Dr. Seuss and his beloved characters have defined the American childhood for generations, and this month, fans will get the chance to see some of his greatest storybooks come to life on the Highlander Hall stage.
From Friday, November 17 to Sunday, November 19, Granada Hills Charter High School will host four showings of the production “Seussical.” The musical, which features a 50-person cast and crew, reimagines classic Dr. Seuss narratives like “Horton Hears a Who” and “The Cat in the Hat,” promising to offer audience members a riveting storyline and a feel-good, nostalgic experience.
In order to create a contrast with the school’s most recent productions, which have focused on more mature themes, “Seussical” possesses a whimsical innocence that appeals to all ages while still addressing important topics in a realistic way.
Themes of kindness and unity in the face of hostility seemed timely in light of the many changes taking place throughout the world today. The musical’s potential to equally entertain and teach such a wide range of people, set it apart and was one of the deciding factors in its selection for this year’s production.
The production is lead by drama teacher Stuart Fingeret, music teacher Sarah White, and choreographer Amanda Richardson, while its cast includes students from all grades levels and degrees of performance experience.
Fingeret and White made sure to choose their cast based on whom they felt was best for each role. As a result, the “Seussical” cast consists of students with prior experience and those who are not in drama or choir, or who have not participated in a school production before. Senior Jason Foster, plays the role of Horton, Jade Delgado plays Cat in the Hat and freshman James Averill plays Jojo.
Since early October, cast and crew have committed themselves to three-hour-long rehearsals Mondays through Thursdays after school, all-day dance rehearsals every Monday, and music rehearsals every Saturday morning. With only two weeks until the premiere, those involved will be putting in a lot of hours in order to refine their lines, dances, and costumes.
“It’s been a super big time commitment, but I’m really glad I’m a part of the cast. Every day we put so much into nailing our dance moves and singing, so it feels good being able to see how we’ve grown over time,” senior and company member Michelle Villalobos said.
The production approaches rehearsals with the same rigor and attention to detail that one might expect from a professionally done show. In fact, the course of a single rehearsal can see cast members go from fumbling over moves to executing a seamless performance of a number.
And despite the company’s size, rehearsals, which occur in Highlander Hall, White’s classroom and Fingeret’s classroom, are filled with a sense of familial intimacy and immense creative energy. Under Richardson’s lead, cast members are expected to vary between playfulness and intensity as they perfect their moves, all the way down to their facial expressions and the positioning of their fingers.
All of this preparation has gone towards fulfilling the hope that those who attend showings of “Seussical” experience a lively performance filled with comedy, excitement, and a lot of heart. There will be characters interacting with the audience, taking them on an immersive journey away from reality and straight into the world of Dr. Seuss.
“If people leave just thinking, ‘Wasn’t that cute?’ we haven’t done our job. I want people to empathize and connect to the characters,” Fingeret said. “The shows includes themes of kindness, unity, and the power of imagination. And plus it’s a lot of fun.”
Tickets for reserved seating are available now at ghchs.booktix.com.