Valdosta Daily Times

Features

March 28, 2012

Gingerbread Players put Seuss to song

VALDOSTA — Given the success of the recent “Lorax” movie, it seems strange seeing all of the other characters but him on the Dosta Playhouse stage.

The zany Cat in the Hat accompanied by Thing 1 and Thing 2. Horton with his ability to hear a Who. The Grinch whose undersized heart had been known to triple in size.

They are gathered with a menagerie of Dr. Seuss characters, all played by area children and a few adults, in Gingerbread Players of Theatre Guild Valdosta’s “Seussical Jr.”

The “Jr.” means this is an abbreviated, youth performance of the famed Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens musical based on Dr. Seuss’ books.

Starring mostly children, “Seussical” is a show that should appeal to young audiences, but it should also appeal to all of the adults and parents who read these stories during their own childhoods or who regularly read them to their children.

For some people, the voice of Horton or the Cat in the Hat will forever be the voice of their mother or father. For adults, “Seussical” can be a wonderful return to the nonsensical days of youth, while youngsters can enjoy Seuss’ constant challenge to their imaginations.

The Gingerbread Players’ set and costumes incorporate the look of a Dr. Seuss book. Katelynn Kenworthy, one of the youths who also performs on stage, designed the set and costumes. She has designed several Gingerbread Players sets in the past couple of seasons. Her mother, Lynnette Kenworthy, directs “Seussical.”

The director shares that one of the more interesting aspects of this is show involves the meeting of Seuss characters on stage who never met in the books.

Kenworthy says she is proud of the young cast for meeting the challenges of this approximately hour-and-10-minute show opening tonight.

“They have worked so hard to put together a show that tells the heartwarming story of friendship and believing in something that you can’t always see,” she writes in the program director’s notes.

The experience has also been a family one for more than just the mother-daughter director and scene/costume designer. John Seppala wanted to participate in the show to spend more time with his children, Luke and Mark. He may have had only a small role in mind but, as opening night nears, the elder Seppala wears the floppy ears and gray coloring of Horton the Elephant.

Throughout the show, especially with so many children playing Whos and other characters, one may be reminded of two sayings. The old theatre adage: There are no small roles, only small actors. And the Seuss adage: A person’s a person no matter how small.

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