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Elayna Oaks

Mr. Zimmerly

College Composition

26 October 2009

                                  Seussical: A Night of Dr. Seuss

       Stepping in to the Bradford Area High School auditorium, I was expecting what I was

about to see would be a mediocre show of talent, what I got was much different. In choosing

Seussical for their musical of the year, the Bradford High music department made a wise

decision. Seussical incorporated various sections of the famous works of Dr. Seuss including

works such as Horton Hears a Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Cat in the Hat.

Many of the main characters were from Horton Hears a Who including Horton the Elephant

(Ryan Marshall), Mazy (Chelsea Colosimo), a bird, and Gertrude McFuzz (Leah Costic), also a

bird. The musical tells the story of Horton the Elephant desperately trying to save the people of

Whoville while caring for Mazy’s newborn bird child. Seussical also incorporates a love drama

with Gertrude McFuzz’s relentless efforts to try and gain the attention of Horton. The play

catered to all of the talents of the many different high school kids working on it, and it allowed

for many of their greatest talents to shine. Whether it was the props, costumes, actors, music,

transitions, or length, all aspects of the musical were well done and overall made for quite a good


       When I entered the auditorium, I was instantly taken aback by the props throughout the

area. Each one was done with care and had great detail, so much so that the audience itself
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probably could not even see all of the hard work. Take for example a perch made for the

outlandish character Mazy, who was a bird. Not only was the actor able to sit on her nest at the

top of the perch, but she was able to move around comfortably and realistically. All of the props

captured the attention of the viewer, yet still did not draw away from the show. The bright colors

and crazy designs threw you into the world of Dr. Seuss’s works, on which the play was based

and made me feel as though I was actually in the fantasy, although I was still sitting in a boring

auditorium. Not only were the props excellent, the craftsmanship of the costumes was fantastic.

       Seussical has a sort of mystical air to it, and it has some crazy aspects. Many of the

characters are animals, so you would assume that the costumes would be far from realistic.

Granted, the human actors did not look exactly like the animals they were portraying, but the

costumes they wore did give you the best sense possible of the animal that they were portraying.

The grey clothing and small, but obvious trunk, worn by Ryan Marshall (Horton the Elephant)

made his character in the play stand out just enough that I knew who he was supposed to be, but

not too much that it drew away from the other characters. The costumes also helped the viewer

to develop a general sense of the character. Many of the personalities of the characters were

portrayed through their dress, whether it was the plain, simple outfit of Gertrude, a bird who was

very shy and introverted, or the bright, eye-catching outfit of Mazy, a rambunctious, extroverted

character. All of these costumes gave the characters a visually suggestive aspect that was

important to understanding and developing the play. In developing the characters, the costumes

played a large role, but so did the actors themselves.

       It was obvious that the actors in this play worked extremely hard on their parts. They

knew all of their lines, they were rarely off key with the music and they always knew where they

belonged on stage, even through difficult dance routines. The actors were also clearly very
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involved in their roles. The emotions that they portrayed were apparent in every aspect of the

actors’ demeanor, whether it was the look of their face or their body gestures. At one point,

while actor Ryan Marshall (Horton the elephant) was involved in a heart wrenching scene, his

reactions and emotions were so realistic it brought tears to my eyes. The actors were so on task

and so prepared for the show that they could have easily been performing professionally. The

actors also did an amazing job singing their parts, making the quality of acting even greater.

       The music in the play was tremendous. Yes, there was the occasional actor off key or off

beat, but for the most part the actors and the band were right on. The songs sounded as though

they were very difficult, but the actors and instrumentalists made them seem easy. I could

clearly tell that the singers were becoming tired at the end of the production, but the music was

still quite good. The notes sounded correct and the timing was right for the most part, overall the

music aspect of the musical was strong. Through all of the difficult singing, the actors still

managed to assist in the transitions of scenes.

       The scene transitions within Seussical went quite smoothly. They never took an

excessive amount of time and were often incorporated right into the dance numbers and

movements of the actors. As with any live production, it is obvious that props are changing, but

the style with which the production crew of the musical pulled the transitions off was

immaculate. It must have taken many creative hours to choreograph the moves with which the

props would be pushed ever so slightly on and off stage while there was still acting and singing

happening around those moving the set around. Also, actors often remained acting on or within

the props while they were moving across the stage.     These smooth transitions from scene to

scene also allowed the play to stick to a pretty reasonable length.
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       Often, productions at the Bradford Area High School are excessively long and make a

person want to just leave before the end. Seussical was a decent length, although a little drawn

out at times. By the end I could no longer wait to know what was going to happen and the actors

just kept singing and singing. At one point I recall thinking that I could easily just go find out

what happened at home by asking a friend or someone who had seen the musical, but then the

play would grab my attention and drew my back in. Yes, the play was easily in excess of two

hours, but for the most part all of the combined good aspects of the play had a way of capturing

your attention even when you drifted off.

       Judging from the past history of the musical department at Bradford Area High School,

the 2009 production was a serious improvement. The passion with which the entire play was

produced was phenomenal. The props were magnificent, the costumes were eye catching and the

actors themselves were clearly dedicated. It seemed as though the people who took part in the

production of the musical were truly interested and dedicated. Through many long hours and

tons of hard work, those who assisted in making Seussical possible did a wonderful job.

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