Pine-Richland Middle School to perform production of ‘Seussical’
Friday, January 17, 2020 | 12:01 AM
Pine-Richland Middle School musical director Angela Gross first saw the musical “Seussical” over a decade ago and left thinking that, on the surface, it was such a silly, whimsical kind of show.
“But when you really start to look at it, you have people changing themselves because they think that’s what someone else wants, then realize they’re fine the way they are,” she said. “You have people judging others before they understand them, and people fighting something because that’s what they believe is right. There are all these underlying themes, and I thought if we could push aside the fluorescent brightness that is ‘Seussical,’ we could make this kind of a deeper show and make an impact on people.”
That’s what they hope to accomplish with the junior version of the musical they’ll be performing beginning at the end of the month.
‘Seussical’ takes not one beloved Dr. Seuss story but a number of stories, characters and places and combines them into one show.
Eighth grader Lauren King plays the Cat in the Hat.
“The cat meets a little boy named Jo Jo, and basically takes Jo Jo through his imagination, finding different characters throughout the story and different friends,” she said.
Jo Jo is played by seventh grader Grant Waltrip, who’s appearing in his first production, Gross said. King brings a lot of spunk to the Cat in the Hat character, as does seventh grader Anna Karmanos, who plays Mayzie La Bird.
“She’s kind of the bad girl, I guess, that gets into trouble and is a bad influence on Gertrude McFuzz and causes some trouble,” Gross said. “But she’s a powerhouse; Anna’s voice is incredible.”
The Gertrude McFuzz character, best friend to Horton the Elephant, will be played by seventh grader Gretchen Sperling. Horton, around whom the bulk of the show is based, is played by seventh grader Roger Williams.
“He’s the one who’s trying to save the Whos and being a true friend,” Gross said.
A “queen of the jungle” character, Sour Kangaroo, is played by eighth grader Brianna Thel, whom Gross said brings a soulful quality to the role.
In all, there are close to 60 students who will appear on stage during the roughly 90-minute production and another 20-plus who make up the crew.
“I think a lot of people think it’s a silly surface level show and we’re just hoping to bring a little more depth to it,” Gross said, “I hope that comes across to the audience.”