More than three dozen local youth delighted audiences at the Players Guild Dearborn last weekend as the Guildlings opened their summer youth theater production of “Seussical Junior.”
Directed by Margaret Winowiecki of Dearborn, the show features music direction by Karen Danke of Redford, choreography by Jennifer McPherson of Dearborn, and costumes by Anne Suchyta of Dearborn. Debbie Pletzer of Canton assistant directed the show, while Tim Carney of Livonia and Kathy Fothergill of Dearborn were co-producers.
“Seussical Junior” is a shorter version of the Broadway musical. The story combines elements and characters from several Dr. Seuss books into one rollercoaster storyline. As Horton the Elephant peers into the tiny world of Whoville nestled on a clover, the audience sees the colorful chorus of Whoville appear to the side through the magic of theatrical staging and their own imaginations. The world of Whoville is magnified on the stage as they perform in a parallel world with Seuss’ earth-sized magical creatures.
From the moment the curtain opens, the energetic cast transports the audience into the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss. The vibrant scenery and the colorful costumes reinforce the illusion of favorite childhood stories brought delightfully to life.
Bella Fothergill of Dearborn opens the show with her unique blend of humor and impish energy as the irrepressible Cat in the Hat. Keep an eye on her ever-changing hats. Alex Rosen of Lincoln Park is entertaining as Jojo, the Cat’s unwitting sidekick, who launches his adventure and drives his parents crazy by flooding the bathroom while spinning yarns that “turn minnows into whales.”
Nick Candea of Dearborn is endearing as Horton the Elephant, who not only endeavors to save the tiny word of Whoville, but lazy Mayzie’s egg as well.
Kim Mattern of Dearborn is delightful as Gertrude McFuzz, the bird next door with a full-feathered crush on Horton. Her facial expressions and flouncing make her a favorite with the audience, who saw her spread her wings and discover her self-esteem.
Kelcie Bourquin of Dearborn is fun and flashy singing and strutting as Mayzie LaBird, who is eager to abandon her nested egg for a warmer climate and a wilder life. Her vivid red-feathered showgirl costume would make a Las Vegas showgirl proud.
Dearborn girls Miranda Fothergill, Christie Schauder, and Maria Viscomi are entertaining as the Bird Girls, an avian Andrews Sisters trio.
The Wickersham Brothers, portrayed by Ramsey Allen and Nathaniel Booth of Dearborn, and Jeremy Muse of Canton, provide comic relief and pratfalls throughout the show with their simian antics. Natalie Joseph of Dearborn is entertaining as the Sour Kangeroo.
Canton’s Emily Plezer and Sophia Tyler are engaging as the mischievous Thing 1 and Thing 2, and they entertain the house with a series of sight gags.
The colorful chorus anchors the show with fast-paced numbers and enthusiasm while they infuse the show with energy. The bright costumes bring out the human side of Seuss’ memorable characters. The styling adds a touch of nostalgia as the characters from an earlier era become bigger than life.
“Seussical Junior” runs one more weekend, Friday through Sunday. All shows will begin at 7:30 p.m., with $5 general admission. The Players Guild of Dearborn Theatre is at 21730 Madison in Dearborn, southwest of the intersection of Monroe and Outer Drive.
For more information, call the Guild ticket line at (313) 561-TKTS, or goto the Web site www.playersguildofdearborn.org.
STARSHINE CHILDREN’S THEATRE WORKSHOP SERVES SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS
Teaching special needs youth about theater and giving them a chance to perform on stage will be the focus of a four-day summer workshop sponsored by the Players Guild of Dearborn and the Neighborhood Services Organization of Michigan. The goal of the four-day Starshine Children’s Theatre Workshop, which begins Aug. 3, is to expose special needs children to stagecraft and performing on stage. The workshop activities and rehearsals will culminate in a performance featuring the participating youth at 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Players Guild of Dearborn.