WEST ALLIS - West Allis
Players pulled out all the stops on their production of “Seussical the
Musical,” incorporating a large cast of talented local talent. It is
gratifying to see a community production of high quality that incorporates so
much involvement and cooperation. It was a delight from start to finish - the
orchestra, the choreography, the costuming, the overall musicality, the set
design, the pacing and energy - everything worked.
This musical, which first
hit Broadway in 2000, was not a big hit initially, but it continues to be
staged by theaters across the country and is especially accessible to community
groups because of its wide appeal. Most of us have been exposed to and enjoyed
the creative antics of Dr. Seuss.
Composers Stephen Flaherty
and Lynn Ahrens have attempted to include characters and plot snippets from many
of Dr. Seuss’ works - and even if their endeavors are somewhat faulty as to
the story line, the musical numbers and the inclusion of many of his quirky
characters and clever rhyming lyrics supersede all deficiencies.
Horton the elephant is
definitely the main focus as he attempts to save the invisible Whos and take
over the care of Mayzie’s egg, when she chooses frivolity over responsibility.
There are many lessons to be learned here: everyone deserves respect, thinking
is a good thing, sometimes our dreams are misplaced, one sometimes has to pay a
price for being different, persistence pays off. Jerry Krajewski was fabulous in
the Horton role, in fact he was perfect - period.
The Cat in the Hat,
wellrendered by Nicholas Callan Haubner, pulled all things together in his role
as narrator. He also took on some other minor roles. Jojo, another key
character, was strong. Despite his occasional pitch prob-lems, Cody Tuftee
exhibited a radiant confidence throughout. This young boy belongs on a stage.
His father, Mr. Major, played by Cory Klein, was also impressive.
His wife (Stephanie Mather)
was a bit screechy in her speaking lines but had a very good singing voice.
Gertrude, the bird with the
puny tail feather (Ashlee Hosbach) got stronger as the story proceeded. Her
singing voice, which is a little weak, is compensated for by her acting ability.
Gabriella Smurawa was well cast as the vain, self-centered bird. Her backup
singers, Katherine Gilliland, Annelise Pollard and Lexie Peterson, also deserve
Another standout in the cast
was Sour Kangaroo (Nastassja Bates), whose voice was soaring and whose
“attitude” was glaring. Yertle the Turtle (Michael Jablonski), in his brief
role as Judge, also had a voice one couldn’t ignore. In fact, the musicality
was quite stellar from start to finish. I’m sure most of the credit goes to
Pat Breed Kaiser and Deb Brooks for their direction.
Director Bill Kaiser
deserves a bulk of the credit, however. Putting together a musical with this
large a cast and this degree of complexity is no small task. Kudos to him and
all the other contributors too numerous to mention.
Don’t miss this
production. Young and old and all the in-betweens will enjoy this show.