Seussical at The Heritage Players

TheatreBloom rating:

It’s most certainly definitely a sweltering summer!

But please, oh please, don’t let the weather be a bummer!

Because there are so many things you can think if you try!

Like a production of Seussical that you shouldn’t pass by!

Why, it’s The Heritage Players offering up their zany summer show!

And it’s a pretty darn good one, take it from me— I should know!

Jim Gross (center) as Horton in Seussical the Musical
Jim Gross (center) as Horton in Seussical the Musical John Cholod

Over one dozen Seussicals— but each one’s unique!

And this one’s got all sorts of Seuss— so to speak!

Director Amy E. Haynes is showing off her stuff

She’s unearthing layers in Seussical, and that’s pretty tough!

In the Rice Auditorium on the proscenium stage she gets everything set

You’re in for a treat! Oh the creativity you will get!

Haynes coaxes out nuances from each performance you see

There are unique personalities from A to Z!

There’s a glittery concept going on in her mind

And it explodes into the Costumes, I think you will find.

Clare Kneebone takes up the role of Costume Designer

And with sparkles and sequins you won’t get much finer!

Kneebone coordinates colored converse shoes for their feet!

Greens, yellows, and blues— why, it looks pretty neat!

Megan Mostow (center) as Mayzie and The Bird Girls in Seussical; The Musical
Megan Mostow (center) as Gertrude McFuzz and The Bird Girls in Seussical; The Musical John Cholod

And she deserves a special nod for the outrageous design

Featured on the Grinch; it suits his personality just fine.

Working with Haynes’ concept of individual personality quirks

Kneebone dresses the cast with zest and all of the perks!

Haynes partners up with Andrew Worthington, the show’s Musical Director

When it comes to producing quality sound, well he’s certainly no defector!

Worthington and Haynes when it comes to excellence with this show they just won’t quit

They both make the very smart decision to exclude from this show a musical pit!

With no way to control the overloud playing, they take matters into their sensible hands

And choose instead, pre-recorded tracks, with perfect sound balance— I’m a fan!

No drowned out singers, no lost song snippets, Worthington makes sure of that

He guarantees all the harmonies come out loud and clear as a see-through Gazaat!

Back to Haynes and her vision, which is very adept

She’s got this imagination in the box as her framework concept.

When the story gets started, it’s all about imagination you see

The physical box is Jojo’s imagination, which he shares with you and with me!

Stephan Foreman (right) as The Cat in the Hat
Stephan Foreman (right) as The Cat in the Hat John Cholod

This allows for simplistic beauty, like turning the whole cast into fish with just masks

And letting little light tricks do wonders, it’s genius, just in case anyone asks.

But enough about Haynes, we all know she’s swell and her ideas are mighty great too

Let’s get onto the cast— because boy, what a show! What a marvel is waiting for you!

There’s Mike Zurkowski with his deep booming voice as Yurtle and The Grinch

He can flip from silly to serious, making it look like a real easy cinch.

Then there are those Wickersham Brothers— three goofy goons— hey, I know this musical well!

John Gurtshaw, John Carter, and one incognito Wickersham Sister, Amy Bell!

They dance and the goof, and they sing quite a lot

Oh! I knew there were someone in production I forgot

But talking about those Wickershams did make me halt

And remember I need to mention Choreographer Kelly Alt!

She’s responsible for those Wickershams moves

And all kinds of other super dance-based grooves

Like the Hunches number and the Jungle of Nool routine

But don’t take my word for it, her choreography simply should be seen!

Jim Gross (center) as Horton and The Wickersham Brothers (John Carter, John Gurtshaw, and Amy Bell)
Jim Gross (center) as Horton and The Wickersham Brothers (John Carter, John Gurtshaw, and Amy Bell) John Cholod

Now back to the cast— but where did I leave off?

Oh! Right! With a mighty black bird named Vlad Vladikoff!

Oh— wait a minute— Vlad’s not listed in the program, but trust me he’s well done

Let’s move on— to General Schmitz! Played by the incomparably barking John Sheldon.

With a grunt and a gruff and a hup-two-bark-growl

Sheldon makes the General a character at whom with laughter you’ll yowl.

With his spiky orange hair and his big military shades

He’s a real piece of work that will have you snickering for days

There are so many wonderful performances happening in this show

Let me give you a few more dozen reasons to go!

How about the Bird Girls with personalities that could stretch far over a gulf?

Megan Henderson, Lisa Rigsby, Sam Sheldon, Addie Sutter, and Bailey Wolf!

They’re back-up style showgirls for Miss Mayzie LaBird

And their attitudes are surely most loudly being heard!

Especially Bailey Wolf, the ditzy doodle of the bunch

She’s a quirky, quacky, and plucky, and I’ve got a hunch

That each Bird Girl personality is a distinctive flavoring

Of personalities they’ve fabricated; most definitely worth savoring.

They do more than sing backup for Mayzie

Their dancing and facial expressions are quite crazy!

Kristen Zwobot (center) as Sour Kangaroo, with Talya Goldstein (left of her) as Young Kangaroo and the Bird Girls (background)
Kristen Zwobot (center) as Sour Kangaroo, with Talya Goldstein (left of her) as Young Kangaroo and the Bird Girls (background) John Cholod

And I suppose that’s a good segue for me to move on and tell ya

About Mayzie LaBird, Miss Lisa Pastella!

Channeling Vegas headliner with an attitude as big as her tail

She’ll entertain you for miles, guaranteed without fail!

Her voice is a burst of powerful belting

Though under that headdress I’m sure she is melting!

Her costume is wild— incredibly grandiose, lavish, and big

All stacked up with those feathers, and a crown thing, and a wig!

Oops! Forgot another production designer

Who’s made all the hairpieces and they’ve never looked finer

Mr. Tommy Malek is the man, with wigs he’s the boss

And they’re in every color of vibrant faerie floss!

For you non-British folks, Fairy Floss is Cotton Candy!

Tommy’s wigs look like that, and they’re just fine and dandy!

Back to Mayzie and the Bird Girls— wait, we’ve spoke of them a lot!

Time to shift attention to Whoville— cause they’re showings us what they’ve got!

They’re Whos there, small there, awesome, don’t you dare count them out!

They’re Whos, yes! Fabulous— listen to them scream and shout!

Mayor Who, Dave Hill, and Rachel Weir his Mayor Wife

They’re quite dapper and dashing living up the Who life.

John Sheldon (left) as General Schmitz and The Whos
John Sheldon (left) as General Schmitz and The Whos John Cholod

With sweet voices for their songs and humorous facials post-planet crash,

Hill and Weir are wonderful, together they’re a smash!

Who am I missing before I get onto the final four?

Is it someone I haven’t mentioned before?

Oh yes! With a big belting voice and a boisterous personality too

It’s Kristen Zwobot playing the Sour Kangaroo.

Her little pouchling, Talya Goldstein, is quite cute and sassy

She’s as adorable as Zwobot is brassy.

From high-stacked violently violet hair down to shimmering gold fanny pack

Zwobot nails her role with a vigorous belt; she’s mastering this act

And young Tayla Goldstein is just too cute for words

Just like— oh gosh! Just like the Elephant Bird!

Played by Miss Audrey Bell, who is so cute and so sweet

And I must tell you this— she gives the most perfect tweet!

Doubled up in the children’s ensemble with Xander Bell, Gabby Gertner, and the alternate Jojo

Little Miss Bell is fierce, and she’s not afraid to show off her mojo!

This alternating Jojo thing— well it happens a lot, you see

When you’ve got two talented people playing characters that are wee.

Jim Gross (left) as Horton and Brandon Goldman (right) as Jojo
Jim Gross (left) as Horton and Brandon Goldman (right) as Jojo John Cholod

At my performance I saw Carly Dagilis play Jojo

She’s sweet and animated, and you should definitely go-go!

Go see her— or see Brandon Goldman the other thinker kid!

I hope to see him too and say he did as wonderful as she did!

Dagilis has a clear voice, powerful and strong

And it holds up quite well when singing different songs.

She sings mostly with Horton and The Cat in the Hat

And it sounds pretty awesome, what do you think of that?

Oh Horton the elephant, we can talk next about him I suppose

The tender sweet, emotionally believable Jim Gross.

With a crystal clear voice, like a glossy clean lake

Gross gives it all heart, nothing contrived, nothing fake.

He deeply attaches to the character’s ethos, he unearths the emotional well

With really innocent and adorable facial expressions, he performs as Horton very well.

Megan Mostow as Gertrude McFuzz
Megan Mostow as Gertrude McFuzz John Cholod

And playing opposite of him, Megan Mostow was great, yes she was!

As she took on the role of Miss Gertrude McFuzz.

I realize you grammar folk are having a conniption

As I flip-flop my tenses throughout these descriptions

But you try rhyming words with Gertrude McFuzz

And still praise Mostow’s performance for how great it was

She’s sincere, just like Gross, and invested in her character quirks

They’re really quite adorable, and she makes sure the work.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, I’m not a spoiler! I think you should know that

But I guess I just might, when it comes to a certain quirky and funky Cat in the Hat!

The most notable nuances catch my eye while he’s performin’

That zany in the brainy, Cat in the Hat, Stephen Foreman.

He almost eats the clover! He laps up the bathtub water too!

I mean with a looney-toony Cat like that, what else are you supposed to do?

He’s animated and lively and has a great sound when he sings songs

Foreman is an exceptional choice, with him at the helm you can’t go wrong!

I think that just about does it, all the things you’ll see and hear!

And I’m telling you get your tickets quick, people are coming from far and near

To see this production of Seussical that Amy E. Haynes has done up right

It’s a fantastical production, good afternoon and night!

You won’t want to miss this Seussical, trust me when I say this— I know.

I’ve seen more than a dozen, and The Heritage Players’ one is a great show!

So think of all the things you will think when you go and see this play

Oh the fun you will have with Seussical! It’ll be quite the special day!

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes with one intermission

Seussical plays through July 16, 2017 at The Heritage Players in the Rice Auditorium of the Spring Grove Hospital Campus— 55 Wade Avenue in Catonsville, MD. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online.

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