far to the other side of the spectrum as possible this year. They’ll all play animals in crazy stories. It’s very different.”

She said her drama students have had some difficulties with letting loose on stage, but are overcoming those obstacles.

“Most of them are really great with being strange and wacky,” she said. “They’ve accepted our challenge. We’ve felt good about it the whole time, which is unusual. Usually, during tech week [her husband and school band director Matt Lindley] and I are running around, wondering how everything is going to work, wondering what we’ve gotten ourselves into. This time, it’s been great. He’s had a blast building the set … We’ve tried to bring Seuss’s crazy world into this room.”

She said her favorite part of the show is the end, where all the students are on stage, performing together.

“They figure out Horton isn’t entirely crazy and they all come out and have fun together,” she said. “It’s the most complicated choreography in the whole show and they love it.”

One thing students had to overcome was their expectations that everything in the show would make sense.

“It’s absolutely outrageous,” said Lindley. “That tripped some kids up. They’d stop in their tracks and say, ‘Wait, that doesn’t make sense.’ Yeah. It’s Dr. Seuss.”

The musical style, however, has made the musical easier for the students to perform.

“They sing in a style they’re more used to, the way they sing along with the radio,” said Lindley. “Our other plays had a more classical style of music.”

Hayden Pendleton, 7th grade, plays the main character, JoJo, a young boy whose imagination brings the story and its characters to life.

“I like playing JoJo because I get to act like a little kid and be myself,” he said. “It’s a really creative play and it has a bunch of cool songs. I like how all the Dr. Seuss books are mashed together.”

Those cool songs can come at a cost though. He said one of them has been particularly challenging.

“Trying to sing ‘Havin’ the Hunch,’” he said. “I don’t know what it is about it, but I can’t get it right yet!”

Sophomore Kevin Carr plays Horton the Elephant.

“I get to be really lazy,” he said, referencing the fact his role doesn’t require any complicated choreography. “I like the craziness. The chaos is very nice.”

He said the challenge with the play he’s working through is communicating with his hands.

“I’m good at showing emotion with my voice, but my body is still catching up,” he said.

And what would a show about Dr. Seuss characters be without The Cat? Olivia Sowder brings the tricky troublemaker to life.

“I get to wear a lot of costumes,” she said. “There’s a doctor costume, a ringmaster, a sparkly tail coat, Hawaiian shirt, along with my regular cat costume. It’s really fun being able to be a part of all the stories. There are a lot of stories and I get to be in all of them. I also get to portray a lot of different personalities.

“It’s fun and there’s a lot of opportunities to express yourself and improv with the audience,” she added. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

Her challenge has been portraying a male character as a girl.

“There are female versions of all the songs, but we didn’t get those,” she said. “It’s challenging to find the right octaves. I jump around a lot because my voice is higher than it’s written.”

Still, she said, she’s excited to be a part of the cast and show.

“I hope we will get a good turnout,” she said. “It will be a really good show.”

Tickets are currently available online at ehstheatre.ludus.com. Tickets are $1 for children not currently school-aged, $5 for students K-12, and $10 for adults. The show will run Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at 1 and 7 p.m.

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