The overarching plot of the show mirrors that of Horton Hears a Who!, centering on Horton the elephant’s endeavours to protect the people of Who-ville, who live on a tiny speck of dust. It also features characters and scenarios from many other Seuss books, including the Butter Side Uppers / Downers from The Butter Battle Book, Gertrude McFuzz, and, in addition to a music number based on its original story, The Cat in the Hat also acts an “your host and MC” – sometimes being an outside observer, a narrator and devil’s advocate throughout the show, briefly leaping into the action on several occasions to create conflict and keep the story moving.
Cat in the Hat – Dan Armstrong
Horton the Elephant – Rob Kemp
Gertrude McFuzz – Cathy Miller
Mayzie La Bird – Kate Williams
The Sour Kangaroo – Phil Birkett
The Bird Girls – Sarah Warnsby, Emma Shute, Jayne Russell
The Wickersham Brothers – Andrew Regester, Shaun Hanrahan, Nick Smith
Yertle the Turtle – Antony Watson
Vlad Vladikoff – Jonny Fines
Citizens of the Jungle – Adele Lee, Elaine Powles, Jenny Scott
JoJo – Kate Chilton
Mayor of Whoville – Graham Ward
Mrs Mayor – Becky Wallhead
General Genghis Kahn Schmitz – Lyndon Warnsby
Grinch – Dan Armstrong
Whos/Fish/Circus Folk/Cadets/Hunters/Hunches – Amanda Dixon, Callum Simpson, Catherine Hart, Charlie Cracknell, David Hargreaves, Louise Dobb, Nigel Newton, Samantha Parkes, Tom Keeling, Vanessa Christian and other cast members.
Director & Choreographer – Denise Palin
Musical Director – Stephen Williams
Stage Manager – Duncan Forrest
Costume Designer – Rita Prince
Lighting Designer – David Phillips
Hats off to Cat and Co
“Nit-pickers will have a lean time with this production from musicworks. Directed and Choreographed by Denise Palin, it’s incredibly slick, sharp and entertaining.
So neat is the fusion of words and music from Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, they could be one and the same writer. Lyrics are clear and the rhyming dialogue brilliant; the tunes, played with gusto by Stephen Williams and Co, are strong.
There’s a multitude of anarchic characters to appeal to the child in each of us. Cat in the Hat (Dan Armstrong), with his tall candy-striped hat, at one point squirts water over the audience. JoJo (Kate Chilton) is a naughty boy, and Horton the Elephant (Rob Kemp) is a bulky bloke in a T-shirt. There’s also Gertrude (Cathy Miller), with her beautifully silly voice and, particularly in ‘All For You’, her super comic acting.
Singing from everyone is excellent. Perhaps most notable is Kate Williams as the glamorous Mayzie, with the honky-tonk cynicism of ‘How Lucky You Are (Reprise) and the jazzy ‘Mayzie in Palm Beach’.
The set in bright primary colours is superb. So are the lavish costumes. Take, for example, the great gangster suits worn by the Hunches in ‘Havin’ a Hunch’.
The frenzied mob of tinies at the opening matinee had good taste. They cheered like a football crowd when proceedings started and thereafter enjoyed the whole thing.”
Alan Geary – Nottingham Evening Post
Unearthing Future Stars…
“As the lights came down at the Nottingham Playhouse there was a sense of excitement as the audience waited to see how Dr. Seuss’ characters would be brought to life in a musical incarnation.
Musicworks’ production ‘Seussical: The Musical’ is a strange mix of fantasy and music which brings together classic characters from Dr. Seuss’ stories such as the Cat in the Hat, The Grinch and the Whos of Whoville.
The play uses many of Dr. Seuss’ stories revolving centrally around his lovable character Horton – an elephant who wants to protect others even at the expense of his own safety – before pulling in other classic characters.
From then on, tales from the Seuss cannon collide seamlessly, including ‘Horton Hears a Who’, ‘Oh the Thinks you can Think’ and ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, in a way that makes them seem like one perfect, epic story.
On the night, it was clear that Seussical was going to hit the target audiences it desired – a great achievement as the play is pitched at all ages. It boasts humorous characters and bright colours to keep the young entertained, while there are some clever winks at the parents with stabs at popular culture, in a similar vein to the Shrek and Toy Story movies.
Non-profit organisation musicworks aims to promote all forms of live music in the East Midlands by encouraging a proper showcase for talent – and Seussical definitely unearthed some future stars.
Stand-out performances came from some of the main characters, with Cathy Miller as confused and loved-up bird Gertrude McFuzz and the sassy beautiful tailed bird she aspires to be like Mayzie La Bird, played by Kate Williams.
A strong male performance came from key character Horton, played by Rob Kemp, despite his elephant costume consisting of just a grey t-shirt and jeans.
This is the main flaw of Seussical, while the beautiful and colourful sets evoke the world of Dr. Seuss, the actors’ costumes and make up do not resemble his characters, taking much away from the experience for loves of his fantastic animation. Rather than looking like Dr. Seuss’ creations, each actor wears a costume which simply symbolizes their creature such as a feather tail for the birds or green hairy arms for the Grinch, rather than full body make up.
Despite this minor point, Seussical is a big success and it is a shame it has such a short run at the Nottingham Playhouse.
The music is subtle and really brought to life by some excellent singers, especially Kate Williams who has a powerful voice and each song really conveys Dr Seuss’ characters’ emotions and the bizarre worlds they inhabit.”
Michael Johns – Alfreton Chad