Posted by: April – May 16, 2012
Seussical The Musical, a theatrical adaptation of multiple characters, books, and aspects from the world of Dr. Suess (Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie, and more), is in town at Theatre IV. I was able to chat with one of the lead actresses in the musical, Aly Wepplo--whose previous credits include Theatre IV’s The Ugly Duckling and Harriet Tubman, Barksdale’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Is He Dead? and Lend Me a Tenor--to get the lowdown on what we can expect from the play.
What can you tell us about the musical? Do you think it will be good for all age groups?
Seussical is a musical of Dr Seuss stories and its about imagination, family and love, taking care of one another. and yeah it is for people of all ages. I've seen it myself, as an adult and gotten a lot of out it. It's a really sweet story, you don't have to be a kid to like it.
It will be good for "our" crowd?
Yes, it's a lot of humor that adults will appreciate even more than kids.
What can you tell us about your character?
I play Gertrude McFuzz. Gertrude is a bird with a one feathered tail. Her neighbor, Mayzie has a big tail with lots of feathers, and Gertrude is jealous. She tries to get more feathers for herself, and she has to learn a lesson about appreciating what she already has.
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Is it in the play?
As a child I really enjoyed Hop On Pop. I guess its not in the play, [but] there's a lot of rhyming [and] a lot of hopping.
So as far as sets and costumes, will this be the trippy experience that I'm hoping for?
Yes. That and more. There [are] a lot of colors and light, explosions of sound, and fur. There's fur all over everything. Some people are Whos--you know, from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Did you have children play the Whos?
There are five kids in the play. They are all amazing, serious actors and they all have this [elaborate] walk they do. They play animals too.
Is there anything specific that you are happy to be doing this play compare to other plays you've been in as far as musicals?
This one is just fun. It's joy from start to finish, and we're there to have a good time.
After conducting this interview, I went to see Seussical at an incredibly early showing, and felt like I was the only adult in the house who wasn't accompanying a child. Once the show started, though, I couldn't even tell there were kids in the theatre. All of them were enthralled by what was presented to us--as was I. The set design was amazing, with pops of color and Seuss-style illustration distributed amongst the quirky tilted faux-landscapes--plus, tons of fur! Certain moments felt like a shroom-induced trip, and the direction was incredibly interactive. I know non-stop singing is not for everyone, but the harmonies from the entire ensemble gave me goosebumps. This was absolutely worth checking out.
Seussical The Musical is currently showing at Theatre IV's Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre (formerly the Empire Theatre), located at 114 W. Broad St (Directions HERE). The remaining performances will take place at 7 PM on Friday May 18, at 10 AM and again at 2 PM on Saturday, May 19, and at 2 PM on Sunday, May 20. Advance tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.
Words and Illustration by April Kelly
Aly Wepplo Photo by Robyn O'Neill