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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: ‘Seussical The Musical' opens Friday in Oshkosh at Grand Opera House

Hysterical Productions

OSHKOSH, Wis. - The semi-professional Hysterical Productions theater company will present six performances of “Seussical The Musical” starting Friday, March 9, at Grand Opera House. Info: hystericalproductions.com.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 9 and 10, 2 p.m. March 11 and 7:30 p.m. March 15, 16 and 17.

Based on books and characters of Dr. Seuss, the show was created by Stephen Flaherty (concept, music and book), Lynn Ahrens (concept, lyrics and book) and Eric Idle (concept).

Places include the Jungle of Nool, Whoville and the Circus McGurkus.

Characters include Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie La Bird and JoJo, the smallest Who of all.

Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) wrote fanciful books that are aimed at children and yet filled with imagination, thought, cleverness, meaning and humor that warm the way for adults. The musical is a set of the stories, most having an important moral.

One story nurtures thinking; the character JoJo gets in trouble for it but is rewarded in the end. One story tells to be careful what you wish for; the bird character Gertrude gets the tail she desires, though in XXXXXXXL size.

One song looks to the cosmos and has characters thinking about being a speck in the vastness of the universe; it’s the story of the minute Whos.

A big moral of a story (and the whole musical) revolves around the line, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Horton the Elephant wisely repeats that. The reference may seem to be about size, but the implication is a person is a person, period, so respect any differences from yourself.

The through character is JoJo, whose thinking leads her to trouble. Action opens as she lies in bed and discovers a candy-stripped stovepipe hat under her pillow. Through her imagination, a cat appears and takes the hat to become The Cat in the Hat, who is sort of a narrator and commentator through song as the show moves on through episodes. One of the first stops is to meet Horton the Elephant.

The characters and players in the coming production: Cat in the Hat – Kyle Brauer; Horton the Elephant – Thomas Bebeau; Gertrude McFuzz – Marie Dalzell; Mayze LaBird – Kadie Smith; Sour Kangaroo – Amanda Petersen Fails; Bird Girls – Katana Goss, Larissa Petersen, Alyssa Ferlo; Wickersham Brothers – Andy Birchfield, John Zhang, Cas Stopa; Yertle the Turtle – Glen Kellerman Jr.; Vlad Vladikoff – Krista Frenz; Residents of the Jungle of Nool – Madie Tosic, Jessica Lietzan Buechel; JoJo – Kate Sawyer; Mr. Mayor – Scott Challoner; Mrs. Mayor – Alaina Gates; General Genghis Khan Schmitz – Jenny Neary; The Grinch – Dalton Zanin; Residents of Whoville – Nicole Wirgau, Emily Bishop, Kristen Jobe, Michaela Kerkhof, Caleb Lietzan Buechel, Holden McVey.

Directing is Angela Ferlo O’Donnell, artistic director of the company.

Hysterical Productions is marking five years in existence.

Contact me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air Critic at Large editions on WFRV-TV at 6:20 a.m. Sundays.


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