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Review

 

Itís the musical celebrating the source that spurred so many of us into reading, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrensí Seussical the Musical, and the Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network kicks it off in an apropos way. A teacher reading The Cat in the Hat to her students. One of the little boys, a boy later to be known as Jojo, lingers behind, notices an unusual hat, and soon a large Cat literally pops out of book, giving young Jojo plenty of big thinks to think about as Dr. Seussís imagination comes to life on stage through the story of Horton the Elephant with lots of other Seussís thinks thrown into the mix.

Director/Choreographer Alison Bretches and her group have a ton of fun with this one, with great performances and a lot of attention paid to each scene beginning with the huge opening number featuring their 200-member cast that fills up the stage and the aisles with lively and funky choreography performed with great energy and precision by the cast ranging in age from early elementary school to a few college kids.

That cast includes several great individual talents. Sammy Lopez is our dynamic emcee, The Cat in the Hat himself, leading the way with great attitude and humor. Thirteen-year-old Bella Briscoe is an outstanding Jojo with a great voice and nice touches like watching and picking up the mannerisms of the whos after the Cat makes him become one, and later when scolded by his parents for thinking too much when he daydreams about McElligotís Pool, giving the song a touching ending when he looks on the verge of tears Ė a sensitive boy who loves his thinks and resolves to not give up on them, inspiring the Cat with his courage.

And then there are the characters in the story within the story, with a very likeable Mike Sheldon as the loyal Horton the Elephant defending the whos that only he hears even when everyone else thinks heís crazy and he feels Alone in the Universe (with Jojo), and sitting on an egg when he gets tricked into it by Mayzie LaBird. Stefanie Miller is said Amazing Mayzie with good flirting and diva-ish charm as she talks Horton into sitting on her egg and shakes her gorgeous tail feathers in the face of the poor, envious one-feathered-tailed Gertrude McFuzz, the plain bird next door with a humongous crush on Horton the Elephant. Mady Rasy is brilliant in the role, a marvelous physical comedian and a natural sense of humor and original personality, also doing some great vocal work as the nerdy bird, but with a voice that can clearly knock it out in a non-nerdy way when needed.

Rounding out the cast is thirteen-year-old Brianca Renfro who nails her big vocals and character as the Sour Kangaroo giving Horton a hard time, while the Bird Girls make for fun and charming narrators and the Wickersham Brothers are very cool and intimidating bullies. While the ensemble of whos and jungle animals excel throughout, from the big opening number to the exciting conclusion.

Fresh off their recent publicity with their former student Adam Lambert in the limelight, MET2 keeps the good press coming with this production that shines on all levels Ė delightful sets by Alison Bretches, nice lighting effects by Mark Zetler, tons of enchanting costumes by Andrae Gonzalo and Kathie Urban (who founded the company with her late husband), and fantastic direction and choreography by Alison Bretches that captures both the goofy fun and the more touching moments possible with this show, from the sheer magic of McElligotís Pool complete with exotic fishes, jellyfishes (umbrellas with streamers), cool lighting, props, and a disco ball for bubbles, to Mayzieís painful rejection of her egg leading immediately into the beautifully poignant lullaby of Solla Sollew as a tearful Horton tries his best to be a father while he and the other cast members dream their own dreams, sharing a utopian vision and yet another world that Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss, gave to us.

Performs May 23 - 24, 2009

Rob Hopper
Executive Director
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
 
 
Cat: Sammy Lopez
Horton: Max Sheldon
Gertrude: Mady Rasey
Jojo: Bella Briscoe
Mayzie: Stefanie Miller
Bird Girl #1: Alyxon Knell and Kristen Cleavinger
Bird Girl #2: Brittany Tangermann and Sara Gutierrez
Bird Girl #3: Jessica Stern and Tiffany Conway
Sour Kangaroo: Brianca Renfro
Young Kangaroo: Chloe Stewart
Wickersham Brothers:
Anthony Fisher
Harold Wise
Josh Tangermann
Mr. Mayor: Ross Watkins
Mrs. Mayor: Beth Roby
Grinch: Geoff Lloyd
Yertle the Turtle: Geoff Lloyd
Marshal: Stephanie Roby
Vlad Vladikoff: Spencer Geu
Thing 1 & 2: Brystal Geu and Ryan Almario
Court Reporter: Erica Dukovich
Librarian: Deb Solomon
Jose: Jesse Duffield
Renee: Alex Gorga
Ensemble:
Hannah Alford
Rhys Almario
Ryan Almario
Haley Ambriz
Annabelle Anderson
Emma Anderson
Susana Anderson
Tait Anderson
Teo Anderson
Kate Armstrong
Lily Arvizu
Lucy Arvizu
Anna Bahen
Alexis Baker
Hallie Baker
Gabrielle Baylon
Abby Bilmes
Hannah Bourasa
Megan Bourasa
Courtney Brooks
Madeleine Brown
Crystal Camerillo
Elyssa Camerino
Victoria Celano
Brennan Chloes
Bryce Chloes
Chad Chloes
Jen Chloes
Kelsie Chloes
Lauren Cohen
David Coleman
Lisa Coleman
Scott Coleman
Emilie Comer
Hanna Comer
Morgan Curella
Taylor Davis
Sarah de Leon
Sydney Delville
Rebecca Dhillon
Nicole Dill
Alyssa Dombrowski
Kyle Donahue
Andrew Dorko
Joy Dorko
Odeliah Dorko
Tori Dorn
JD Duffield
Jesse Duffield
Erica Dukovich
Madison Elliott
Tyler Ellison
Alexa Emmenegger
Joe Emmenegger
Elizabeth Faaborg
Paige Faaborg
Alexandra Ferrell
Kirsten Filler
Anthony Fisher
Desiree Foster
Allie Garcia
Samantha Garrity
Olivia Gastaldo
Brystal Geu
McKenna Geu
Spencer Geu
Christopher Glenon
Sophia Goepfert
Stephanie Goetz
Alexandria Gorga
Angelica Gorga
Laurel Gray
Savannah Gray
Carli Halverson
Emily Hempton
Katherine Hempton
Laura Hempton
Sarah Hempton
Lauren Henry
Dante Hernandez
Vanessa Hernandez
Samantha Hesters
Natalie Hewitson
Christy Heyne
Madison Hobbs
Savannah Hobbs
Veronica Hodge
Cole Hoffman
Gillian Horn
Megan Jacobs
McKenzie Jester
Reilly Jester
Kristina Johnson
Tina Joshi
Sydney Joyner
Kevin Kapka
Kyle Kenny
Emily Kerrigan
Katelyn Keyser
Cambry King
Collin King
Brian Krause
Colton Kychik
Jessica Kychik
Tina Leef
Lauren Lehosky
Kira Lewis
Toby Lindsay
Hollyn Littlefield
Allison Lloyd
Jessica Lumm
Spencer Lynn
Belem Maldonado
Isabel Maldonado
Rowan McNeil-Spooner
Sara Melby
Olivia Mills
Alexis Miranda
Michael Miranda
Gabriela Moore
Michael Moreau
Liora Naor
Annie Nichols
Spencer Nichols
Elora Nielson
Rhiannon Nielson
Lisa Nukuto
Sophia Nukuto
Daniel O'Meara
Ian O'Meara
Molly O'Meara
Chris Onderisin
Meghan O'Neill
Kaelynn Opalec
Zoe Opalec
Yasmin Pakzad
Lane Palhegyi
Jessica Perlman
Jessica Posey
Jamie Roberts
Beth Roby
Couortney Roby
Stephanie Roby
Hannah Ronningen
Silvia Roy
Karinne Sandstrom
Kaleih Santiago
Stephanie Sawaya
Alyssa Schulte
Samantha Shaffer
David Shanes
Jessica Shanes
Carissa Shelton
Janessa Silva
Erik Sinisi-Dang
Bella Smith
Kella Smith
Debra Solomon
Jason Solomon
Samantha Solomon
Scott Spinks
Jessica Stern
Laila Stewart
Chloe Stuart
Debbie Stuart
Kyla Stuart
Malia Stuart
Katie Stuckey
Tina Stuckey
Madeline Sullivan
Maxine Sutton
Jessica Taylor
Sarah Trott
Cole Twogood
Danika Twogood
Chloe Ulrich
Kathleen Ulrich
Shenendoah Utech
Gia Versales
Zachary Waters
Roma Watkins
Ross Watkins
Sara Webb
Amy Williams
Elizabeth Williams
Shelby Wolfe
Jessica Wright
Samantha Yeater
Trevor Yeater
Mary Zeldin

Director and Choreographer: Alison Bretches
Musical Directors: Laura Dorko and Graham Jackson
Costume Design: Andrae Gonzalo and Kathie Urban
Lighting Design: Mark Zetler
Scenic Design: Alison Bretches
Production Photography: Nancy Hickey
Production Stage Managers: Jacob Harvey and Jalaina Ross

* denotes adults

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