UMass Theatre Guild to present “Seussical” this weekend

By Sarah Gamard

The University of Massachusetts Theatre Guild will present “Seussical” this weekend. Opening night is Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The show also runs Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. After the matinee, kids will get a chance to meet the musical’s characters.

“Seussical,” a two-act Broadway musical, first premiered in the year 2000, and had 198 performances on Broadway since. Actors over time have included Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The show was wonderful for kids and the whole family.

As the name suggests, the musical is based off of Dr. Seuss’ beloved children’s books. Those referenced in the show include the likes of “Horton Hears a Who,” “The Lorax,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “If I Ran the Circus,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “The Sneetches and Other Stories,” “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?,” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” the beloved, applicable-to-all-ages, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and more.

Anyone who grew up reading Dr. Seuss’ timeless children’s books will be familiar with the tone and characters in the musical. The Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Horton, an elephant who stumbles upon a speck of dust containing an entire civilization of tiny but significant creatures called Whos. This includes the character Jojo, a Who child who is sent away to a butter-battling military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton is taunted by the rest of the animal kingdom for the attention he pays to the speck of dust, as others do not understand there is an entire civilization of Whos to care for.

The musical, like its parent children’s books, teaches many important lessons not just to children but also to people of all ages. The synopsis, when compared to the title of Dr. Seuss’s works, is heavily based on the magical world that the freethinking, allegorical mastermind created. The musical is appropriate and highly enjoyable for children and adults of all ages.

“Seussical” will be performed in Bartlett Hall Room 65. Tickets, available at the door, are $6 for students, seniors, and children under 10, and $10 for the general public. Members of the production expect the matinee to be sold out and suggest audience members arrive early to reserve a ticket.

The UMass Theatre Guild is a volunteer organization and student-run club with members from UMass as well as the surrounding five colleges. Each semester, the guild stages two full productions, one straight play and one musical. The guild includes both amateur and expert thespians. Positions range from technical crew to actors to producers. It is one of the oldest Registered Student Organizations at the University.

Sarah Gamard can be reached at [email protected]