It’s every child’s fantasy to take off on an adventure with the Cat and the Hat. With this weekend’s performance of Seussical by the Urbana Park District Summer Youth Theatre, children and adults alike can be transported into Dr. Seuss’ magical worlds full of colorful characters, songs and laughter.
Tony winners, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination – Jojo. The colorful characters travel from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.
The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.
Mahomet youth Madison Ade (12), Payton Ade (15), Mallory Birckbichler (12) and Marinne Bartels (8.5) are all cast in the production. In his third Urbana Park District performance, Payton plays Vlad Valacof, a sidekick to jungle troublemaker, the Wickersham brothers.
Madison Ade has also participated in Annie and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory alongside her brother. This summer she brought along her friend, Mallory. Marinne joined the cast after watching a play a Parkland. The girls all take on singing and dancing roles as teeny-tiny Whos and cadets.
The youth have been working on their performance since the end of May. As the play comes to curtain call this weekend, Madison said she is not nervous to perform, while the other Mahomet youth said they are both excited and nervous.
“This is a very hard musical, but it’s also fulfilling,” Payton said. “I’m very excited for people to see it.”
Tickets can be purchased online through Showtix4u.com. Performance begin Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. There will also be a matinee performance on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.