Dallas Children's Theater
Director – Nancy Schaeffer
Musical Director—Pam Holcomb-McLain
Scenic Designer – Michelle Harvey
Lighting Designer –Aaron Johansen
Sound Designer – Marco Salinas
Costume Designer – Leila Heise
Video and Props Designer—H. Bart McGeehon
CAT IN THE HAT—Kyle Ignezi
SOUR KANGAROO—Ayanna Edwards
MAYOR OF WHOVILLE—Karl Schaeffer
BIRD GIRL/MRS. MAYOR—Amanda Brown
BIRD GIRL/ENSEMBLE—Gena Loe
BIRD GIRL/ENSEMBLE—Kristen Lee
WHO CITIZEN/ENSEMBLE—Zoe Roberts
WHO CITIZEN/ENSEMBLE—William Carleton
WHO CITIZEN/ENSEMBLE—Jeremy Coca
Reviewed Performance 9/18/2016
Reviewed by Genevieve Croft , Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Warning! You are about to be “Seussified!” Seussical follows the familiar Dr. Seuss characters of The Cat in the Hat, Horton, Miss Gertrude McFuzz, Jojo and many others in from the imagination of Theodore Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss. Since the 1930’s, Dr. Seuss books have taught youngsters to read, while pulling them into the imaginative and magical world of literature. Dr. Seuss passed away in 1990, but, his books continue to be a major presence in elementary school classrooms, libraries, and even into the film medium-popular adaptations have included “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Horton Hears a Who,” and most recently 2012’s “The Lorax.” No matter what the medium, children and adults alike have a great affection for the stories of Dr. Seuss, his wild imagination and simple rhyming couplets.
Set Designer Michelle Harvey nicely transformed the stage of the Baker Theater into a colorful and dazzling set. Not only were audiences transported to the magical world of the stories of Dr. Seuss, but also, the sets were very three-dimensional. It was as if the illustrated pages of the beloved storybooks had come to life on stage. The scenic designs were dressed with a wonderful spectrum of color, and there were many elements to the scenic design that were visually appealing, and appealing to elements of texture. Not only was the scenic design color-filled and visually pleasing, there were so many visual delights that caught my eye. Harvey kept her vision true to the story by incorporating lots of sparkle, as well as many dazzling elements to keep the audience engaged.
Lighting was designed by Aaron Johansen. Lighting, like the scenic design, was very color-filled and vibrant. The mood was clearly established as the audience was drawn into this fun and magical world. Lighting was very playful! It was a treat to see some lovely silhouettes of the actors that played upon the creative imaginations of the actors and audience members alike. The mood was established early and remained solidly consistent throughout the production. One surprise was the use of the blue light (a personal favorite effect of mine) during the “One Fish, Two Fish” portion of the production. I absolutely love it when the production company of Dallas Children’s Theatre comes out into the audience, and allows them to be a part of the production. Not only is it very interactive for the audience, but it also allows some of the magic to be very close. During this portion, my son, Paul (who is 6) was so excited to be immersed in sea bubbles and “blue” water as the fish swam around the audience. It was a very nice touch that certainly added magic to the production.
Costumes were designed by Leila Heise. Heise designed costumes that also worked well with the scenic and the lighting designs. The costumes were kaleidoscopic, giving each character everything one would expect in a play geared toward children-very prismatic and vibrant. They certainly complimented the characters portrayed in the story. I enjoyed seeing details in each costume that represented an aspect of each character, and believe that Heise did a phenomenal job of collaborating with the other areas of design, while doing justice to some of the original illustrations in the Dr. Seuss books. Often times, when designers are given the task to recreate familiar characters live on stage, they can take two options. They can give their own creative license to these familiar characters and sometimes disappoint our cherished memories of these storybook characters, or they can capture the integrity and magic of the original characters. Ms. Heise successfully kept the original honesty and candor of the original illustrations.
Christopher Curtis was very remarkable in the role of Horton. Through facial expressions, an impressive voice, and commanding stage presence, Mr. Curtis allowed audiences the opportunity to connect with his character, and is the heart and soul of the story. I enjoyed seeing a character that I was not too familiar with (except from the original book) carry the large portion of the story. My son and I were engaged from the moment Horton was introduced to audiences. He even wanted to have his picture taken with Horton afterward in the lobby. This certainly speaks volumes about his engagement with Mr. Curtis’ character…and sometimes, my son is a hard person to please and impress!
Another standout performance was Brett Warner in the role of Mayzie LaBird. Ms. Warner was convincing as colorful and loud fowl that loved being a feathery bird. Her costume was very reminiscent of her character’s personality. Ms. Warner had a strong voice, and a commanding stage presence. She reminded me of Carmen Miranda as paraded and strutted across the stage. She was truly a joy to watch! Seussical is definitely worth seeing. The meticulous and care for detail is evident in all aspects of the production, and makes for a wonderful experience at the theater. It is an experience to be enjoyed for both the young, and the young-at-heart. If you grew up with the fanciful stories of Dr. Seuss, or you are just being introduced to these characters, it is truly an experience unlike any other at the theatre. As a theatre educator, I encourage you to take your family to see Seussical at Dallas Children’s Theater. It certainly keeps the imagination alive and the magic of the theatre alive and well. You have a short window to see Seussical at Dallas Children’s Theater. On October 23rd, the show will be gone, Seussical won’t linger on…So long to that pesky Cat in the Hat, and then that will be that.
Dallas Children’s Theater
Rosewood Center for Family Arts
5938 Skillman Street, Dallas, Texas 75231
Plays through October 23
Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm.
Sensory-Friendly performance: October 15, 2016 at 1:30 PM (Phone orders only)
ASL performance: September 25, 2016 at 4:30 PM
Recommended for ages 5 and up.
Ticket prices range from $28.00-30.00. Reserve early for best pricing. Prices subject to change. Call the box office for details.
For info and tickets visit http://www.dct.org or call their box office at 214-740-0051.