UNION — Audiences will be treated to what is being billed as a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza next weekend at Union County High School.
The Union County High School Department of Visual and Performing Arts will present “SEUSSICAL: The Musical” Thursday, April 18-Sunday, April 21, in the UCHS cafetorium.
The play is by Tony Award winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who have brought to life favorite Dr. Seuss characters including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie, and a little boy with a big imagination — Jojo.
This production’s director — longtime UCHS drama instructor Ralph Lawson — said the colorful characters will transport the audience from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.
“The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos — including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many ‘thinks,’” Lawson said. “Horton faces a double challenge. Not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him.”
Lawson said the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged but ultimately emerge triumphant.
“SEUSSICAL is fun for the whole family!” he added.
The show’s cast features Bess Lawson as The Cat in the Hat, Jacob Boineau as Horton, Abby Kingsmore as Gertrude McFuzz, and Jessie Cantrell as Mayzie LaBird. There are three Bird Girls who assist in the play’s action. They are played by Reid Bailey, Madi Gardin, and Brianna Graham. Tayshon Smith appears as The Grinch; Tia Gilliam plays The Sour Kangaroo. Rounding out the principal characters are Bailey Quinn and Tesla Judy as Mayor and Mrs. Who, and Anna Kelly plays JoJo, their son. Zyquan Henderson plays General Schmitz.
Also featured are Orlando Sartor as Vlad Vladikoff and Kadin Ivey as Yertle the Turtle.
The show also boasts a large ensemble which includes Charlie Betenbaugh, Dylan Boyd, J.C. Fore, Matt Haney, Aletha Hines, Alex Heatherly, Joycelyn Henderson, Tesla Judy, Lily Kearse, Blayke Lawson, Kim Lawson, Marissa McNeace, Dustin Moore, Karli Sue Moore, Connor Randall, Hailey Sherbert, Jasmine Smith, Tykeezie Thompson, and Daja Williams.
In addition to the cast and crew of UCHS students, contests were held at all other schools in the district, casting two students from each school in the play. The winners were as follows:
Malikha Foster and Ma’Kai Welch from Buffalo Elementary School; Nyla Hill and Zaporia Thompson from Foster Park Elementary School; Garrett Vaughan and Ahaira Wood from Jonesville Elementary/Middle School; Gracie Crocker and Heather Petty from Lockhart Schools; Anna Caroline Alexander and Kaigan Anna Wilson from Monarch Elementary School; and Cameron Beasley and Peighton Berry from Sims Middle School.
The Thursday, April 18, performance will be the school’s annual Rotary-sponsored dinner performance, which requires an advance ticket. Non-dinner performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Advance tickets are on sale at the Union County Arts Council and at Union County High School.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.