Footlight's Rep's junior division's summer musical is "Seussical Jr." which creates the witty, wild and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. It reveals a world where anything is possible from an elephant in a tree, to a person too tiny to see, to a heroic child and dreams running wild. The show is a magical, musical world where helping a friend, never giving up and keeping a promise come true. The original Broadway show opened on November 30, 2000 and ran for 198 performances. It is the re-imagining of Dr. Seuss, which weaves together many of his famous stories and characters in unexpected ways. The Tony Award winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who wrote "Ragtime" and "Once on this Island", created the book and the score which includes pop, gospel and R&B numbers. The storyline begins with the Cats and the Hat appearing to Jo Jo of the Who's and the cats narrate the proceedings. It will take the Cats in the Hat, Horton, the elephant, Gertrude McFuzz and a gaggle of characters to bring harmony back to their world. Directors Neil Jeronimo and Tricia Rodrigues, musical director Kasey Jeronimo and choreographer Barry Pereira bring out the best in their young cast members, obtaining stunning performances from one and all. Bravo on a job very well done!
The set designed by Neil is gorgeous and colorful as are the costumes by Tricia. The lighting design by Neil is flawless and spot on inducing the mood for each scene perfectly. Jillian Levesque and Emily Marshall command the stage as the Cats in the Hat with their dynamic portrayal of this mischievous character. Their many different roles are hilarious and their interactions with the other cast members is astounding, too. Their singing voices are powerful whether they are singing to the audience or the other characters. They play the part of the circus owner, the newscaster and the quack doctor. Jillian and Emily lead the cast in many numbers including "Oh the Thinks you Can Think" which tells them to be imaginative and think for themselves which turns into a huge dance number. They also do a vaudeville number called "How Lucky You Are" and "Havin' a Hunch" with Jo Jo to help her find her way back home. Avery Kuznar is the little girl who plays Jo Jo and she captures the hearts of the audience in this role with her topnotch acting and strong singing voice. Her voice is crystal clear so you can understand every one of her lyrics with ease. Some of Avery's songs include "It's Possible", "Alone in the Universe" sung with Horton and "Havin' a Hunch" with the Cat and the chorus about how Jo Jo can return home. The third leading player is the talented Eddie Plante as Horton. Dressed as an elephant, he dances up a storm while his acting ability endears you to his tender-hearted character with his philosophy that a person is a person no matter how small. Eddie has a strong tenor voice which he displays in his many numbers including "Horton Hears a Who", :Alone in the Universe" with Avery and "How Lucky You Are" reprise. The "Solla Sallow" number brings tears to your eyes. Horton shows how to be a true friend throughout all his adventures.
Savannah DaSilva plays Gertrude McFuzz, a bird who is in love with Horton. She only has one tail feather and with the help of a quack doctor keeps growing more and more feathers. does a topnotch job as this insecure bird who finally helps Horton by being herself again. Some of her wonderful numbers include "The One Tail Feather of Gertrude McFuzz", "Notice Me Horton" and "All For You" where she admits she did everything for Horton. Bella Manchester plays the flamboyant bird, Mayzie who leaves her egg with Horton so she can take a vacation in Palm Beach. She sings "Amazing Mayzie", Latin number, "How Lucky You Are" with the Cat which tells you to be satisfied with what you have in your life and "Amazing Horton" when she leaves her egg with him. Bella is a terrific vocalist as are her bird girls played by Julia Ahasey, Macayla Goulet, Hollyanne Faria and Alessandra Maldonado. Another dynamic vocalist is Eliza Sirapenski as Sour Kangaroo. Her powerful voice is heard in "Biggest Blame Fool", "Chasing the Who's" and "People Versus Horton, the Elephant" and her acting is hilarious and Haley Lee plays her sidekick, Little Kangroo. She's a hoot, too. Kudos to all the hard working cast members who make this a show to be very proud of. So for a fun filled night of song and dance, be sure to catch "Seussical, Jr." before these wild and crazy characters dance their way out of town. Tell them Tony sent you.