A mélange of characters from the celebrated books of Dr. Seuss are brought to life in "Seussical the Musical," an extravaganza with music and words by songwriting team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.
Craterian Performances and the Children and Teens Musical Theater of Oregon will present a professionally staged production of Ahrens' and Flaherty's Grammy Award-nominated musical, with shows set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 19-20, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.
"We have 60 cast members ages 7 through 19 in this production," says John Taylor, musical director for CMTO and TMTO. "It's a great blend of stories from Seuss books with a catchy Broadway score and beautiful costumes."
What: "Seussical the Musical"
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 19-20, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21
Where: Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater,
23 S. Central Ave., Medford
Tickets: $18, $9 for ages 18 and younger
Call: 541-779-3000 or go to www.craterian.org
The story centers around Horton the Elephant, who finds himself faced with a double challenge. Not only must he protect his tiny friend Jojo — and all of the invisible Whos — from a world of naysayers and dangers, he also must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird.
The show offers humor, laughs and gentle pulls to the heart strings with songs such as "Amayzing Mayzie," "Amayzing Gertrude" and "Alone in the Universe" from "Horton Hatches the Egg." Other tunes take the audience from "The Jungle of Nool" to "If I Ran the Circus."
Though Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial throughout the musical, his kind and powerful heart triumphs over all.
"Seussical" premiered in 2000 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City. After its Broadway run, the production made two national tours and one in the United Kingdom. The show has become a favorite for schools and community and regional theaters.
For the Craterian production of "Seussical," Taylor took the best from the original score and infused his own ideas into the orchestration.
"There are so many musical styles in the score that I was able to draw from much of my experience with notables such as Jennifer Lopez, R&B band DeBarge and Cirque du Soleil," Taylor says.
While so much of the plot centers on Horton, the show also features characters and scenarios from many Seuss books, including "The Butter Battle Book" and "Gertrude McFuzz." Though none of the story of "The Cat in the Hat" is in "Seussical," the character acts as narrator and devil's advocate.
The original Broadway production choreography was adapted by Meghan McCandless and Cailen McCandless. Costume design is by Sue Quackenbush, lighting by Brad Nelson, set by Daniel Haskett and sound by Shawn Insall.
Tickets cost $18, $9 for ages 18 and younger and are available at the Craterian box office, by calling 541-779-3000 or online at www.craterian.org for information.