Nov. 13--Popular children's book characters like Cat in the Hat, Horton and Thing one and Thing Two will come to life beginning Thursday when 32 Brandywine students begin their performances of Seussical, a musical.
"(The show) opens up with just the cat's hat on the stage, and Hallie, who is JoJo, finds the hat. And then the cat appears," said August Garritano, a 2008 Brandywine alum and co-director of the musical. "And so it's about this girl thinking and having an imagination, and (The Cat in the Hat) shows her this world of Dr. Seuss, and he introduces her to Horton and all these characters."
Many of the students performing in Seussical have been involved in musicals at Brandywine since they were in elementary school. William Lewis, a senior, is performing his eighth and final production this weekend.
"I've really grown up since my first show," said Lewis, who plays Mr. Mayor, JoJo's father who runs the town of Whoville. "It's gotten a lot easier to sing and dance after you've been doing it for so many years. You don't get anymore stage fright."
Lewis said this show is more challenging than other shows he has performed because there is a lot more singing and choreography, and a lot less spoken lines.
"I'd say that this show probably started out that a lot of people had low expectations for, but not only has it turned into one of the most complex or hard musicals that we've ever endured, but it's also been the best probably," said Isaac James, a senior who plays the Cat in the Hat.
Garritano said that while the show is primarily directed at children, parts of the show are geared toward older audiences, as well.
"There's elements of romance like in any show. It's just taking the world of Dr. Seuss and making it it's own story," he said.
Garritano said the cast has been preparing for the show for approximately two months, practicing after school in the elementary school's auditorium and perfecting musical numbers in the high school choir room.
"It's a newer show. The royalties are higher than most. And it's just a big production because there's a lot of music, kind of like when we did Joseph (and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," said Garritano, referring to the production Brandywine performed in 2006, in which he played the title character.
The curtain opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 in Brandywine Elementary's gymnasium, located at 2428 N. 4th St. in Niles. The cast will perform additional shows on the 15th and 16th at 7 p.m., and an additional matinee performance at 2 p.m. on the 16th. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $4 for adults and $3 for children, students and senior citizens. All tickets are $1 cheaper during the matinee performance on Saturday.
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