News

News from around the Ojai Valley

'Seussical’ at Ojai Art Center Theater deliciously silly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 15

Seussical ddance scenePhoto by Stephen Adams
The cast of "Seussical" dancing. They will be on stage at the Ojai Art Center Theater (113 S. Montgomery St.) on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; and for matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 15.

By Sami Zahringer, 
Special to the Ojai Valley News
For the next three weekends, the good citizens of Ojai have a chance to fly back to childhood and revisit old friends in a fresh way. 
“Seussical” runs through Dec. 15 at Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 S. Montgomery Ave. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $25; seniors and Art Center members, $20; and those 25 and younger, $10 — a really good deal for those wishing to take multiple children. Tickets may be bought at www. ojaiact.org or at the door, but reservations are recommended. For more information, call 805-640-8797 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
From the fantastical world of Dr. Seuss via the prodigiously award-winning Broadway creative team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (with Old Python Eric Idle making sure nothing gets too sensible) comes a musical! A “Seussical,” in fact! It’s a highly creative mash-up of the famous tales in which some of Seuss’s best-loved characters, including the Grinch (Shannon Penrith), encounter each other in unexpected ways.
Horton, too, is here, (played by a gentle, lovable, massively and sensitively eared Michael McCarthy) hearing a Who and being duped into hatching the egg of the wayward Mayzie La Bird (a flighty Emily Hall), be-twittered and surrounded by her plumetastic Bird Girls.
Horton is supported and adored by his ever-loyal friend, Jojo (formerly the Boy who, helped by our narrator, the Cat-in-The-Hat, has animated the whole tale for us with his Thinks — “Oh
the Things You Can Think!”).
Kyra Maal-King and Arshan Barati trade off the roles of The Boy and Jojo in alternate shows and Horton shares one of the biggest hit numbers of the production — “Alone in the Universe” — with these two talented young singers, whose “Thinks” are always getting them into trouble. Meanwhile, the ditzy bird, Gertrude McFuzz, has fallen head-over-heels in love with him. Besotted Marisa Miculian adds a good deal of emotional depth to the production in the beautiful ballad, “Notice Me, Horton.”
Suzy Thatcher and Isla Thompson team up with plenty of attitude and pants sassier than sassifrass as Sour Kangaroo and Young Kangaroo as they campaign against poor Horton along- side the Wickersham monkey brothers.
Horton, who has by this time heard a tiny Who (people just like us, only tiny; but “A Person’s a Person, No Mat- ter How Small”), has been accused of the dastardly crimes of “talking to a speck, disturbing the peace, and loitering ... on an egg.” In the meantime, the rotten Wickershams have grabbed from Horton the leaf of clover upon which the tiny Whovian universe exists. Into the story and ready to go to war with anyone “who eats their bread with the buttered side down” come the Cadets, led by the harrumphing, galumphing, war-mongering Gen- eral Ghengis Kahn Schmidt, played to a tee by the magnificently mutton-chopped Christian McAteer. There has been much speculation about the authenticity of these whiskers but, in an Ojai Valley News scoop, I can report that sources close to the General attest they are indeed real.
The comically brilliant Poosy Holmes dazzles as the Cat-in-The-Hat, our guide through the tale, upstaged only by young Poeme Howard as the very littlest Who- vian, Cindy-Lou Who.
The time comes for Horton’s trial and he is found guilty by the self-important Judge Yertle The Turtle (Len Klaif). But how can Horton convince everyone that the Whos are real?
Vocal director Julija Zonic and music director,Greg Spaulding coax delectable solos and wonderfully har- monized ensemble numbers from the enormous cast. Costuming by Sheryl Jo Bedal and Janna Valenzuela makes the whole spectacle larger than life against the backdrop of Michael McCarthy’s splendid set. The cast and whole huge and swirling enterprise are kept on an even keel by director Gai Jones and producer Herb Hemming.
At of the time of going to press, nobody from either political party has attempted to have an elephant hatch an egg, but, rediscovering childhood favorites and realizing that there is a world in the theater actually crazier than the world outside of it are both welcome comforts as we move into the holiday season. “Seussical” is uproarious, colorful and deliciously silly, and its subtle but profound messages of tolerance and humanity are as timely as they are timeless.

Pin It

Not a subscriber?  choose your subscription plan.