JoJo’s been thinking strange thinks again. This time he’s
doing it in Stevensville, Michigan where Doug Fordyce’s Kids On Stage bring the
magical world of Dr. Seuss from the book to the stage in Lynn Ahrens’ and
Stephen Flaherty’s Seussical. It’s a fun and wild ride based on the
story of Horton the Elephant, but with all sorts of other colorful Seuss
creations thrown in.
With highly impressive costumes and sets, Doug Fordyce’s
show is a feast for the eyes. Those whos down in Whoville know how to get
decked out. And there are a lot of them. A huge, energetic cast of whos and
jungle animals keep things lively as we wander through the tale of Horton and
his singular speck of dust.
That Horton is played by Max Smith who fits the part
very well, portraying an easygoing, loyal elephant with nice touches of humor
thrown in. He’s pretty much Alone in the Universe at first, besides the
invisible town of whos that only he can hear, and the bird-next-door Gertrude
whom he doesn’t seem to hear much no matter how many love songs she sings to
him or how big she gets her tail to grow. Allie Hoyt is said Gertrude,
using her voice and personality to capture Gertrude’s with sweet and amusing
skill, whether she’s vainly trying to impress him with tail enhancements or
listing everything’s she done for him.
Most other people aren’t doing much for him. Sarah
Wallsten in “Amazing Mayzie” – the humorously vain, beautifully feathered
bird who finds that an egg cramps her style, with Sarah packing her character
with a lot of style. The Wickersham Brothers Monkey Around with good
badness, the Bird Girls narrate our story well, and young Toni Priebe
nails her role exceptionally well with both voice and sassiness as the Sour
Kangaroo and the Young Kangaroo in her pouch, too.
But are all these merely just big thinks of a little
boy (a vibrant and expressive Ellen Schrock
), egged on by none other
than the mischievous Cat in the Hat, with Misha Trux
all the trouble she causes in her cat guise. Perhaps enjoying it as much as
we’ve enjoyed Dr. Seuss through the years as he’s taught generations of us to
read while firing our imaginations for more than half a century.
Performed April 11-13, 2008