“Seussical” opens spring theater season with fun for children great and small

The department of music revisited the childhood tales of Dr. Seuss in performances of  “Seussical the Musical” between Jan. 24 and 26 in Wadsworth Auditorium.The show follows the imagination of a young boy named JoJo and his journey through a Seussical world, guided by the notorious Cat in the Hat. Professor of theatre Melanie Blood directed and choreographed the show. Blood said that she chose “Seussical” specifically because of “the focus on imagination, strong characters and wonderful music seemed to really speak to college students.” Geneseo students had been putting in long hours in preparation of the show since Jan. 10. Children ages 9 to17 years old in the Genesee Valley Children’s Choir also participated as the Who ensemble. Sophomore Kevin Weber played the Mayor of Whoville with charisma and charm and emphasized the transcendent nature of the musical. “It might seem like it’s purely a show for kids at first, but just like Dr. Seuss’ books, the themes of the musical are relevant to someone no matter their age,” Weber said. As soon as the audience members entered the lobby of the auditorium, they were greeted with colorful paintings depicting Seuss scenes as well as caricatures of cast members with their bios, which conveyed the playful character of the show. The stage was equally well decorated, dressed in larger-than-life Seuss scene paintings and multi-level platforms painted in vibrant colors. Costumes enhanced the colorful scheme, especially with all of the birds. With the exception of the Whos and JoJo, all of the musical’s characters are animals. There were no furry ears or elephant trunks in sight, however, providing a more mature interpretation of the popular musical. Every cast member delivered their role with great excellence. Senior Billy O’Donnell in particular shined as the Cat in the Hat. Senior Elyssa Ramirez starred as Mayzie LaBird and wowed the audience with her powerhouse voice and larger-than-life acting, along with senior Melissa Taranea as the Sour Kangaroo. Junior CJ Roche and freshman Nicole Eras both stunned the crowd with their amazing performances as Horton the Elephant and Gertrude McFuzz. A freshman in high school, Blood’s daughter Miranda Blood starred as JoJo, and she was able to stand out among her older peers. “Every member of this ensemble, college and youth, is very, very talented and makes his or her unique mark in at least a moment or two of our production,” Melanie Blood said. Every member was essential to the production, and they all worked together very well to create a show of sheer fun and entertainment. The excellent performance of Geneseo students and choir students alike was entrancing. The performances truly brought back memories of Dr. Seuss days, with rhyming conversations and endless imagination. “The show itself is believing in your own, limitless imagination and never underestimating the power of your ‘thinks,’” O’Donnell said. The cast and crew of “Seussical” successfully portrayed this idea with their performance.