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Students in the theater and choral programs at LaGrange High School will star in ''Seussical Jr.'' on Saturday and Sunday in the school auditorium. (Special to the American Press)<br>

Students in the theater and choral programs at LaGrange High School will star in ''Seussical Jr.'' on Saturday and Sunday in the school auditorium. (Special to the American Press)

LaGrange students star in ‘Seussical Jr.'

Last Modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 5:56 PM

By Cliff Seiber / American Press

Who will save Whoville? That’s the dramatic question to be answered in the LaGrange High School production of “Seussical Jr.,” to be staged on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3.

A collaboration of the theater and choral programs of LaGrange, the musical play will have performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday in the LaGrange High School auditorium.

“It’s a true musical with 90 percent singing,” Shelly Buller, theater director, said. Buller and Janie Williams, choral director, are jointly shepherding the 60-member cast and crew in the production.

The script is an adaptation of the Broadway hit, “Seussical,” which Time magazine said is the most-produced musical for community, regional and high school theater companies. The original debuted on Broadway in 2000.

The story is a combination of many of Dr. Seuss’s most famous books. After a Broadway run, the production spawned two U.S. national tours and a U.K. tour.

The Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo. Jojo is a Who child sent off to a military school for thinking too many “thinks,” a concept from the book “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!”

Horton’s attention to the speck of dust and his “loitering” care of Mayzie LaBird’s egg has elicited taunting and accusations from the rest of the animal kingdom.

“The play is kid-friendly but fun for all ages,” Buller said.

LaGrange’s production placed in the top three among thousands of application in NBC’s “Smash Make a Musical” national competition. The entry first placed in the top 30 and then came out third in national Internet balloting.

“Smash” is an NBC musical theater-based series that began last year.

“We thank the community for its voting support that brought us this recognition. We hope those supporters will come out and see what it was all about,” she said.

For its showing, LaGrange received $500 to be used for production expenses, and the sponsors paid for the scripts and rights to stage the show.

Additionally, choreographer Steven Kennedy of iTheatrics in New York came to Lake Charles to help.

“It was an incredible experience that set the kids on fire to do the musical. It really got them excited about it,” Buller said.

Kennedy’s primary task was to instruct theater basics, but he delved deeper than expected with teaching blocking, stage directions and choreography.

The production has cross-trained the students, she said. The theater students have learned about singing, and the choral students have learned about acting.

“Now they have the big picture,” she said. “They can go into new avenues of creativity.”

Porché Advanced Systems of Lake Charles has brought in professional sound and lighting equipment.

“The LaGrange auditorium looks like a Broadway theater,” she said.

Costuming has been provided by Edwina Medearis of Medearis Costumes, Cards and Gifts of Lake Charles.


If you go

• “Seussical Jr.” will be presented by the LaGrange High School theater and choral departments at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 3, in the school auditorium

Tickets are $5 per person and may be booked by calling the school at 337-217-4960.

Posted By: Richard P. Forest - Houston, Tx. On: 3/2/2013

Title: This is not the first musical at LaGrange

As I commented on another article in the American Press, I was in a musical comedy in 1970 or 1971 at LaGrange called "Once Upon A Time", a musical fantasy by Jeffrey Roy and Rollin Cole. It was a huge success and we all had so much fun making it.

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