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Some of Seuss’ most beloved characters perform in high-energy production of ‘Seussical the Musical’ in Draper

Aug 28, 2017 03:13PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Casey Dean, who plays the Grinch, reads “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to Whos at “Seussical the Musical.” (Lexi Peery/City Journals)

Gallery: Suessical [6 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Lexi Peery | l.peery@cityjournals.com

An energetic cast took the stage at Draper Historic Theatre, singing and dancing to some of Dr. Seuss’ most iconic stories in “Seussical the Musical.” The show ran from Aug. 4 to 26, and featured talented local performers of all ages.

Even from opening night, the cast gave it their all as they brought to life some of Dr. Seuss’ most cherished characters. “Seussical the Musical” tells the story of Horton the Elephant finding an inhabited speck of dust and the ensuing journey to keep thoe Whos safe on that speck. Numerous Dr. Seuss characters and stories are intertwined in Horton’s story, with Dr. Seuss’ beloved Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two guiding the audience through the Seuss-filled show.

“From the very beginning we knew it was going to be an amazing show, just because of how talented the cast is and how hard they worked,” Taylor Twitchel, one of the directors of the show, said proudly after opening night. “We could have opened two weeks ago and had just as an amazing show.”

The cast started out rehearsing in a local park near the theater, and from the get-go, Twitchel said the cast was already showing how dedicated they were to having a terrific show. From the first few times the cast sang through the show, performers already had songs memorized and were working on harmonizing.

As the cast worked to sing in harmony together, they fell into a rhythm of working in harmony as well —  choreographing the dances, practicing their improvisation and building the set for the musical. Besides learning his own part as one of the main characters of the show, Doug Cahoon, who plays Horton the Elephant, helped choreograph different dances throughout the show.

“Everyone put in their best work … It was definitely a group effort. Draper Historic Theatre really has the community come together and do this together,” Cahoon said. “And the directors, Alix (Van Noy) and Taylor (Twitchel), really let us create the show ourselves.”

Interactions the Cat in the Hat has with the audience throughout the show, and the shenanigans Thing One and Thing Two get into, were mostly left up to the performers to come up with. Michelle Hickman, who plays the Cat in the Hat, said starting out rehearsals in the park could have been terribly chaotic, but the visions Van Noy and Twitchel had for the show kept the cast on track.

“That could have gone awry, with 40 people running around in a park and 20 of them kids,” Hickman, 25, said. “But the directors had such an idea of what they wanted to allow us to do and give us opportunities to try those things, and it worked well.”

In terms of her own improvisation throughout the show, Hickman said it was something that took a lot of work. The Cat in the Hat, who acts as the narrator, is onstage a majority of the show. Hickman kept the audience entertained by involving them during the performance, stopping a few times to grab a handful of an audience member’s popcorn. 

“Improvising isn’t really my cup of tea, so that was kind of difficult to get out of my comfort zone,” Hickman said. “(Practicing was just) a lot of trying things out on other people and seeing how they went, and as those went well, I got more and more comfortable with the people I worked with.”

Sixteen-year-old Ally McCune played a Who named Jojo, who ends up being forced to join the military after her parents decide Jojo spends too much time daydreaming. McCune spoke positively about all of her cast members, and mentioned how close the cast has gotten.

“One really fun thing that I haven’t done in a show before, is we have a mic backstage that we all get to sing around for songs that are going on onstage,” McCune said. “We get to sing along and dance backstage and it makes us closer because we get to be silly and fun backstage … It’s just such a colorful and energetic show, you could come into rehearsal or the show totally exhausted and the music starts playing and you get into it, it’s a really fun show.” 

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