Under the direction of Shenandoah High School vocal director Ashleigh Sons, “Seussical the Musical” will take the Gladys Wirsig-Jones auditorium stage at 7 p.m. Nov. 8-9 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 10.
A musical incorporating a variety of Dr. Seuss children’s stories, with the plot based on “Horton Hears a Who” will be sure to delight the entire audience.
Sons said the last several years they have chosen family shows, and she has opened up auditions to younger Shenandoah students. She saw a large turnout for auditions again this year, so she will be including a children’s chorus in this production as she did last year.
“It is really cool to see so many kids want to be involved in theatre and music,” said Sons.
Sons said choosing family shows and getting younger kids involved in the fall musicals has been a great way to rebuild the program.
“I wanted another show that families could come and enjoy, and everybody loves Dr. Suess,” said Sons. “I’ve known the show for a long time and have been waiting for my chance to do it. It is fun, has a lot of color, and this just seemed like the year.”
Sons said the biggest challenge every year is scheduling because in a small school all of the students are involved in other activities. When the calendar is done, there may only be two rehearsals with the entire cast.
“We just go with who we have, and the other kids are always really good about catching them up, or them coming in on their own time and getting caught up,” said Sons.
Sons keeps the same pit orchestra every year.
“It’s a fun way to get that little family together every year,” said Sons. “I try to keep it small just because we’ve always had a pretty small cast, but now that it’s getting bigger, I can add more people.”
Sons said she decided to try something new this year and is requiring every cast member to come to a set-building day. Sons wanted to give this a try to help reduce the workload on the same volunteers that build the sets each year.
Sons said the cast is having fun helping with the building, and it has given them a chance to get to know other kids they don’t normally socialize with. She plans to keep this as a requirement.
“It is so cool to see from the beginning to the end how much they grow and support each other,” said Sons. “That is probably my favorite part.”
Judges from the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards will be in the theatre again this year. Sons said last year was the first year they registered, and they received a lot of positive feedback from the judges. Last year for “The Little Mermaid,” they won a creative and technical design award, and five of their leads were recognized as special recognitions.
Auditions for the show were held the first week of September.
Playing the role of Horton the Elephant is Gage Reed; Gertrude McFuzz, Alexa Munsinger; Cat in the Hat, Quentin Slater; JoJo, Claire Adkins; Mayzie LaBird, Hannah Mulligan’ Sour Kangaroo, Lilbby Ehlers; Baby Kangaroo, Rylyn Van Essen; Bird Girls, Ciara Schierkolk, Ava Godfread, Hannah Underwood, Riley Hunter, Kaitlyn Widger, Roxy Denton and Cassidy Morris; Mr. Mayor, Dakota Murren; Mrs. Mayor, Kaitlyn Widger; Wickersham Brothers, Landen Newquist, Dakota Murren, Derik Farrell, Will Stevenson, Greyson Kinghorn and Jack Murren; General, Hannah Underwood; Yertle the Turtle, Landen Newquist; Chorus, Kayla Shelton, Cheyenne Gough, Olivia McAlpin, Vesta Bopp, Sara-Lotta Niskanen, Mya Hammons, Josh Schuster, Eli Schuster, Hadlee Kinghorn and Keelee Razee; Children’s Chorus, Mya and Zoe Young, Peyton Hammons, Caroline Campbell, Ali Hansen, Adelyn Cole, Zoey Nelson, Lyla Mather, Lilly Mather, Tayler Haffner, Ady Van Essen, Annalise McIntosh, Sophia Amadeo, Camryn Gile, Wyatt Stevenson, Jillian Putnam, Valeria Cardona, Sophia Adkins, Promise Steng, Cadence Miller, Grace Olson and Addy Leece.
Sons parents are organizing a “Seuss-a-palooza” fundraiser for “Suessical The Musical”.
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, in the Shenandoah Middle School Commons area, there will be a “Suess-a-palooza” Carnival for children ages preschool through sixth grade. Cost will be $5 at the door or $4 in advance before Nov. 1. Advance tickets can be purchased at the elementary school office.
The carnival will include eight to ten carnival games with prizes, face painting, balloon animals, and door prizes. The “Seussical the Musical” characters will be there for photos.
Dr. Suess books will be available for children to read and coloring pages that can be taken home or turned in to be hung in the auditorium the weekend of the Fall musical.
Sons said three years ago, they had an audience of about 100 each night. Last year it sold out every night.
“I’ve just enjoyed the last three years watching the program grow, and I’m really proud of it every year,” said Sons. “It’s always sad when it’s over, and I’m always excited to start the next one.”
Sons said with the interest she has seen from middle school-age kids, she is planning a middle school musical this spring. Sons said this would also allow them to be in a lead role which they are not able to do in the high school show. The musical will be for fifth through eighth grade students.
“That’s how much it has grown, which is awesome,” said Sons.
Sons said she would like to encourage families to keep coming, and she appreciates them and their support and appreciates all the donations that help the program continue to grow.
Doors will open 45 minutes before showtimes with tickets available at the door. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students.