"After all of those years being stuck on a page,
Did you ever imagine you'd see me onstage?
Now I'm here, there's no telling what may ensue!"
— The Cat in the Hat, "Seussical"
The Broadway darling and family favorite "Seussical" will run over the next two weekends at South Coast Repertory.
Performed by SCR's Summer Players, the massive musical features characters fromDr. Seuss' most beloved stories, including "The Cat in the Hat,""The Lorax,""Horton Hears a Who" and "Green Eggs and Ham." The overarching theme is the value of friendship and the notion that even the smallest person has value.
In order to audition as Summer Players, young actors from SCR's Kids and Teen Acting Program are required to spend at least one year in SCR's Theatre Conservatory classes.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version incorrectly listed the director's name as Hisa Takaguwa. In fact, her name is Takakuwa. Also, an earlier version said the show is Friday. In fact, the show is Saturday, Sunday and Aug. 18 and 19.
The decision was made for the first time last summer to open the casting pool to recent graduates, in order to cast more mature performers for the 2011 summer production of "Into the Woods." This served to raise the bar for the cast's younger members, director Hisa Takakuwa said.
ee graduates were selected to perform in "Seussical," along with others who serve as assistant director and assistant musical director.
A highlight of the show's cast is the set of three Huntley brothers from Newport Beach, all veterans of the Theatre Conservatory program, who will perform together in the ensemble cast.
Christopher, 14, was the first in the family to attend SCR's Summer Acting Workshop for newcomers in 2006, Takakuwa said. Since then, he has appeared in seven of the Rep's Junior, Teen and Summer Player shows. He may be known to audiences for his appearances in "A Christmas Carol" as Young Ebenezer and, last season, as Peter Cratchit.
Nicholas, 16, and Mitchell, 11, saw how much Christopher was enjoying himself and began training in the Summer Acting Workshop in 2008; they have since appeared in Summer Players shows as well.
At 31 members, this is the largest cast of Summer Players that has been utilized to date, which presents its own set of challenges and opportunities.
"'Seussical' is very much an ensemble piece, and our actors come to rehearsal well-prepared because the ability to work and create together is the core of everything we teach during the year," Takakuwa said. "Of course, there are bumps along the way in a show this big, but our ensemble weathers them well!"
A major element of "Seussical" is movement, Takakuwa said. To that end, a choreographer, Kelly Todd, has been hired for the first time to guide the actors.
"For the past few years, we have chosen musical shows for the Summer Players, and they have been very popular with the audiences as well as great experiences for the actors," Takakuwa said.
"It's important for the actors in our program to have new and different challenges with each show, and 'Seussical' is different in many ways because the characters are 'fantastical.' But even though they're not real people, they have great heart and possess qualities that our actors can identify with and enjoy portraying."
"Seussical" is appropriate for (and enjoyed by) all ages, but Takakuwa said it is best geared for those 6 and older due to its length — almost two hours, including an intermission.
If You Go
When: 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Aug. 18 and 19
Where: South Coast Repertory, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
Cost: $12 children; $14 adults
Information: (714) 708-5555 or scr.org