Horton Hears a Musical

by Michael Porter
The Musical Theatre after-school enrichment group presented Seussical KIDS to an enthusiastic crowd on April 21. 
Seussical is a musical comedy that ran on Broadway in 2000. It immerses the audience into the world of Dr. Seuss, with some familiar faces including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, and the Whos! Seussical KIDS is a skillfully shortened version for young performers.

"Seussical weaves a story of friendship. loyalty, and the power of being unique," said director Lindsay Curry. "Seussical is the perfect compliment to our campus-wide emphasis on character education. The story of Horton and Jojo's unlikely friendship reinforces our dedication to showing kindness, empathy, and celebrating our differences no matter how big or small."

The Musical Theatre students face much more challenging productions than their standard grade-level shows. Yusuf I. is a 3rd grader, and one of the youngest performers in the show. He compared Seussical to the Veteran's Day Show his class performed earlier this year. The biggest difference, he says, was the Veteran's show was for honoring the Veterans while Seussical is make-believe.

"Seussical had lots of dancing and the Veterans did not really have that much," said Yusuf. "It was really fun because I had a chance to sing. I also got lots of lines. I was a big part of the show."
The production included a variety of ages, from grades 3 to 6. Each performer, regardless of age or experience, was expected to actively participate and work as a troupe.
"Seussical required a large amount of student ownership and independence," said Music Specialist Jessica Barker.
"The biggest challenge is learning to move and communicate as a group," said Ms. Curry. "Seussical is a BIG show with mostly ensemble work but they learned quickly to rely on each other."

Much of the music was more difficult for the students, as the show includes songs from the Broadway production, written to be performed by professional actors.
"The music featured many solo and ensemble numbers and also included 2 and sometimes 3 part harmonies," said Ms. Barker.
"The most challenging part of the show was It's Possible because there is a lot of dancing and props in it," said 3rd-grader Riley O. "Also Solla Sollew because we had to have the right light motion or it would mess the whole thing up."
"The hardest part of the show was Monkey Around because there was a lot of dancing and a lot of stuff happening," said Yusuf. "It was just really challenging because you need to follow the leader, who was Emily."

The students showed they had the talent and the drive to meet the expectations of the directing team. The actors conveyed emotions, and the musical numbers were rousing and tuneful!
"We had a blast putting this show together," said Ms. Barker.
Ms. Curry added, "I am proud of these young performers for their bravery and talents, but I'm mostly touched by the way they care for each other. We build a little community and they embrace each other without judgement."