Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Oh, the places you’ll go and the things you will see, at the South Webster theater — not one show, but three!
Tickets are on sale now for the annual South Webster High School Music Theater, opening next weekend at the Bloom-Vernon Elementary School. This year the school has selected “Seussical” for its dinner theater fundraiser.
“We think it provides our students a great opportunity to perform and work together and produce the show for a common goal. Our community really values the arts, and we’re proud of that,” said Director Rhonda Mays.
Based on the works of the late-Dr. Seuss (whose real name was Theodor Geisel), “Seussical” is a musical performance with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The production features some of Seuss’ most beloved characters, such as Horton the elephant, the Whos of Whoville, the Grinch, and of course the Cat in the Hat. The show opened on Broadway in November of 2000, and was nominated for “Best Actor” Tony Award in 2001.
“We chose this show because we thought it would be a great set for our kids. The music rarely stops for the show and we wanted to have a twist in the musical. There’s more music in the storyline than a lot of the traditional shows,” Mays said.
The performance at Bloom-Vernon Elementary School is almost entirely produced by students, and includes a cast and crew of 80 students.
“We started at the beginning of school, back in August. We announced the show and gave them a couple of weeks to rehearse and get ready. We had auditions and posted the results, and started the week after Labor Day. We’ve been jumping in for about eight or nine weeks with intensive rehearsals. I feel very positive about how this is going. We just have the best kids,” Mays said.
South Webster senior Breanna Stewart is the student director, working alongside Mays to make sure everything goes off without a hitch behind-the-scenes. Stewart has been involved with the music theater every year since she was a freshman. She started as a member of the ensemble cast, and last year dabbled her talents as student director for the school’s performance of “The Wizard of Oz.” This year, she said, there’s even more responsibility.
“When we are rehearsing, she (Mays) explains to me when she wants these light cues, whose microphone should be on or off. So during the program I am backstage with a headset and I am calling out over the headset to the sound, to the light and kind of running the show below her,” Stewart said.
She said “Seussical” will be a very exciting and colorful show this year.
“The costumes make it so that the audience have to imagine what things look like more. Because Dr. Seuss always liked people to imagine things,” Stewart said.
Natalie DeCamp is also a senior at South Webster High School, and she has performed with the South Webster music theater since she was a freshman. This year, DeCamp returns to star in “Seussical” as Gertrude McFuzz — Horton’s the elephant’s shy neighbor who secretly loves him. She said it’s actually much easier to remember to lines in rhyming verse than traditional stage lines.
“I really love (this show). It’s so creative and it appeals to a wide group of people. Not just adults, but also young children. It allows them to imagine all the things that Dr. Seuss tried to create,” Stewart said. “I definitely would encourage everyone to try to come out and watch the performance because I know how much dedication has gone into every practice. I know the performances will show how special South Webster really is.”
The show opens at the elementary school on Friday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m., with a special dinner theater. Tickets are $100 for a couple, and include a dinner catered by B&B Catering and served by the students. On the menu includes a shrimp cocktail appetizer, with an entree of prime rib, chicken, vegetables, and salad. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m., and the show will immediately follow.
Students will perform another show at the elementary school at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10, without the catered dinner. General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, or among the special reserved front rows for $20 each. Tickets are on sale now at South Webster High School. Money raised by the event will go back into the theater program at South Webster High School. For more ticket information contact the high school at 740-778-2320.
“It’s really a fun show. It’s definitely for the whole family. Kids will love it, but adults will love it too. It’s familiar characters and familiar storylines, but put together with a new twist and put together with music. It just makes it really fun to watch,” Mays said.
Every year the South Webster High School Musical has been a big success for students. Can they do it again? In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!”
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.