It’s a dream come true for some students at Princess Margaret School who grew up reading Dr. Seuss books and are now getting a chance to play some of their favourite characters.
Students in the school’s theatre program are performing Seussical the Musical. Opening night is Feb. 1.
“The take away from this is kids love it,” Lori Grant, the school’s theatre teacher said. “The characters come alive and there are still so many life lessons in those books that are applicable today. Imagine and you can do it, anything’s possible, there’s so many.”
The class of about 40 students started rehearsals in September. Grant said she chooses the annual musical after she knows what students she has her in class.
“We have a smaller class this year than in past years but we have a talented class. There’s some really great singers and performers here,” she said.
Rhylin Dobler, a Grade 12 student, is playing Horton the Elephant a traditional male role in the beloved musical.
“I thought why not. In the time of #Metoo and all that I thought it was a great idea to have a female take on the traditional male role and she’s doing an outstanding job,” Grant said.
Dobler, a powerhouse vocalist, said as soon as she heard the class was doing Seussical the Musical she was set on playing Horton.
She spent hours and hours memorizing lines and preparing before she even auditioned for the role.
“I know the character. Horton is one of my favourite characters. It was one of my favourite books growing up. He has a lot of virtues I admire, being humble and kind,” she said.
The two-act play weaves together some of Dr. Seuss’ most famous tales and characters from at least 15 of his books.
The show follows the adventures of Horton, who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. He discovers that within the tiny speck exists the smallest planet in the universe and on it lives a tiny race of creatures known as the Whos. Although ridiculed by others for believing in something he cannot see, Horton stubbornly continues in his belief the Whos exist. The show travels through jungles, pools, makes a stop at a carnival and more while characters fall in love, have adventures and some even save the world.
Chloe Ricketts who plays Mrs. Mayor of Whoville said being a part of the production has been amazing.
“I grew up with Seuss and all of the books. I read the books as a kid and then the movies came out and it was phenomenal seeing all that…” she said. “And then getting the experience to live it in real life is just so amazing. The sets are mazing and the costumes are amazing. It’s like living my childhood all over again but getting to be a part of it is so cool.”
The theatre class worked with the tech classes at the school to build some of the sets.
Grant said students collaborate on costumes by going through what is already available at the school, going through their own closets and going to second hand stores.
“It really teaches them so much about musical theatre and productions so they have a really good grasp on what it takes to do these kinds of things,” she said.
The production opens Feb. 1 at Maggie and will run through till Feb. 3 before heading over to Cleland Theatre for performances Feb 8, 9, 10.
Evening performances start at 7 p.m. and two matinee performances are scheduled for Sat., Feb. 3 (at Maggie) and Feb. 10 (at Cleland) starting at 2 p.m. For tickets go to Princess Margaret school or Cleland Theatre.