The imagination of Theodor Seuss Geisel -- better known as Dr. Seuss -- brought to life some of the most well-known and well-loved children's characters of all time. From the Cat in the Hat to the Grinch to Horton and the Whos, Dr. Seuss's classic rhymes fill the bookcases of bedrooms and classrooms everywhere. In "Seussical the Musical," Dr. Seuss's carnival of characters come together on one stage to put a new twist on some very familiar lessons.
"Seussical" starts with a young boy and the Cat in the Hat, who serves as the guide to the story. Using their imaginations, the boy and the Cat go to a jungle where Horton and other Dr. Seuss characters live. Horton discovers a small piece of dirt and the Whos living inside. He begins to care for the Whos, incurring ridicule from the other characters in the jungle. Eventually, the Cat throws the boy into the story as one of the Whos. The boy gets in trouble with his Who parents and is sent to military school. Horton and the boy become friends when they realize they have both been punished in some way for their imaginations. The Whos are taken from Horton and dropped in a field of clover, and Horton is stolen away by hunters.
Horton is sold to the circus while the boy continues in military school. Although Whoville has been damaged, the Whos have survived. After refusing to go to war, the boy marches near a minefield, an explosion is heard and he disappears. His Whoville parents learn that he has been lost in the war. The Cat finds him and returns him to his home. A friend of Horton's -- Gertrude McFuzz -- finds him, takes him back to the jungle and reunites him with the Whos. Yet, some still believe Horton is crazy and take him to trial. The judge orders Horton to an asylum and for the speck of dirt to be boiled in oil. The Whos come together to make enough noise to be heard and are saved.
Characters and Books
"Seussical" features many of Dr. Seuss's famous characters. In addition to the Cat in the Hat, Horton, the Whos and Gertrude McFuzz, other notable characters that appear include General Genghis Kahn Schmitz from "I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew," Mayzie la Bird from "Horton Hatches the Egg," and the Sour Kangaroo and Wickersham Brothers from "Horton Hears a Who!" The musical takes pieces from more than 15 books. Although not all characters are represented, references are made to "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Green Eggs and Ham" and many more.
'Seussical" debuted at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in November 2000. The show was performed only 198 times and ended less than six months later. According to a 2007 article in "The New York Times," the musical was a major disappointment, losing more than $10 million dollars. However, the show has found more success in off-Broadway venues. While some performances have stuck to the original script, three other versions are now being performed across the United States. These alternate versions are often shorter, depending on the audience, which ranges from very small children to adults.
- All About Theatre: Seussical Synopsis
- "New York Times"; Stripped Down but Still Hatted, That Cat Is Back; Campbell Robertson; July 2009
- Broadway Musical Home: Seussical
- Music Theatre International: Seussical
- University of Wisconson-Madison: Wisconsin National Primate Research Center; An Index to Dr. Seuss: Characters and Unusual Creatures; 1994
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