The Doctor is in: “Seussical the Musical” at SU Drama

Sydney Patrick (Gertrude) and Robert Axelrod (Cat in the Hat) in the SU Drama production of Seussical.

Sydney Patrick (Gertrude) and Robert Axelrod (Cat in the Hat) in the SU Drama production of Seussical.

Seussical the Musical

Who: SU Drama

Where: 820 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY

When: Through October 20th

Tickets: $17 (Students & Seniors), $19 (Adults)

Review by: Nicholas Schmiedicker

Way down in Syracuse, on a stage full of lights, the cast of Seussical the Musical honored the Doctor in their performance Friday night.

The plight of Horton, the only creature of the forest who can hear the citizens of Who, who live on a floating speck of dust, Jojo, the son of the mayor of Who, who thinks too many thinks, and the one-feathered tail bird Miss Gertrude, are the primary stories of the show. But this doesn’t stop references of other classics such as The Grinch,The Lorax, and Green Eggs and Ham.

As the Cat says in the beginning of the show, “After all of those years being stuck on a page, did you ever imagine you’d see me on stage? Now I’m here there’s no telling what may ensue, with a cat such as me and a thinker like you!”

The cast, ranging from sophomores to seniors in the Syracuse University Department of Drama filled the nonsensical roles of the Seuss characters with gusto. The singing and performances of Miss Gertrude (Sydney Patrick), the Sour Kangaroo (Emily Zinski), and Horton the Elephant (Ben Odom) were powerful and impressive. Special mention must be made for Robert Axelrod, a senior acting major. His broad range and goofy mannerisms were delightful in his role as the Cat who wore many hats and also as a brief, yet memorable Grinch.

Sydney Patrick (Gertrude) in the SU Drama production of Seussical.

Sydney Patrick (Gertrude) in the SU Drama production of Seussical.

Perhaps as an intentional homage to the feel of the original run of the show, SU Drama incorporated a simple set that consisted of only three rolling platforms, three backdrop boards, and a cut out frame in the waving style of the books. Despite the sparse set, when combined with effective lighting it was transformed into the imaginative world that populates the Seuss universe.

Performed on the smaller stage reserved for student productions, Seussical gave the cast ample opportunity to utilize every inch of the space. There was also a touch of audience participation courtesy of the Cat. SU Drama wasn’t afraid to add slight nods to Syracuse and modern staples such as Twitter in the performance. A simple addition that helped bridge the gap between audience and play.

The books of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel have delighted and entertained children’s and adults for years. They have stood the test of time and remain a favorite in households everywhere. SU Drama has managed to capture the wackiness with a core of moral lessons and bring it to life in their performance of Seussical the Musical. 

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