East Wake High School will follow up last year’s annual production of “Aladdin”, with a musical this year based on the works of Dr. Seuss.
“Seussical, Jr.” follows the adventures of Horton the Elephant from “Horton Hears a Who!” through a story that draws from many of the children’s author’s works and is narrated by The Cat in the Hat.
“I wanted to do something that people could bring their families to and children would enjoy but that adults would enjoy too,” said East Wake chorus teacher Amy Parker, who directs a musical at the high school each spring.
This year’s production will run March 10-12 in the auditorium. All shows are at 7 p.m. and the show lasts about an hour and 15 minutes.
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The family-friendly “Aladdin” drew well last year, Parker said, much better than the more adult-themed “Little Shop of Horrors” from two years ago.
Plus she had colleagues who had been associated with “Seussical” productions that went well.
“Everyone that I talked to about it that had been involved with productions before had really good things to say about it,” Parker said.
Parts were open to all students, but a high percentage are from Parker’s chorus class, she said. Including cast and crew, 40 students are taking part.
John Martinez and Emily Villegas play the lead roles, as Horton and The Cat in the Hat respectively.
“Everybody knows the classics,” Villegas said of Dr. Seuss’ works. “I feel like under all the silliness and rhymes he expresses a lot of important messages.”
Villegas, a 17-year-old senior, played The Dentist in “Shop of Horrors” as a sophomore, and said that “Seussical” is “way more lively and energetic, and the role is a lot different, so I wanted to try it.”
Villegas joined chorus as a freshman. “After that I just fell in love with music,” she said.
Parker said the sets for the “Seussical” production are simpler than for past productions, but the costumes are more involved.
“This has a lot of little pieces that we’re nowhere near finished (making),” Parker said. “There’s a lot of detail in this show.”
Out of about 100 pages in the script, the musical only has about four or five pages of dialogue, Parker said, so there is a lot of singing. The 20-plus numbers are more than she’s ever had in a production before.
It’s easier for the cast to remember songs than lines of dialogue, Parker said, but then she has to worry about getting all the harmonies fixed.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “It takes a lot of repetition to get those parts right.”
The plot interweaves several Dr. Seuss stories, with Horton being onstage almost the whole play. His adventures include finding a speck that holds all of Whoville and being sold to the circus.
“Seussical, Jr.” is a condensed version of “Seussical” by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, which debuted on Broadway in 2000.
In addition to “Horton Hears and Who!” and “Horton Hatches the Egg,” “Seussical Jr.” draws from “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories,” “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew” and “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!”
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826