Seussical the musical opens Thursday

Seussical the musical opens Thursday

By: Chris Menees Messenger Staff Reporter

By CHRIS MENEES
Messenger Staff Reporter
It’s a virtual “Who”s who of Dr. Seuss.
There’s the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch and Horton.
And, of course, the lineup wouldn’t be complete without the sweet-natured “Who”s from the town of Whoville.
The gang’s all there in Masquerade Theatre’s latest production, “Seussical,” which opens Thurs-day night at the historic Capitol Theater in downtown Union City.
Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, Monday and May 29-31, with 2 p.m. matinee performances slated for both Sunday and June 1.
Advance tickets are on sale for $15 each at Lanzer’s Printing and Office Supply in downtown Union City, with group rates available.
The musical “Seussical” is based on the works of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. The local production features a cast of more than two dozen local actors who will bring Seuss’ wonderfully whimsical world to life through 28 different songs and dance numbers.
“Seussical” combines music by Stephen Flaherty with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens from a book by the same two composers. The concept was co-conceived by Ahrens, Flaherty and Eric Idle.
The Masquerade Theatre production stars Ridgemont Elementary School fifth-grader Braden Wells in the role of the boy “JoJo,” whose “thinks,” or thoughts, tend to cause quite a stir. He is joined by the Cat, charmingly portrayed by University of Tennessee at Martin student Justin Hunt, and the gentle Horton, played by UT Martin theater major and veteran local actor Jonathan Johnson.
The supporting cast includes UT Martin assistant professor of communications Dr. Arthur Hunt as Mayor; Annie Scott in her stage debut as Mrs. Mayor; UT Martin student Allison Jones as the sweet bird Gertrude; UT Martin communications major Kassi Abney as the saucy bird Mayzie; stage veteran Rachel Joost as the vivacious Sour Kangaroo; South Fulton High School freshman Kelsey Boyd, Union City High School junior Heather Simpson and Masquerade Theatre board member Jenny Virgin as the colorful Bird Girls; theater veteran Jared Hamlin, South Fulton High School freshman Alex Robertson and Union City High School student Cody Speed as the Wickersham Brothers; Emma Blanton, Serena Blanton, Jenny Gilliland, Wayne McLaughlin, Jacob Virgin, Aaron Scott, Karleen Sternisha and Lori Suiter as the “Who”s; Union City High School sophomore and theater veteran Alex Little as the Grinch; Murray (Ky.) State University graduate student Lamar Stenson as the military-minded General Schmitz; local family physician Dr. Kirk Stone as Yertle the Turtle; Selena McBride, Brenna Taylor, Aaron Scott, Emma Blanton and Jacob Virgin as the cadets; and Selena McBride and Brenna Taylor as ensemble players.
Masquerade Theatre’s version of “Seussical” is under the direction of Melanie Hollis, with Allison Butner serving as musical director and Kelly Grider as choreographer. It is being produced by Linda St. Clair and Todd Little.
Bob Elderkin is lending his talents to the local production by serving as technical director and sound operator, as well as by being in charge of set, lighting and sound design. In addition, Elderkin and Tony Little are in charge of set construction and painting and both Elderkin and Thomas Eagen are handling the lighting duties, with John Blanton and Dana Goodman working as light board operators and Eagen and Todd Little as follow-spot operators.
Ms. St. Clair is in charge of advertising for the production and Little is in charge of program design, with tickets being handled by Jack Hudgens and advance ticket sales by Sandra Harris and Lanzer’s Printing in downtown Union City.
Masquerade Theatre is a non-profit community theater supported in part by the City of Union City, private donations and the Arts Building Communities program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Northwest Tennessee Development District.
Masquerade’s board of directors currently includes Patti Barnes, Bentley Beard, Brad Thompson, Terry Huffstetler, Jeannine Cranford, Todd Little, John Easley, Ron Green, Carolyn Bloebaum, Robert Kirkland, Heard Critchlow, Linda St. Clair, Jenny Virgin, Juli Williams, Sacchi Doss and Gail Latimer.
Upcoming productions slated for later in the season include the Children’s Theatre Workshop production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Jr.” July 25-Aug. 3; the audience-participation murder mystery “All Over But the Shooting” in October; and the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” in December.
For more information about being involved with Masquerade Theatre, visit the Web site www.ucmasquerade theatre.com.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.21.08

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