Special to 1812Blockhouse

The Mansfield Youth Theatre (“MY Theatre”) will present Seussical, Jr. on the stage of the Renaissance Theatre September 9, 10, and 11 as a part of the Mechanics Bank Education Series. Performances will take place at 7:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 PM on Sunday. Dauphne Maloney directs the show with musical direction by Brian K. Nabors. Tickets are $15, general admission, and are on sale now at the Renaissance Box Office, via phone, and online at rentickets.org

A free sensory-friendly performance of Seussical, Jr. will be offered Saturday, September 10 at 1 PM for families of individuals with special needs. Interested individuals must register for their free tickets by visiting or calling the Renaissance Box Office at (419) 522-2726. A limited number of tickets is available for the sensory-friendly performance and no walk-ups will be accommodated.

Seussical JR. is a fantastical musical extravaganza featuring Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat and all your favorite Dr. Seuss characters brought to life onstage. Transporting audiences from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus, The Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Horton the Elephant, who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos. Horton must protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, and he must also guard an abandoned egg that’s been left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird.  Although Horton faces ridicule, danger and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him.  Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant. 

“While the story of Seussical, Jr. is based on elements from several of Dr. Seuss’ well-known books, including Horton Hears a Who!, Gertrude McFuzz, and Horton Hatches the Egg: the musical script also incorporates story lines and characters from additional Seuss material.  The themes of friendship and loyalty are ever-present throughout the show, both with the main and supporting characters who are impacted by their own choices, as well as the choices of others. While on the surface, it may appear the focus is solely on Horton the Elephant, the universal messages of coexistence and the acceptance of others who think differently than us is evident within each character. Seussical, Jr. will have the audience engaged from beginning to end, and is a perfectly wonderful family musical,” shares Maloney.  “The music is both energetic and poignant, and won’t disappoint—and, will leave audiences humming the melodies as they leave the theatre. Of course, we also have the opportunity to share the talents of some very talented young performers to tell this story, so families will love the experience!”

The cast is composed of nearly 50 students ages 7-18 from the following schools: Ashland City, Big Walnut High School, Clearfork, Crestview, Galion, Homeschool, Lexington, Lucas, Madison, Mansfield, Mansfield Christian, Mansfield Spanish Immersion, Ontario, Richland School of Academic Arts, Shelby, Springmill Elementary, The University of Akron, Wooster, and Wynford High School.

Led by Alex Snodgrass as the Cat in The Hat, and Payne Schwartz as Horton, the cast also includes Cassandra Kurek as Gertrude McFuzz, Madison Kearney as Mayzie LaBird, and Kadelyn Becker as the Sour Kangaroo. The role of the Boy and the Mayor’s Son, JoJo, will be played by Milo McDonald. Mr. and Mrs. Mayor are portrayed by Graycen Sevens and Taylor Beasley; with the roles of Judge Yertle, the Turtle, the Young Kangaroo, Vlad Vladikoff, and the Grinch played by Julia Conner, Lilly McCready, Alyssa Racer, Makenzie Wynn, and Tiegan Franta. Betty Lou Who and Cindy Lou Who are played by Abby Bechstein and Sloane Walter. 

Morgyn Beasley, Sawyer Beasley, Wyatt Bechstein, Isla Donley, Hudson Hamelink, McKinnley King, Jackie Metz, Alex Trolian are featured as the Wickersham Brothers; with Alaina Hawkins, MaKayla Lawrence, Stella Powers, Caroline Secrist, and Hayley Sleek as the Bird Girls.

The ensemble will be comprised of: Violet Ames, Julyana Bass, Jordyn Beasley, Lillien Christian, Ellie Hicks, Steliana Kruer, Madelyn Siciliano, and Evelyn Walter. 

Young ensemble members include Brynleigh Ball, Breah Boyd, Emersyn Henderson, Maeley Hiner, Audrey King, Marilena Kruer, Lucy Lang, Evie McCready, Tori McCready, Saige Painley, and Ella Sweval.

With music and lyrics by collaborative team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Seussical, Jr. is an adaptation of the musical, Seussical, which opened on Broadway in November 2000.  The team of Ahrens and Flaherty have won and been nominated for Tony, Drama Desk, Grammy, and Olivier awards for their contributions to numerous musicals, including Ragtime, Anastasia, and Once On This Island.  Seussical, Jr. features songs in a wide variety of styles, including, “Horton Hears a Who,” “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think,” and “The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz.” 

For additional information regarding the MY Theatre production of Seussical, Jr., contact Dauphne Maloney at [email protected], or by calling 419-522-2726, ext. 212.

Source, Photo: Renaissance Performing Arts Association

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