Thursday, November 11, 2010

Characters are Footloosical in "Suessical, the Musical"

Quotes Dr. Suess, “So the writer who breeds more than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Therefore, says I, ...“the words I pen in my column Aisle Say... will be nifty and utmost thrifty. In fact, I'll cut by fifty-fifty!”
In this first ever production of “Suessical, the Musical” at New Candlelight, the actors, with an age range beginning at 6 and going skyward, are given the opportunity to which all thespians aspire; i.e. playing over-the-top, fantastical cartoon characters.
In the music and frivolity is both simple charm and moral lessons, perfect for your children and grandchildren. This is both an ideal bonding experience for the kids and you and also a memorable holiday treat. And, for only $5.00, you can treat your child to a very cool Dr. Suess hat!
At our preview night dining with my dear (and most assuredly non-grinch) sister Liz, perhaps 25% of the house were kids, squealing at the antics of the characters, the dazzling colors and originality of Timothy Lamont Cannon's costumes and the star light special effects of Director and Lighting Designer Chris Alberts.
Gentle readers, this is not some kiddified production. The excellent music is by Ahrens and Flaherty, the duo who gave you the Broadway blockbuster “Ragtime.” Standing out is a lilting and inspirational ballad 'Solia Sollew' that is hypnotically harmonized by the ensemble. You have never heard it for it cannot be extrapolated from the show. It has character references and too integrated in the rather non-nonsensical plot. (This IS Dr. Suess, remember. And the show was co-conceived by Monty Python Eric Idle...enough said!)
The Master of Ceremonies/Ringmaster is The Cat in the Hat (Paul Goodman). A new father himself, this role has given the veteran actor even more a sensitivity of the joy and innocence of childhood and he plays the part with a sparkle in his eye, urging the young JoJo (Zachary Pennington) “On the Thinks You Can Think.” Pennington is an eighth grader at Springer. Many of the kids attend Cab Calloway School for the Arts.
Horton (David Snyder) is making his NCT debut as an elephant. He has a sweet and endearing voice, this loyal character to his friends, “...I meant what I say and I say what I meant. An elephant's faithful, one hundred per cent.”
Gertrude McFuzz (Erica Scanlon Harr) is a delight to watch in her ever expanding and contracting bird costume (yet another bravo to Costumer Cannon). We have heard her clear soprano as Dorothy in “Oz” and Laurey in “Oklahoma”. Harr exemplifies, along with Mrs. Mayor (Lindsay Mauck), Sour Kangaroo (Erienne Poole) and Mayzie (Kaylan Wetzel), the talented core of performers that Chris Alberts has assembled over the past two years or so. Aisle Say is waiting for “Dreamgirls” for Poole and “Guys and Dolls' for Wetzel, two shows perfect for their rich voices.
For the half dozen or so kid performers, they will remember this adventure with Dr. Suess the remainder of their lives. Zoe McLane (age 6?), playing 'ill Roo (think Mini Me), to Sour Kangaroo. Zoe started at NCT Summer Camp and now has progressed to a main stage production. In her credits she writes, “I want to thank my Mom and Dad for listening to me rehearse and rehearse over and over and over again.! OKAY! FINE, and to Zach, my brother – there I said his name!
Due to money, NCT is no longer has an Equity relationship. However, under Alberts' tutelage, they have regressed nary a scintilla in production quality. It has been and remains the best value in live entertainment – dinner AND theatre for the price of a theatre ticket.
Will Candlelight succeed? Yes indeed. Yes indeed. 98 and three quarters per cent guaranteed!
Through December 22. 302.475.2313

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