Casting is now complete for Seussical, a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza written by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who also wrote the hits Ragtime and Once On This Island. The two have lovingly brought to life all of the favorite Dr. Seuss characters from a host of the author's most popular books.
Seussical runs in Imagination Stage's Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre November 14, 2012, through January 6, 2013. Best for ages 4-12, tickets are $12 to $25, and may be purchased online at www.imaginationstage.org, at the Imagination Stage box office, or via phone at 301?280?1660. Group rates are available.
Svea Johnson and Simon Diesenhaus will share the role of JoJo, a child from the land of Whoville who gets in trouble for thinking too many "thinks." Both young actors are making their Imagination Stage debuts. Svea recently portrayed Gretl in Olney Theatre Center's The Sound of Music, and was a member of the children's chorus in the Damascus Theatre Company's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Simon is making his professional debut, having performed in numerous productions at Musical Theater Center and the French Woods Festival, including the musical Nine.
Matthew A. Anderson plays Horton the Elephant. Anderson has been seen at Imagination Stage in Busytown and Miss Nelson Is Missing, and most recently performed in 1776 at Ford's Theatre. Newcomer Shayna Blass will fly into the role of Gertrude McFuzz. Shayna recently graduated from American University with a BA in Musical Theatre and has previously performed with Keegan Theatre. Playing Mayzie will be Kirstin Riegler. Kirstin will also be making her Imagination Stage debut and has previously acted at Signature Theatre and Toby's Dinner Theatre. Ayanna Hardy will be Sour Kangaroo. Ayana was seen at Imagination Stage in The Dancing Princesses. Jamie Smithson brings the Cat in the Hat to life. A newcomer to the area, Jamie has previously performed at the Guthrie Theatre and Charleston Stage Company. The cast is rounded out by Matthew DeLorenzo (Wickersham Brother), Marieke Georgiadis (Bird Girl), Jamie Ogden (Bird Girl/Mayor's Wife), Matthew Schleigh (Mayor), and Chris Wilson (Wickersham Brother).
"Seussical is one of our all-time favorite shows at Imagination Stage," shares Artistic Director Janet Stanford. "The stories of Horton the Elephant and Gertrude McFuzz intertwine in a world full of Dr. Seuss' whimsical characters. And the themes about loyalty and altruism seem especially poignant for the Holiday season."
Seussical was previously performed at Imagination Stage in 2005. However, this new production will turn audience members into the residents of Whoville. Stanford explains, "My goal with this production is to get the whole audience in the act. There will be a dozen or so people actually seated on stage who will participate as the chorus of Whoville residents or as judges at Horton's trial. It's going to be a very festive time of year in the Jungle of Nool at Imagination Stage and we hope that the whole community will want to party with us."
In Seussical, the Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant that discovers a speck of dust containing a village of Whos. Horton faces a double challenge – not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Some of the characters fall in love, some have desperate adventures, and some even save the world. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.
The remainder of the creative team includes Choreographer Karma Camp, Music Director George Fulginiti-Shakar, Set Designer Tom Donahue, Costume Designer Frank Labovitz, Lighting Designer Catherine Girardi, and Sound Designer Chris Baine.