Seussical the Musical
Breakthrough Theatre Company • Winter Park, Florida
Directed by Wade Hair
Music Direction by Angela Cotto
Choreography by Madison Smith
Starring Natalie Doliner, Bryan Boggiano, Ashley Vankirk, and Angela Cotto
reviewed by Carl F. Gauze
Yes, the cast almost outnumbered the audience, but it was still a near a sellout for this opening night. With a cast of dozens, this may be the biggest show attempted on the Breakthrough stage, as we explore bits and pieces of every Doctor Seuss story ever published. Natalie Dolinger leads the party as The Cat in the Hat. She’s the the rascally troublemaker who magically undoes all her sins at the end of the show. There are two main subplots here. First we have the large elephant Horton (Boggiano) who falls in love with the microscopic town of Whoville that exists on a tiny piece of pollen. The mini-mayor Mr. Mayor is played by Paul Lance, and his wife by the loyal Kathryn McCulley. The Who people beg for help, and only Horton can hear their plea. He’s mocked for helping some exotic community no one else can even see. The parallel plot line revolves around Gertrude McFuzz (Ashley Vankirk). She’s a bird with few feathers, and she’s mocked by the flamboyant Mayzie Le Bird (Cotto) who annoys the wispy and unimpressive Gertrude. Through hard work, Gertrude grows more feathers until she is too heavy to fly. Thus, she learns to be happy with what she has, and shows up Mayzie.
If you’ve eve been around kids, you know these stories from beak to plumage. What makes them more enjoyable is the crazy energy on this crowded stage. I loved the supporting roles. You have the Grinch (Russel Trahan) with too few words, a deeply depressed turtle (Larry Stalling), a tinpot general (Jon Jimenez), and a flock of screaming monkeys. The cast is ginormous and populated with many small children. That reduces the number of lines any one small actor needs to recall, and I saw zero slips in the performance. Seussical is fun for all ages, and fun for everyone on both sides of the invisible curtain.