Seussical the Musical Thinks a Think

For me, Horton the Elephant, the Grinch, and the Cat in the Hat are the faded stuff of childhood.  I can remember sitting on my bed as a child, flipping through the Butter Battle book and reading the lines of a clever Dr. Seuss’ rhyme.  At the time, I believed it to be near magical.  Nowadays, the thought of Dr. Seuss and the worlds he created never fails to bring a wistful smile to my face.

On Saturday night, I was treated to a performance that brought me a pleasant pang of nostalgia, only far from the pages of a children’s book.  It was “Seussical the Musical,” put on by BU on Broadway at the Tsai Performance Center last weekend.

By Evan Caughey
Horton in the Circus McGurkus

The musical follows many of Dr. Seuss’ most iconic characters as their stories intertwine in a cleverly written and energetically acted combination of song and dance.

“Seussical” begins in the Jungle of Nool, where Horton the Elephant (Matthew Lerner) hears a cry of distress from the Whos on Who: a planet no bigger than a speck of dust.  The Whos have crash-landed precariously on a clover, and Horton decides to give them safe haven from the elements. But Horton’s decision comes at the cost of his reputation, as all the other animals do not hear the cries for help and believe Horton is losing his mind. Horton’s good heart guides him and he persists, singing his favorite phrase, “A person’s a person no matter how small.”

By Evan Caughey
Horton Rendezvous with Gertrude McFuzz

The musical is narrated by the witty Cat in the Hat (Rylan Vachon) and follows not only the Horton’s story, but also those of Jojo (Jessie Kavanagh) – the littlest Who, who finds an unexpected friend in Horton – and Gertrude McFuzz (Liz Furze) – a bird who is in love with Horton but cannot seem to catch his attention.

“Seussical” was a spectacle to watch, and there is little to criticize. The performances by Vachon, Kavanagh, Furze, and Lerner were all touching and deeply emotional; each brought a unique and powerful presence to the stage and  not one of them so much as missed a note.

The performances by the rest of the cast were also impressive, most notably the singing of Sour Kangaroo (Tavia Merchant), whose commanding, perfectly toned voice enthralled the audience.  A full pit orchestra accompanied the singing and dancing on stage and delivered a fitting and well played score that effectively captured the musical’s many moods.

Regrettably, Saturday evening’s performance was the show’s last, though the cast emerged feeling satisfied with the result.

“The final performance couldn’t have been better,” said Elizabeth Moss, who worked lighting for the play. “Everyone quite simply just hit their mark.”

It is hard to disagree: “Seussical” came off as a professional quality musical that was wonderful to hear and fun to watch.  Together, the cast put together a convincing performance that not only pleased the senses but delivered precisely the message that Dr. Seuss intended: There is no dream not worth dreaming and no ‘think’ not worth thinking.

(Pictures by Evan Caughey)

By Evan Caughey
Suessical Nears the Finale

About Evan Caughey

I am a 22 year old graphic design/creativity person who was born and reared in the wilds of Montana on a strict regiment of whiskey and bear wrestling. After completing most of high school I went and studied in India for two years, where I learned most of what I know now. Like how people of the subcontinent pronounce 'bowl' like 'bowel'. And other things that are important. After that, I came to Boston and started studying photojournalism at Boston University. This proved to be quite depressing, so I switched to advertising and became an alcoholic instead. (Just kidding.) I am now a Junior.

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