Theatre Charlotte is currently staging “Seussical” through September 27th. The clocking is ticking — you should definitely take a few hours to go lapse into the land of Dr. Seuss if you’ll be in Charlotte and have the opportunity.
From the Theatre Charlotte website:
“A fantastical, magical musical extravaganza bringing to life many of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and all of the Whos of Whoville. These classic, colorful tales are seamlessly brought together by Jojo, a young boy and “thinker of strange and wonderful thinks!” As each story unfolds, you will marvel at how relevant and profound Seuss’ themes are, making this a musical that appeals to all ages. The score is a Seussian gumbo of musical styles, ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel and R&B to funk.”
The entire show was fun, silly, and enjoyable. I probably didn’t get as much out of it as many of you would, because I never had much exposure to the works of Dr. Seuss as a child, and haven’t read them to children (like a growing number of my friends have.) Still, despite not “getting” many of the clever references to Seuss books, the show was absolutely delightful.
All of the performers are good, but with such a large cast, most of them tended to fade into the ensemble. With so many people on stage at once, and all of them doing a good job, it became difficult for any individual performers to stand out and be exceptional. There were, however, a few people that I feel deserved a special shout-out for their contributions.
Andy Faulkenberry as the “Cat in the Hat” was phenomenal. The pure control he had over his movements was astonishing, displaying a fluid grace that continued to amaze me throughout the show. Every time he appeared on the stage, you could be certain that a grin was soon to appear on your face.
Stuart Spencer as “Horton the Elephant” showed quite a different side of his acting chops compared to his previous role in The Full Monty. There’s a sweet tenderness in this performance, replacing the downtrodden desperation from The Full Monty with frustrated determination in Seussical, and he continues to show a good heart, strong acting, and beautiful vocals.
Winston Sims had three roles, playing the Grinch, Vlad, and Yertle. All three were great — while he didn’t have a lot of time in any one role, the three roles combined gave him a good opportunity to show his talent. It took me a minute to realize they were all the same actor, but after a moment’s contemplation I had to admit it was appropriate… The roles never coincided with one another, and he was completely believable in all three separately.
The most pleasant surprise for me was seeing Ryan Deal as the Mayor of Whoville. I met Ryan when he first moved to Charlotte years ago, and knew that he loved musical theatre, but I didn’t realize he was an actor… His debut performance (a debut for me, anyway) was very well done, and left me hoping to see him again in another role soon.
Two groups each were terrific: Carmen Coulter, Caroline Firczak, Emily Hunter, and Courtney Johnson made an adorable troupe of Bird Girls, with spirited costumes, graceful dances, and beautiful singing. And the Wickersham Brothers, played by George Barrett, Robert Blanton, and Devontae White, entertained each time they brought their mischief to the stage.
Director Ron Law has brought together a wonderful and talented cast, and children of all ages will enjoy this joyous production. Click here to buy tickets; you’ll be glad you did.