Magazine article Newsweek

Seuss on the Loose: First a Movie, Now Dr. S. Hits Broadway

Magazine article Newsweek

Seuss on the Loose: First a Movie, Now Dr. S. Hits Broadway

Article excerpt

A Dr. Seuss musical--why didn't someone think of that ages ago? After all, Walt Disney and Charles Schulz landed cartoons on Broadway, and cats (albeit without hats) have certainly done well. Seuss's words already sound like they're set to music, and his characters come with their own fantabulous costumes. "Seussical" and musical sound like they should go together like green eggs and ham. And yet despite good intentions and some clever ideas, something is missing from "Seussical." Or make that two things. Thing one: charm. Thing two: fun.

To its credit, "Seussical" does an admirable job of weaving together many of the good doctor's books in a way that's true to Seuss without being held captive by him. The main characters are Horton the egg-hatching elephant (Kevin Chamberlin), vain Gertrude McFuzz (Janine LaManna) and JoJo (Anthony Blair Hall), the tyke who saves Whoville by yelling "Yopp!" Their original stories are all there. But they bend and fold into each other--Yertle the Turtle presiding over Horton's insanity trial?--in inventive (if occasionally confusing) ways. And then there's The Cat in the Hat (David Shiner). Rather than being confined to one story, The Cat pops up throughout the show. He comments on the action--not unlike the emcee in "Cabaret"--sometimes in the guise of a talk-show host, a traffic reporter or an auctioneer at "Seussiby's." By the time he climbs into the balcony to spray the audience with water, you start to wish this cat wasn't such an eager beaver. …

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