“Seussical, the Musical” is Whole Family Fun

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

We passed a most energetic evening Friday night as Clio Cast & Crew opened the rollicking Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens revue based on the writings of children’s favorite Dr. Seuss and titled Seussical, the Musical.  With a huge cast of mostly young people (we counted 47 in all!) cavorting around a cartoon festooned set, this is an incredible production.  It is a lively, bright, and colorful treat for the whole family.

Narrating the tale, of course, is Cat in the Hat played with terrific charm and spunk by A.J. Cannon (we found it hard to believe he’s never had a leading role before). He is abetted ably by Sam Carter as JoJo, the youngster who finds himself trapped in the miniscule world of the Who.  Carter’s bubbly personality and enthusiastic attack was tone setting.  Rounding out the trio of leading characters is Jon Rak as Horton, the elephant who hears the Who and takes a lot of flack for trying to rescue this tiny group from the dust mote where they reside. Horton’s nurturing spirit gets him into more than one scrape along the way to the final happy ending. Perhaps the strongest male voice in the show, Rak stands out with his signature song, “Alone in the Universe”.

As with many Seuss stories, the smallest voices make the biggest noise and the whole Who community, in their varying shades of yellow and gold, are no exception.  Led by the wide-eyed Mayor (Alex Vincent) and his cocktail-sipping wife (Jody Henderson), this group sings, cavorts and generates smiles and laughter every time they appear.

Overall, director Ashleigh Tillman’s cast is evenly talented and creative making it difficult to single out performers.  A few did make an impression including Sour Kangaroo (Donna Korpi) and her Mini Me (Clara Usealman). Korpi’s voice is strong and she makes a striking impression visually while little Clara nearly steals the show with her mimicking moves.

As Gertrude, the bird with one tail feather, Lisl Knizner’s voice is strong, clear, and diction perfect. We appreciate that, especially when some of the show’s lyrics were not so easily understood.

This is an all-musical show with one song following another throughout the nearly two-hour show (including an intermission).  Music director Gary King’s seven-piece orchestra is never seen but their accompaniment is flawless, never too loud and continuous.

We wondered if director Tillman may have been a traffic engineer in another life as his staging of this fast-paced show with its huge cast of youngsters (many of them new to any stage) is impeccable. This crowd moves on and off in a blink and utilizes the many and varied levels and entrances crafted into the set like pros.

With nary a bad seat in the Theatre 57 house, we would advise everyone to grab the kids or grandkids and head out to Clio to see Seussical, the Musical before it closes on May 19.  For tickets and information contact the box office at 810-687-2588 or online at www.cliocastandcrew.com

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4 Responses to “Seussical, the Musical” is Whole Family Fun

  1. LislK says:

    -* Lisl KnizNer (It was also misspelled in the program).

  2. usealman says:

    Thank you so much for the awesome review! Spelling is Clara Usealman. Again, thank you I’m glad you enjoyed the show!

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