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Monessen performing arts students will stage 'Seussical the Musical Jr.'

| Friday, March 15, 2013, 4:24 p.m.
Submitted photo
The Monessen High School/Middle School will present 'Seussical the Musical Jr.' at 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 22 and 4 p.m. March 23. Shown, back row, from left, is Elishia Lippincott (Mayzie La Bird), Alyssia Williams (Gertrude McFuzz), Joey Fuoco (Horton), and Levi Henry (Cat in The Hat). In the front, from left, is Alexis Trost (Thing 1) and Sara Layne (Thing 2).

The Monessen High School/Middle School Group for the Performing Arts will be jumping into the adventurous land of Dr. Seuss for its spring musical.

The performing arts students will present “Seussical the Musical Jr.” 7:30 p.m. March 21 and 22, and 4 p.m. March 23 at Monessen High School.

Among the students bringing the cast to life are Joey Fuoco as Horton, Caitlyn Frolo as JoJo, Alyssia Williams as Gertrude McFuzz, Elishia Lippincott as Mayzie La Bird, Levi Henry as the Cat in the Hat, and Tyler Caterino as the Grinch.

Musical producer/assistant director Hilary Brown said that “Seussical Jr.” is a musical for children of all ages that feature Dr. Seuss's favorite characters. The beloved story is a tale of adventure, romance, good deeds and fun.

“Seussical Jr.” explores the witty, wild and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss and “Oh, the places you will go.”

The musical is a trip back to childhood to the Land of The Whos and the Jungle of Nool, where the delightfully zany characters were created by one of the most beloved storytellers of all time.

“Seussical Jr.” was developed by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Eric Idle, and is based on the works of Dr. Seuss. With music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, the score is a “wonderful Seussian mix of musical styles, ranging from Latin to pop, swing to gospel, and rhythym and blues to funk,” organizers said.

The musical begins with the Cat in the Hat telling the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, a Who child who gets in trouble for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton faces a double challenge--not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Brown added that musical director Corey Schildkamp, choreographer/assistant director Tyra Chiaravelle, costume designer Lorry McMahon from Opening Night Costumes, and many high school/middle school students have turned the stage into an “extravaganza of color, movement, and musical amazement.”

“The cast of over 45 students have been transformed into The Who's, Jungle Creatures, Sour Kangaroo, Bird Girls, not-so-bad-monkeys (Wickersham Brothers) to tease, support and back up the Cat in the Hat, Gertrude, Yertle the Turtle, Mazie La Bird, JoJo and others,” Brown said.

The three performances are all open to the public, and tickets are $4 for children 12 and under children and $8 for adults.

Dr. Seuss souvenirs, a gift auction and refreshments will be sold at intermission to benefit future stage productions.

Tickets can be purchased at Monessen High School, 724-684-7100, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m and also at the door before performances.

“Our hope is that the cast will gain self-esteem and self-confidence in a process that maximizes teamwork, concentration, focus, give and take, multi-task skills and pure joy,” Brown said.