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The doctor is in

‘Seussical’ presents some unique challenges

November 18, 2009
By Cindy Votruba

MARSHALL - It can be hard to play an animated character onstage, Marshall High School theater students say, especially when it's one they know well.

Marshall High School is presenting "Seussical - The Musical" at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts.

There will also be a special matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday where kids ages 18 and under get in free with an adult.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Eric Deutz, center, along with, clockwise from left, Alyssa Bossuyt, Randi Olson, Kristina VanOverbeke, Dan Hale, Annie Manguson and Susan Yang rehearse a scene from “Seussical,” which will be performed this weekend at the Schwan Community Center for the Performing Arts.

Director Dan Smith knew it would be a challenge to put on a relatively new musical. "Seussical" was first performed on stage in 2000. He said he wanted to do it because his mother, an English as a Second Language teacher would use Dr. Seuss to teach her students.

The students were thrilled to do a show that involved children's stories they grew up with.

"I thought this would be a fun show to do," said Emma Larson, who plays the Cat in the Hat.

"I was excited because it's Dr. Seuss," said Lindsay Coleman, who portrays the Sour Kangaroo.

Once rehearsals started, Smith and the students learned how tough doing a musical based on Dr. Seuss' famous books could be.

"It's really difficult because everything that happens is in rhythm, even the dialogue is in rhythm," Smith said.

The characterization is also challenging, Smith and the students said.

"It's hard to get 'animated' because there's no real life movie to go by," said Spencer Buss, who plays Horton.

"You have to get it all from the books," said Lauren Booke, who plays Mayzie LaBird.

"(The challenge is) really portraying the real Dr. Seuss and bringing it onto the stage," Larson said.

"So to play them in live theater is tough," Smith said.

Then the students had to realize other things about the show.

"This has to be a play that younger kids can enjoy because it's Dr. Seuss, but at the same time it can't be just a 'kid play,' you have to keep the teens and adults interested," said Eric Deutz, who plays Jojo.

"If Dr. Seuss is not at the heart of the show, then the show falls apart," Smith said.

The music is very difficult, but it's good music, it's fun, Smith said. The students said there's a lot of songs in the musical, which features about a dozen of Seuss' books.

"It's a lot more songs than what I had to learn last year for Jekyl and Hyde," Coleman said. "But it's fun to sing songs of stories we know."

"This is my first musical, so I had to learn along the way," said Theresa Tyson, who plays Yrtle the Turtle. "I don't usually sing out, and I kind of have to now,"

The students said they have to maintain a certain level of energy to make it through the rehearsals and the show's run.

"Mr. Smith has said it's a high-energy show, and it requires lots of energy," Booke said. "At the end of the night, it's go home and crash."

"It's going to be upbeat, energetic," Larson said.

"I think you can expect professional quality from everybody on the stage," Buss said.



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