If you were one of the many who had a chance to catch the recent staging of Seussical by Riverfront Theatre Company last weekend, then you need to tell yourself, how lucky you are.
The popular youth theatre company staged a three-day run of the popular Dr. Seuss musical to mostly capacity crowds at the Olde Walkerville Theatre from May 25 to 27. With a cast of 24 main characters, seven junior characters and 17 ensemble members, this was no easy undertaking.
The musical mostly combines the plots of Horton Hears A Who and Horton Hatches the Egg, although the Grinch makes an appearance, along with Thing 1 and Thing 2. The Cat in the Hat serves as the narrator, helping to tell the story and comment on the action (as well as stirring up a little mischief along the way).
Kaylee Cabrera was a hoot at the Cat in the Hat. She gave the cat an inspired performance that seemed to resemble the cartoon version of the furry feline. After the intermission, she went tearing through the crowd looking for her signature hat, which caused some fun interactions with audience members. Along with her over-the-top acting skills, she’s also a terrific singer and dancer, which was notable right from the musical’s opening number “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!”
Marissa Dodich was fun as Jo-Jo, the main Who in the story. She captured how tough being different can be, showing great courage in following her own path. Dodich delivered a heartfelt rendition of “It’s Possible,” singing about the need to dream.
Elijah David’s Horton was quiet and resilient throughout the show. He was fun to watch and his costume was exaggerated by a pair of really big ears. His sadness comes through in “Alone in the Universe,” and “How Lucky You Are,” sung when everything seemed to be falling apart.
Abby Soulliere gave Gertrude McFuzz a really great “hopelessly devoted to you” kind of vibe. Her devotion and love for Horton came through while singing “Notice Me, Horton. She also sang fondly of the great lengths she’d gone to find Horton in “All for You,”
Sour Kangaroo (Allyson Johnston) and Young Kangaroo (Jane St. Louis) were bright and sassy. They had no time or patience for Horton, poking fun at him in “Biggest Blame Fool”. Johnston’s voice was strong and stylish when she sang.
Jenna LePage looked awesome in her Mayzie La Bird outfit. She gave the bird a saucy fun-loving and colorful flair. Her version of “How Lucky You Are” is a sultry number very different from Horton’s. She perfectly captured the selfishness of Mayzie, but she’s provided the character so much zest that is was actually hard to be angry with her.
Denise Duckett’s costumes seemed to be inspired greatly from the original books, but also gave the characters easy to wear choices that weren’t too hard to navigate. Every character was immediately identifiable through their costume, helpful in such a large cast. My personal favourites were the Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes which Grace Clarkson and Sydney Bondy put to great use with their amazing flips, twists and jumping around – exactly what one would expect if the Things were really there.
Seussical’s set was big, bold and so full of Seussisms that it took a small army to construct it: Nico McIntosh, John Garswood, Eric Tulp, Oliver Donaldson and Doug Clarkson.
Elena Holowitz directed and choreographed a visual gem, including a fun Circus McGurkus sequence which almost appeared as if it was a real three-ring circus and a very artistic black light sequence where the actors hands glowed in the dark as they danced around the stage.
The only issue with the production was some minor sound issues that may have been solved with more microphones and a stronger vocal mix. The Olde Walkerville Theatre is a large place and some of the voices just didn’t travel far enough without mics.
Riverfront Theatre Company is an exciting theatrical training and performance experience for the youth of Windsor and Essex County. Their next production, Mary Poppins (based on the children’s books by P. L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film) is scheduled for May 17-19 and 24-26, 2019.
Seussical Cast and Crew:
The Cat in the Hat: Kaylee Cabrera
Jojo: Marissa Dodich
Horton the Elephant: Elijah David
Gertrude McFuzz: Abby Soulliere
Mayzie LaBird: Jenna LePage
The Sour Kangaroo: Allyson Johnston
Mr. Mayor: Nathan Perry
Mrs. Mayor: Adrianna Rota
General Gengus Khan Schmitz: Matt Hogan
Wickersham Brother (Pink): Julian David
Wickersham Brother (Orange): Jake LePage
Wickersham Brother (Green): Lex Young
Wickersham Brother (Yellow): Ryan Nesbit
Bird Girl (Pink): Emma Longeuay
Bird Girl (Orange): Serena David
Bird Girl (Green): Brinda Benher
Bird Girl (Yellow): Meredith Garswood
Cadets: Hailey Chase, Natalia Dube, Nick Lane, Alanah O’Reilley, Lilly Renaud
Thing One: Grace Clarkson
Thing Two: Sydney Bondy
Circus McGurkus: Katie Hales, Brooke Samms
The Grinch: Isaiah Pinkowski
Vlad Vladikoff: Katie Hales
Yertle the Turtle: Ryan MacLean
Senior Ensemble (Whos, Circus Performers, Jungle Animals, etc.): Hailey Chase, Ayslin Downhill, Livia Downhill, Natalia Dube, Priya Dube, MacKenzie Ewen, Anne Garant, Faith Lamas, Nick Lane, Bella Lavoie, Sierra LePage, Alanah O’Reilley, Ruairi Porcellini, Lilly Renaud, Kendra Simone, Melanie Tennant, Alisa Whalen.
Sour Joey: Jane St. Louis
Thing 3 and 4: Samantha Davies, Leala Quinlan
Cat’s Fish: Elijah Lafontaine
Lorax: Rachel Tennant
Star-Bellied Sneetch and Starless Sneetch: Kenzy Risto, Lorelai McLeod
Max the Dog: Cooper Kemp
Elephant Bird: Rosie Renaud
Director & Choreographer: Elena Holowitz
Assistant Director: Caroline Garswood
Music Director: Jeffery Gartshore
Assistant Music Director: Meredith Garswood
Dance Captains: Kaylee Cabrera, Grace Clarkson
Stage Manager: Crystal Benn
Technical Director: Nico McIntosh
Audio Board Operator: Eric Tulp
Audio Assistant: Oliver Donaldson
Lighting Director: Sabin Visan
Lighting Assistant: Logan Murphy
Backstage Audio/Stage Hands: Fung Shin Tan, Danielle Campbell
Technical Advisors: Crystal Benn & Jon Renaud
Videographer: Katina Vido
Poster & Graphic Design: Colleen Coleman
Costume Director: Denise Duckett
Personal Costume Assistant: Mackenzie Ewen
Costume Team: Julie Hebert, Nicole David, Andrea Sabine
Hair & Makeup: Dima Bedawi
Set Design & Production/Properties: Nico McIntosh, John Garswood, Eric Tulp, Oliver Donaldson, Doug Clarkson