TheatreworksUSA invites local audiences to watch as they bring the world of Dr. Seuss to life, and bring out the child in all of us.
The touring production company will present "Seussical" at 2 p.m. Sunday in Eisenhower Auditorium, University Park.
"Seussical" draws upon the plots of Dr. Seuss' most famous titles, including "Horton Hears a Who," "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" and "Green Eggs and Ham." The host of the show is none other than The Cat in the Hat himself.
In the TheatreworksUSA production of “Seussical,” Shorey Walker (shown here with Karen Weiberg) plays The Cat in the Hat, the show’s narrator.
The condensed, one-act version of the Broadway show being presented by Theatreworks is a great introduction to theater, said Marcia Milgrom Dodge, who has directed the production since 2006. And though it's not meant to be a "sophisticated, adult" musical, Dodge said,"Seussical" does not come with an age limit for enjoyment.
"It's really a musical for kids of all ages," she said. "This particular approach to the show allows everyone to be transported back to those days when you're a young person just finding out who your friends are, what makes you tick, what sparks your imagination."
Sparking the imagination is an important facet to the production, Dodge said, adding that many of the conceptual ideas came from watching her daughter when she was in middle school playing with others in the school yard.
The scaled-down production uses found objects as the scenery and props, with a wooden spoon becoming a pistol or a paddle for a boat, or an oversized shirt turning the characters into monkeys. This allows children to recreate the world of Dr. Seuss at home, Dodge said.
"What I do as a director is find the essence of character and behavior, and not overload it with scenic elements," she said. "Everything is created from real life and given a theatrical environment to blossom inside of."
The valuable lessons about friendship and relationships found in Dr. Seuss books are also not lost on "Seussical." Dodge said the way the show takes these lessons and provides them in a new, exciting way is what she personally loves so much about being involved.
"I love what the story has to say, that a person is a person no matter how small," she said.
Laura Sullivan, marketing and communications director for Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, said TheatreworksUSA puts on a production there almost every year, and they are always happy with the company and production value.
She added that she knows of many high school and college students coming to see the show, and a 10 a.m. school performance on Monday has already sold out.
"We have a nice crowd," she said.
The fact that the production is not overly long is good because even the youngest members of the audience should have the attention span for it, Sullivan said. And for anyone looking for some pre-show fun, CPA will also sponsor a kids event an hour before the show with activities like crafts and Penn State athletes reading Dr. Seuss books aloud.
"You can make a really nice day of it," she said.
Dodge said she hopes locals will take the opportunity to see this Broadway-caliber production at its low price.
"Just to see Dr. Suess characters come to life in an imaginative way, it's quite an opportunity," she said. "And it's short. It's not three hours of your life. You'll get a lot of bang for your buck with this show."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.