This month would have been Dr. Seuss’ 111th birthday, so it is the right time for Roberta Jones Junior Musical Theatre to dive into the depths of Seuss’ work by producing Seussical for its spring show.
Penned by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and based mostly Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, Horton Hatches the Egg and the short story, Miss Gertrude McFuzz, RJJT’s Seussical opened to a packed house at the Mission City Center for the Performing Arts on March 20.
With striped Cat in the Hat hats in hand (sold at performances as a fundraiser encouraging the audience to receive the “magic” at the end of the play according to Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department’s Recreation Supervisor Kevin Cornelius’ pre-show monologue), audiences are taken on a trip through 19 of Seuss’ books, with either settings or characters incorporated throughout the performance.
Seussical’s main cast contains of many of the usual performers – Claire Stone (Cat in the Hat), Sofia Jakovcevic (Gertrude McFuzz), Sofia McDaniel (Mrs. Mayor) and Michael Kennedy (Horton) – with a few delightful surprises in store as a few ensemble actors have stepped into larger roles. The most surprising of which is Mateo Urquidez as Boy/Jojo.
While Urquidez has been seen in other performances – Michael in 2014’s Peter Pan and Roo in 2013’s Winnie the Pooh Kids, among others – he was truly the standout within the large cast. Urquidez shone in his role, charming the audience as he perfectly plays his character, one that bookends the play (Boy) as well as is seen throughout it (Jojo).
Although seen in larger roles in the past, Jin-Hee Lee was a standout as Mayzie. Lee, seen as Snow White in RJJT’s production of Rose Red in 2014 and Ursula in the 2013 performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Kids, also hit her performance out of the park, as she sang, danced and strutted her feathers while portraying the lazy, irresponsible bird that convinces Horton to hatch her egg while she heads to Palm Beach.
With minimal dialogue and quirky scenery, RJJT’s Seussical is sure to delight young and old audiences, as fans of Seuss’ books will quickly pick up every reference and children will likely enjoy the whimsical sets, costumes and upbeat music.
Online sales for the final three performances of Seussical (Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m., Saturday March 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 29 at 2 p.m.) are sold out. A select number of tickets, $5 for children and $10 for adults, may be available at the box office, 3250 Monroe Street, on the day of the show or by calling 408-615-3161.
RJJT will next perform Disney’s The AristoCats Kids June 12-14 at the Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd. (at Central Park). Visit www.rjjt.org for more information.