Imagine the deepest creations of your childhood imagination and magnify them to real-life dimensions.
This doesn’t even begin to describe the dialogue, sets and costumes of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s “Seussical the Musical,” which opened last night at the Power Center and will continue Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“Seussical” is a musical fusion of classic Dr. Seuss stories. The Cat in the Hat narrates the collection with young Jojo (fourth-grader Quintan Craig). Through the inner workings of his imagination, Jojo fights through the terrifying Jungle of Nool, encounters the hopeless love between Horton the Elephant and Miss Gertrude McFuzz and ends up in Whoville, “the tiniest planet in the sky.” Though “Seussical” sets the stage for a cheesy sing-a-long, the exaggerated costumes and creatively goofy sets prove deceptive.
“We all grew up with Dr. Seuss stories,” said Linda Goodrich, director and choreographer. “In ‘Seussical,’ we are able to allow ourselves to play.”
Gigantic slides, giraffes on stilts and fanciful gymnastics appear with familiar childhood characters like the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle. Several different backdrops, including a 20-foot clock and periwinkle mountain ranges, move in and out during the show, guiding the audience through Jojo’s imagination.
Each figure appears in head-to-toe Seuss garb with potent purples and greens, along with sequins, feathers and maize wigs.
Included throughout the melodious tale are jazzy rhythms and upbeat musical numbers. In tandem with the original sets, these tunes sound like circus fanfare, though they somehow meld seamlessly with the choreography and song occurring on stage.
“Dr. Seuss uses play and imagination to get to a solution, but he always has a point,” Goodrich said.
Though the show can certainly be enjoyed by University students, songs such as “Anything’s Possible,” “A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small” and “Tell Yourself How Lucky You Are” target younger viewers. Though the cast is full of talented School of Music performers, a few four-foot hopefuls also join the fun.
Upon entering the town of Whoville, you’ll discover a pint-sized marching band in bright purple uniforms. The developing voices of grade-schoolers blend harmoniously with the resounding vocals of School of Music seniors for a perfect balance of innocence and entertainment.
“There is a wonderful thing we observe in children and it comes through in this production,” Goodrich said. “This play allows people to be in the moment and embrace the moment.”
Seussical the Musical
Tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m.
At the Power Center