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Stage Right's 'Seussical' offers songs, messages

| Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Rebecca Emanuele | for the Tribune Review
(from right front) Lauren Crooks of Greensburg, Grace Townsend of Irwin, Grace Rusnick of Hempfield, Carolyn Jerz of Greensburg, Anthony Marino of Greensburg, (from left back) Aria Markijohn of Harrison City, Gia Marino of Greensburg, Claire Harkins of Latrobe, Maya Bhatnagar of Greensburg, Renata Marino; Stage Right choreographer, Marissa Auer of Greensburg, Tony Marino, Stage Right director, Kevin O'Leary of Pittsburgh, Becky Shirey of Greensburg, Alyssa Zagorac of Robinson Township, Dylan Baughman of Greensburg, Leigh Jerz of Greensburg, Alyssa Tomchek of Harrison City and Dennis Jerz of Greensburg, rehearse for the upcoming Stage Right production of Seussical on Wednesday evening, April 17, 2013 at Stage Right in Greensburg, PA.

He might not be easily recognized by his given name, Theodor Seuss Geisel, but the whole world knows about the creative genius of Dr. Seuss. The beloved children's author and cartoonist who gave us such memorable characters as the Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle and Horton the Elephant is celebrated in Stage Right's season-ending production, “Seussical the Musical.”

The best of more than a dozen Dr. Seuss stories make up the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical, with snippets and songs from the kids' classic “Green Eggs and Ham,” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and a lot more.

Stage Right artistic director Anthony Marino directs and takes on the role of Horton, who becomes the subject of taunting and ridicule from his fellow animals for befriending a speck of dust and looking after Mayzie LaBird's (Maurissa Auer) egg. His only allies are Gertrude McFuzz (Renata Marino) and young Jojo (Anthony Marino and Reed Demangone).

The director says he chose “Seussical” as the season finale because it's “a perfect family musical and that is an audience we want to serve. Plus, this story is a beautiful one of believing in one's self and each other. It features characters that put others' needs before their own, and the songs will stick with you forever.”

Kevin O'Leary portrays the Cat in the Hat, who serves as narrator. He wanted to be involved in the Stage Right production because Dr. Seuss books were a big part of his childhood and “Seussical” is one of his favorite musicals.

One of his favorite lines in the show is from Seuss' “Horton Hears a Who” — “A person's a person, no matter how small.” The sentiment can have meaning for actors who might feel that their role is small and unimportant to a production, he says, proving that “everyone makes a difference.”

“Seussical” also brings a message for people not to be afraid to “think the impossible,” says Alyssa Zagorac, who portrays Jojo's mother and the mayor's wife in the musical. She says her favorite part of this show, which features a cast of 75 youngsters, teens and adults, is being able to help the younger actors, especially the preteens she teaches at Stage Right who have roles in the production.

“I was in this show when I was in high school, so it's come full circle for me. I can guide our students like those before me did for me,” she says.

The cast also features Dyland Baughman as the Mayor, John Noble as the General and Clare Harkins as the Sour Kangaroo. Cindy Baltzer is musical director.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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