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Seussical Musical Preview

The cast provided a Seussical Preview Performance for students on April 22

ONEKAMA — One of the all time success stories of schools working together is the annual cooperative play that is put on by the students and staff at Onekama, Bear Lake and Kaleva Norman Dickson schools.

This year they will be putting on the musical “Seussical” by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on the books of Dr. Seuss that debuted on Broadway in 2000. The play’s story is about many of Seuss’s most famous books.

Director Amanda Harthun said they are still making some last minute adjustments in preparation for the 7:30 p.m. Friday opening night performance at the Onekama Cafetorium. Other shows will be held at the same time on Saturday evening and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at any of the three school offices or at the door on the day of the performance.

“We are still putting the finishing touches on the show, but the kids are very excited about opening night,” she said. “It’s very different from anything we have done in the last two years.”

Harthun said that the cast put on a teaser performance for area schools last Friday and it raised the anticipation for the cast and the students.

“The story basically is about Dr. Seuss’ books ‘Horton Hears a Who’ and ‘Horton Hatches an Egg,’ she said. “They also take all the characters from other Dr. Suess’ books and combine them into one story.”

Last year’s graduation took away 15 longtime members of the productions, but Harthun said some of the other students have stepped up to fill those big shoes.

“We call it a young cast, but the kids we had always been calling our youngsters and middles for the past several years have stepped up to fill those roles,” she said. “I think the audience will be pleased as we have some really great singers. The show is really heavy in music so those students from past shows are doing those main roles and then we have a very young chorus that we have been working with to get ready.”

Harthun said it is more of an ensemble show than certain actors having more time on the stage than others.  The show is the perfect venue, she said, to give these younger performers the opportunity to gain experience.

“They are all really working hard,” she said.

Harthun said that along with the changes on the stage there are more behind the scenes as well. Many new parents have volunteered to fill the vacancies in the sets and costumes created by the loss of parents whose children have graduated.

“We also have a new musical director this year in Kathy Spaulding,” she said.

Playing some of the key roles are Johnathon Wertheimer (Cat in the Hat), Kendra Curtis (Jo Jo), Jacob Fitch (the Elephant), Maci Podbilski (Gertrude McFuzz), Cassie Hook (Bird with fanciest tail), Courtney Madsen (chorus captain), Keith McKenney (Mayor Whoville), Cheyenne Buckner (Mrs. Whoville Mayor) Alli Torrey (choreography) and Teya Piscopink (choreography), and Faith Kidd (choreography).

“All of them have been very active in past productions as I think Cassie and Maci have been in nine or 10 of the shows,” said Harthun. “Overall, the show has been about everybody adjusting and learning new things this year.”

The theme of the show centers around a person being important no matter how small they are and how everyone is important. “We are trying to carry on that theme with our cast and crew as well as they all are important even if they just in an ensemble or doing something backstage,” said Harthun.