A glowing and colorful ensemble stood on the stage of the recently renovated Little Theatre, as the St. John’s Chappell Players opened their season with Seussical the Musical.This past Friday, the Chappell Players presented the St. John’s community with the world of infinite possibilities; the world of Dr. Seuss.
Seussical, based on the children’s books written by Dr. Seuss, is filled with loveable characters and catchy songs that could be embraced at any age.
The musical, which originally debuted on Broadway in 2000, is a play about a young boy named Jojo (played by sophomore and Chappell Players secretary Olivia Hartle), an overly imaginative boy who conjures up the world presented in the show, a world of magical characters with colorful personalities.Hartle said she found several similarities between herself and her character.
“It’s funny that I actually do have a lot in common with a young boy,” Hartle said. “I can certainly relate to the wild imagination Jojo has, as well as the deep camaraderie he shares with his ‘one true friend in the universe’- Horton the Elephant.
“[It’s] really beautiful to be able to relive that blithe, happy-go-lucky spirit (found only in the innocence of a child) that seems to shrink more and more as we all ‘grow up,'” she continued.
Dr. Seuss staples, such as the mischievous and always vivacious Cat in the Hat (portrayed by Paul Cottman), the benevolent Horton the Elephant (sophomore Jonathan Randhawa), the insecure yet lighthearted Gertrude McFuzz (sophomore Bridget McNeeley) and the bitter and sassy Sour Kangaroo (freshman Ivana Williams), were all featured in the world created in the mind of Jojo.
Trios of female narrating birds and comedic monkeys known as the Wickersham Brothers provided the extra pizzazz that placed Seussical in a class by itself.
This year’s musical was directed and choreographed by Brian Swasey, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, with a degree in musical theatre and dance, and plenty of theatrical performance and directing credits to boot.
The idea of making Seussical the premier musical this year for the Chappell Players made it an exciting journey for the cast and audience alike.
“I was thrilled about all the potential that this show could hold,” Hartle said. “With an already intriguing storyline, coupled with an incredible cast, incredible set, incredible costumes and lights-not to mention our beautifully renovated new theatre-I knew we could do something really fantastic.”
With Seussical’s debut at the newly renovated Little Theatre, the future will hold some wonderful surprises for the Chappell Players and the St. John’s community.