Silly Seuss, not Moose, not a caboose
Woodbury Community Theatre gets their Grinch on — in a good way — in "Seussical: The Musical."
The seriously silly production, based on the beloved Dr. Seuss children's books, runs weekends Dec. 2-11 at the Loft Stage at East Ridge High School.
The Cat in the Hat, played by Ben Habegger, narrates a fanciful tale that takes place largely in the mind of a young boy named Jojo, a role played on alternate nights by Woodbury residents and best friends Chandler Schmitz, 10, and Henry North, 11.
The theme of the show can largely be summed up in the opening number, "Oh, The Thinks You can Think!" about the transformative power of imagination.
And lend an ear to Horton the Elephant (Jake Rahier), who hears a "who" from a speck of dust and discovers a microscopic community called Whoville. Horton risks ridicule and imprisonment when he insists on providing sanctuary to the citizens of Whoville, who he hides on top of a clover.
The motto of that story, "A person's a person, no matter how small," resonated with director Lenore Weir.
"I've gained a new respect for that part of it," Weir said at a recent dress rehearsal. "It's about caring about those that can't care for themselves. I think that's pretty darn dramatic in today's climate."
"Seussical," with music by Lynn Ahrens and lyrics by Stephen Flaherty, flopped when it opened on Broadway in 2000 but gained new life as a touring production.
"What I love about this show is that it's very well-written," Weir said. "It's fast. It's funny. It continually flows. It never stops, except for intermission. Most shows, you have all these scene breaks. But you don't have that here."
The "Seussical" cast includes Julia and Anna Reimann of Cottage Grove.They're the third generation of their family to perform with Woodbury Community Theatre. They're following in the footsteps of their mother, Mary Vaaler Reimann, and grandfather Tom Vaaler.
In "Seussical," the sisters are part of the Bird Girls, a gossipy, feathered quartet who goose the story along with assorted wisecracks.
"The bird girls are kind of these sassy showgirl-type characters who end up narrating part of the show," Julia Reimann, 22, said.
She and Anna, 19, have been acting in Woodbury Community Theatre productions since the fourth or fifth grade.
"It's perfect for all ages," Julia said. "I was in it in high school when I went to East Ridge High School. Everyone enjoyed it because it's really funny and the characters are so imaginative."
If you go
"Seussical: the Musical" runs 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9-10 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at The Loft Stage at East Ridge High School, 4200 Pioneer Drive in Woodbury.
Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $15 for students, and free for active military families. Group pricing of 20 percent off is available for 12 or more tickets purchased for the same performance.
Tickets can be purchased at merrillartscenter.org or by calling 612-399-6568.