Friday, June 24, 2011


Jo Jo and the Cat in the Hat

Theodor Geisel is best known for his unique cadre of personal friends like Yertle the Turtle, Sneetches, Grinches, Gowdy the Dowdy Grackle, Tingo the Noodle Topped Stroodle and many, many more.  He immortalized them in his four dozen children’s stories and they have been made the subject of Disney theme parks, cartoons, snap-apart animal sets, movies and even a Broadway musical.  You might recognize Geisel by his well known pen name:  Dr. Seuss.

The Connecticut Repertory Theatre, on the campus of the University of Connecticut, invites you to expand your imagination in wondrous and amazing ways to celebrate creativity and kindness in “Seussical the Musical” at the Nafe Katter Theatre until Sunday, June 26.

With a mischievous Cat in the Hat (Bradford Scobie) as your guide, let Horton the Elephant (Steve Hayes) go to extensive lengths to protect and save a tiny, impossible-to-see community, the Whos,  from being extinguished.  Taken from “Horton Hears a Who,” this rousing musical allows Horton to be a hero, even a reluctant one, as he safeguards his miniscule new friend Jo Jo (Noah Zachary) and all the little Whos (Cody Strand, Lindsay Andretta).

As if that wasn’t taxing enough, Horton is persuaded by a conniving Mayzie LaBird (Rachel Rosado) to sit on her egg while she goes off to play land.  While Horton is doing all this manly and motherly thing, he fails to see the love that is shining for him out of the adorable eyes of Gertrude McFuzz (Allyssa Schmitt), one of the cutest featured creatures on the planet.

As the lumbering Horton asserts, “a person’s a person no matter how small,” he knows he is the sole protector of the whole Who world.  Now he also is the mother hen guarding an egg-filled nest.  What is an elephant supposed to do first?  Like a good mother, he learns to multi-task magnificently.  Also helping and hindering Horton along his way are the Sour Kangaroo (Amani Dorn) and the Wickershams (Jamie Goldman and Charles South).

Cassie Abate directs and choreographs this charming children’s tale that even curmudgeons will embrace, on a Technicolor set by Michael Anania, clever puppetry by Paul Spirito and with a kaleidoscope of costumes and cute haberdashery by Leslie Neilson-Bowman.  Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty created this imaginative tale.

For tickets ($10-39, children $10), call the CT Rep Theatre box office at 860-486-4226 or online at  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.  “My Fair Lady” comes next, July 7-17, at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre.  The series is sponsored generously by Hamilton Sundstrand and SI Financial Advisors.

Come join Gertrude’s fan club and cheer on Horton as he tries to save the world, well at least a world of tiny creatures and one large egg.  It’s not your grandma’s Mother Goose!

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