News Column

Genesius West's 'Seussical,' two other shows set for weekend

July 18, 2013


July 18--Genesius Theatre is teaming up with the Conrad Weiser Music Association to present "Seussical, The Musical!" today through Saturday at 8 p.m. at Conrad Weiser High School in Robesonia.

The production, billed as Genesius West, will be directed by Hope O'Pake, who directs at Genesius and also at Conrad Weiser High School.

"Seussical" is one of the most-performed shows in America, a musical extravaganza that brings to life favorite Dr. Seuss characters such as Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie La Bird and a little boy with a big imagination named Jojo.

The Cat in the Hat is the host, emcee and all-around mischief maker in the production that finds Horton facing two challenges: He must protect his friend Jojo and the invisible Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, and he must guard an abandoned egg left to his care by Mayzie.

Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and trial, Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him and is the only one who recognizes "his true and powerful heart."

The original Broadway production opened in November 2000 and ran for 198 performances, garnering Drama Desk, Drama League and Tony Award nominations.

The show, which is the first collaboration between Genesius and the Conrad Weiser Music Association, features 50 actors between the ages of 6 and 22 representing more than a dozen Berks County schools.

"The show is really an exercise in exploring our imaginations and revisiting our inner child," said O'Pake. "Each cast member was guided to use those things to create their own personal character."

She added that each of the younger cast members had an older buddy in the cast to mentor them. This extended to the production team as well.

A dinner with the characters will be held prior to each performance at 6 p.m., and a Musical Cafe for anyone interested in dinner and a show will begin at 7 p.m. Light fare such as hot dogs and barbecue will be available for purchase.

The cast will also be hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand at all performances, with all profits going to the ALS Foundation.

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling 610-373-9500 or visiting Credit card fees apply. Tickets will also be available at the door. For handicapped seating, email Zach Frantz at

'Jack and the Giant'

Rainbow Theatre presents "Jack and the Giant," a musical retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk," at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in Reading Area Community College's Miller Center for the Arts, 4 N. Second St.

The cast consists of more than 30 students ranging in age from 7 to 17, under the direction of Carol Toomey, with musical direction by Kay Wadsworth, choreography by Kim Feltenberger, set design by Lisa Sweitzer, technical assistance by Brett Buckwalter and costume design and coordination by Marianne Maciejewsi and Maureen Helms.

The show includes such numbers as "Good Things Are Bound To Happen," "Fee Fi Fo Fum" and "Run, Jack, Run."

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and available by calling the Miller Center box office at 610-607-6270 or by visiting

For more information about the production or Rainbow Theatre, call 610-777-0900 or visit

'Annie Get Your Gun'

Fleetwood Community Theatre presents the Tony Award-winning 1999 version of "Annie Get Your Gun" today and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. in Fleetwood High School.

The show features a revised libretto by Peter Stone that reshaped the 1946 book to create a Wild West show-within-a-show that frames the ageless love story of sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. He has added a secondary romance between the younger sister of Frank's bothersome assistant Dolly and a boy who is (to Dolly's horror) part Native American.

Though set more than 130 years ago, it is built on the universal theme of the struggle for equality as Annie struggles to be acknowledged and valued for the woman and person she is.

The show is being directed by Santo Marabella with Ken Dreistadt and features an all-ages cast from Berks and Lehigh counties, starring Kaleigh Limper as Annie, Jon Schultz as Frank and Todd Carpien as Buffalo Bill, along with John Fielding, Bob Barskey, Rachel Rock and Ryan Schlegel.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors and can be reserved by calling 610-944-3610 or visiting Tickets purchased at the door are cash only.


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