Sunday, July 09, 2006
My Seussical the Musical Reviewsical
I was never into Dr. Seuss, for his books I had no use,
though mother read to me a lot, (one of my Best remembers as a tot).
She read me rhymes, the nursery kinds
and fairy's tells from all the tellers, and Brer Rabbit and his trickster fellers
then classic poetry and prose, like All of Edgar Allen Poe's.
But no Seuss!
OK OK I got that out of my system.
I saw Seussical the Musical at the Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier here in Chicago and it's hard to stop the rhymical thinks. But it is true, I could as a very young child and probably still can quote Poe's The Raven by heart, but It was not until I met Monica that I was introduced to Dr. Seuss and his characters.
Seussical the Musical is a clever combination of Dr. Seuss' books and characters. The sweet and loyal Horton the Elephant who lives in the Jungle of Nool along with Gertude McFuzz, Mayzie La Bird and the Bird Girls, the Wickersham's (monkeys), and the Sour Kangaroo. The Who's, who live on the itty-bitty planet of Whoville, include the mayor and his wife and their son JoJo.
It is a story about the power of imagination, the dangers of stifling it and about how everyone is important no matter who (pardon the pun) or how small or plain.
The staging is simple yet so creative it will wake up the sleeping imagination of even the most stodgy adult. I liked especially the bath tub scene with JoJo and the fish in the ocean.
The Cat in the Hat is the narrator played hysterically funny by E. Faye Butler complete with an Oprahish bit and many funny asides to the actors and audience. We were in the front row center(although there are really no bad seats at Shakespeare) so did not miss a single tease. This woman is good!
Horton the Elephant played with such sincerity by Bernie Yvon, rescues the Who's on their tiny planet and drops them on a clover leaf. The Jungle of Nool folks like the Sour Kangaroo and the Wickersham Brothers think Horton is daft for talking to a speck. Well um.... I see their point.
In Whoville, Mr. and Mrs. Mayor are trying to decide what to do about their son JoJo who keeps getting in trouble because of his extraordinary thinks. ( I love that, being a person of extraordinary thinks myself.)
Meanwhile, back in the jungle:
Gertrude McFuzz played by Brandy McClendon has a thing for Horton but she feels she is not going to be able to catch his eye because she has only one pitiful tail feather. Enter the beautiful Miss Mayzie La Bird. Mayzie tells Gertrude that she once was a plain Jane type too until she went to the doctor for some special tail growing pills. They work really well. Mayzie La Bird, who is played to the hilt by Alexandra Billings, is quite a colorful, peacock with a fannietastic tail, and she works it honey!
Brandy and Alexandra are both brilliant comediennes. It's so much fun seeing the difference between Brandy's sexually repressed, bespectacled, kinetic, small birdlike Gertrude energy and Alex's big, sashaying, party over here, sexy, saucy Mayzie energy. This really works!
The Wickersham's steal the clover leaf from Horton and drop it in a huge clover field! I remember Wickersham Travis Turner from Princess and the Pea at Shakespeare and fondly remember Berwick Haynes from Diva Diaries at Lake Shore Theater. These guys along with Devin DeSantis have some great dance numbers, cudos to the choreographer! The kids in the audience especially liked the Wickersham's.
Mayzie who is reluctantly sitting on a nearby nest, (after a one night stand that left her holding the egg) convinces the ever loyal Horton to sit for her while she takes a little vacation. Months go by and Mayzie does not come back.
Monica plays organ music here..........
Will Gertrude finally confess her love for Horton? Does she get that sexy tail? Will Horton even notice? Does Horton save the Who's? Is Mayzie the babymamma? And what about JoJo?
Find out right here! www.chicagoshakes.com
Seussical The Musical is wonderful theater for children because it moves along quickly with the story in rhyme and lots of dancing and good messages. For adults, it is also cleverly risque but don't worry it's daring will sail harmlessly over the little ones heads.
Congrats to everyone in this company!
After the show Monica and I waited for Alexandra. She and two other cast members signed autographs and posed for pictures for the kids. Alex is amazing with children and they love her. She is very animated and funny and gives such attention to each one, asking great kid questions especially to the shy kids. During the first week of Suessical previews, Alex had a young boy in her autograph line named Charlie. Charlie is Transgendered and his parents wisely brought him to see and meet Alex. During the show watching Alex I was thinking how proud and calming it must have been for this child and his parents to see this amazing artist. How hopeful and encouraged they must have felt after talking with her.
For us, it's always good to see Alex. We are always happy she is in town. But, to see Alex sitting on a nest....that is Priceless!