Dr. Seuss would have been proud—dynamic characters and high tech!


Pictured: Madeleine Lucas and Danielle Dar Juan. (Roxanne Dar Juan)
March 15, 2012

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Madelyn Paquette, a student at McLean High School , reviews “Suessical the Musical” performed by Oakcrest School , as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

This is a tale of the planet of Who,

An elephant, birds, Thing One and Thing Two.

With the Cat in the Hat, oh the thinks you can think,

You’ll see everything but the kitchen sink!

What is this adventure in the Jungle of Nool?

Why, a production of Seussical at the Oakcrest School!

 

Seussical debuted on Broadway in 2000, with music, lyrics, and book by Lynn Aherns and Stephen Flaherty. The show was not well-received by critics and closed after 198 performances. Based on the popular children’s books of Dr. Seuss, Seussical tells the story of Horton the Elephant, who becomes a social outcast after hearing a small voice coming from a clover. But Horton isn’t crazy; it’s the voice of the Whos, tiny people who live on a speck of dust. Under the guidance of the Cat in the Hat, Horton and the Whos must struggle to prove themselves to the disbelieving residents of the Jungle of Nool, or risk being destroyed forever.

Oakcrest’s ensemble cast did an excellent job creating dynamic characters to inhabit the vibrant world of Seussical. Everyone, from the leads to the chorus, was incredibly engaged and looked truly excited to be on the stage. They demonstrated impressive stamina, with many ensemble members playing multiple roles, and chameleon-like ability to transform into a diverse array of characters.

As Horton the Elephant, Sophie Buono was the heart of the show. Her strong character choices contributed to moments of honest emotion within the play that were legitimately heart-warming. Despite singing a traditionally male role, Buono was able to imbue her songs with a real tenderness and depth of feeling that was genuinely touching.

Other standout members of the cast brought sheer joy to the show with their audacious characterization and vivid performances. Danielle Dar Juan was utterly captivating as the Cat in the Hat. Her vaudevillian interpretation was filled with a magnetic charm that mesmerized the audience, and her dancing was infused with a fluid, easy grace that was a pleasure to watch. With the help of Thing One and Thing Two (Bonnie Newton and Sophie Frelk), she frequently stole scenes with just a twitch of her cane and a feline grin. Another crowd favorite was Gertrude McFuzz, played by Carolyn Lucas. Her portrayal of the bird with the one-feather tail was the definition of adorable. Her physicality was impeccable; she was not afraid to completely throw herself into character with child-like enthusiasm, flailing her arms and stomping her feet in the cutest possible manner. Songs such as “All for You” showed off Lucas’s lovely singing voice, and like Horton, she was able to use her melodies to display her acting prowess, demonstrating Gertrude’s underlying insecurity and desperate love for her next-door neighbor effectively.

The tech crews did a superb job bringing the world of Dr. Seuss to life onstage. The show’s manifold props were well-crafted and imaginative, fitting in well with the action of the play. The variety of styles employed by the make-up team, including bold blush for the Whos, striking false eyelashes for the Bird Girls, and tasteful whiskers for the Cat in the Hat, were impressive, melding flashy and subtle into a stunning combination.

 

Brimming with music and dancing and fun,

Oakcrest’s performance was second to none.

An utter delight for its whole duration,

This production of Seussical deserves a standing ovation!

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