Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review of Seussical the Musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Seussical the Musical. It was directed by Scott Weinstein, musical direction by Michael Mahler, and the music was by Stephen Flaherty and the lyrics were by Lynn Ahrens. It was about a Girl (Emily Chang) who found this hat and then she picked it up and an entire orchestra started. And then this Cat in the Hat (Alex Goodrich) came up to her and told her about her imagination and what they can do about it--in a good way. Then he tells her the story of Horton (George Andrew Wolff), Gertrude McFuzz (Lillian Castillo), and Mayzie La Bird (Cory Goodrich) and the Whos (Ericka Mac, Aaron Holland, and Chang). I really liked how they were all put together in one story. The relationships between the characters were different because they were not in the same context as in the original stories, but they still worked really well. They changed it, but not in the way where they added new characters, which I don't like, but in the way where they put different characters from different stories together. Like Shrek or Into the Woods. Seeing this show brought back funny and good memories because it was the first show I saw at Chicago Shakespeare when I was only 2 years old. Back then, I didn't really like the slow songs, so I left quietly after tapping my mom very politely after "All for You" because two slow songs in a row were not exactly my piece of cake. But now I like slow songs much better, and I loved this show because I really love the Dr. Seuss stories and I had so much fun seeing this show again!

I really liked the song "Oh the Thinks You Can Think" because I still remember the tune to it and I still remember the lyrics. It was very catchy. This song is about everything you can think of and how you should love your imagination. Don't think of it as a burden; think of it as something to be proud of. I liked how it was performed because it introduced you to all the characters. I think it is a great opening because it is kind of like the Girl is thinking of the Cat in the Hat and all these different characters and Dr. Seuss and all the thinks that she can think. That is really cool because when you see these people you know who they are because most people have read the Dr. Seuss books, so you are like, "There's Horton; there's the Cat in the Hat; there's Gertrude McFuzz." I thought the actress who played Jojo and the Girl did a great job. She was very expressive (but she wasn't too too happy all the time) and I like that in an actress.

I thought it was funny how the Cat in Hat had a bunch of different outfits (costume design by Theresa Ham) instead of like one "Cat in the Hat" outfit. And he played different characters as the Cat in the Hat, like a doctor, a policeman, the Grinch, and Ira Glass. You are probably wondering why Ira Glass is in here since he is not a Dr. Seuss character. Just see it. I thought that Alex Goodrich did a great job at seeming very alive in this performance. He kind of seemed crazy, like the Cat in the Hat, but like the Cat in the Hat he was still lovable. He was not scary. When he was Ira Glass I thought that was hilarious, especially when he said, "Reporting from the Jungle of Nool." I also really liked it when he was the Louis Armstrong singer who was Mayzie's steaming hot bird boyfriend. He was like Louis Wingstrong. He had a hat and sunglasses and he sang "How Lucky You Are" in a Louis Armstrong kind of voice. I just can't believe how funny that was. I liked how they showed the band (Alan Bukowiecki, Jo Ann Daugherty, John Kornegay, Mike Pinto, Ethan Deppe, and Sean McNeely) to make it seem more like a night club. It was fun to have the band on stage because they could basically move around the band. You could see them and then you didn't if the time was not right to see them.

"Biggest Blame Fool" was a great song because it was very very catchy: I still have the line "talkin' to a speck, talkin' to a speck, to a speck" stuck in my head. I thought it was great how the Wickersham Brothers (Holland, Liam Quealy, and Joseph Sammour) were basically putting on a stunt show with their scooter and skateboard and roller-skates during this song; it made it more exciting and made it seem like they were trying to impress Mayzie. That was part of the dancing (choreography by Tommy Rapley) and I thought all of the dancing was very exciting but never was it uncalled-for. It didn't seem like they would just break into song and dance for no reason; it seemed like they were having a conversation with dance and singing. I thought the Sour Kangaroo (Lisa Estridge) was amazing. She was very sassy and she also was an amazing singer. You are not really supposed to like the Sour Kangaroo but you can like the way the actress acted out this character. I also liked her little kangaroo in her exercise pouch. The little kangaroo was a puppet (designed by Lolly Extract and Amber Marsh).

I thought that all of the birds were great characters. I liked how the Bird Girls (Mac, Allison Sill, and Krystal Worrell) were basically the backup singers of Mayzie. I thought that Mayzie was a very very expressive character. I liked how she was the most popular bird in all the Jungle of Nool. You wouldn't really want to be friends with her because she would ask you to sit on some boyfriend of her's egg. But you still like that character because she was a funny character. I thought that Getrude was basically the opposite of Mayzie because she was not the glamorous bird. She was more like a humble little bird who like-liked an elephant who everyone thought was insane, so everyone thought that she was crazy. But Horton would never notice her, so she had some troubles. I feel like it is neither of their faults. Horton has something going on and Gertrude just wants some company because nobody pays attention to her. You really want them to get together throughout the entire show and then…well you will just have to see the show!

People who would like this show are people who like Dr. Seuss, Louis Armstrong Birds, and This American Life. I think that people should definitely go and see this show because it is funny, the acting is expressive, and the singing is great. I really liked this show and I think it is great to bring some of Dr. Seuss's greatest idea into one big show!

Photos: Michael Brosilow

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