Quaker Valley HS to present 'Seussical'
Congratulations! Soon is the day, that some Quaker Valley students will be off and away ... performing the school's latest musical, “Seussical.”
Based on the stories of author Theodor Seuss Geisel — better known to the world under pen name Dr. Seuss — the musical incorporates some of the author's most famous stories: “Horton Hears a Who,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories,” and “The Cat in the Hat.”
Director Lou Valenzi believes this show will draw a wide and diverse crowd.
“We try to select the show that best fits our cast, showcases their talent and is an audience-pleaser. ‘Seussical' is a show for everyone — children and adults alike — because it is timeless. Most of us, at some point, have Dr. Seuss books and this show is a compilation of the many wonderful stories we all grew to know and love,” Valenzi said.
A former professional actor in Los Angeles, Valenzi appeared in several television shows and films, but his first love was always musical theater. Performing in both the United States and Canada, Valenzi had roles locally with the Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Pittsburgh CLO and Pittsburgh Public Theater.
He shares the following advice with his students when they are hesitant to audition for a role: “I always tell them to give it a try. Theater is about imagination and becoming someone or something different than they are in life. Do something outrageous, funny, silly.”
Senior John Pugh, who has been performing in school productions for seven years as well as with various community theater shows, plays the famous Cat in the Hat.
Stage fright has never been an issue for the performer, who plans on studying dramatic literature at New York University in the fall.
“I kind of experience the opposite of stage fright. The stage is where I feel the most comfortable,” Pugh said. “For me, certain everyday situations are more nerve-wracking than performing.”
Gabriella Saladino plays Jojo, and like Pugh, has been performing in school productions since middle school.
She said balancing school and rehearsals is demanding, but never to the point where she doesn't enjoy the show or her castmates.
“It can get stressful but it's never overwhelming,” Saladino said. “It involves some late nights but it is worth it in the end. It is hard to find time to spend outside of the musical as the days get closer to the show. Our cast is loving and supportive and that is all you need to have a fun, involved and nerveless show.”
Gertrude McFuzz will be portrayed by senior Katie Rostek, who has been in 25 shows since early childhood.
She has never had a problem balancing school and rehearsals, and attributes that to the number of times she's been on a stage, she said.
“I don't experience stage fright,” Rostek said. “I feel very comfortable on stage in general.”
Ruby Sevcik joins the cast of 33 as the Sour Kangaroo and became interested in theater after watching her older sister in productions.
Like the others, she has been in musicals before and hopes to continue her love of performing after graduating from Quaker Valley.
“I want to go to college for acting and hopefully have a career in theater,” Sevcik said. “There's nothing I would rather do for the rest of my life than be on stage.”
Christina Sheleheda is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.