This Friday, Feb. 18, the Boze Lyric Theatre will bring the first musical production to Byrum Hall since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Seussical” combines a charming collection of characters from the works of Dr. Seuss like “Cat in the Hat” and “Horton the Elephant” in a colorful and exciting story.
JoJo, one of the main characters, is played by freshman musical theatre student Trenton Donk. The 18-year-old has worked with director Kenny Shepard as well as voice and movement instructor Mary Beth Coolidge to develop the key character’s youthful personna.
“Every character you meet, JoJo thinks up in his mind,” Donk explained. “Throughout the story they all end up being connected with each other in one way or another.”
The show is dual cast, alternating certain roles between performances. This allows the show to highlight many of the students unable to perform during the pandemic.
“Since it’s the first show in a few years, a lot of the upperclassmen have really big roles – they’re really good roles, too.” said Donk. “This is just such a big show, such a creative show.”
Rehearsals have been following strict COVID-19 guidelines and rapid requests are required of performers to keep students and faculty safe.
Brady Day, a senior musical theatre student playing the double-cast role of Mr. Mayor, commented on the changes from previous years.
“COVID has created a new challenge where actors are face blind,” said Day. “The moment we take our mask off, we’re confused initially and we’re feeling so much more energy from another person.”
Despite these complications, students have found ways to create and experiment within scenes together. Day said that double casting some roles has encouraged him to be more open and adaptable on stage.
From its eclectic cast of characters to the set design nostalgic of Seuss’s works, this show embodies creativity.
“It’s a show about free thinking and imagination,” said Day.
The message of hope “Seussical” shares is appropriate for the triumphant return to Byrum’s stage and invites students and members of the community to look on the bright side after three years of challenges and stress.
“Seussical” opens this Friday and runs for two weekends, with matinees on Sunday, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 26.