So, Dr. Seuss made fun of me. He said, ” My! you’re shiny; I can see my future in your head”. Being laughed at by an auditorium full of people was not in my evening plans when I set out on this journey to write about Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s production of Seussical The Musical, but it sure was fun. I only think one kid tried to rub my head after the show was over. No big deal.
It was great to see a mix of children in the crowd, reveling in the antics of Dr. Seuss, as played by the incomparable Tim Hartman. Hartman’s flavored depiction of the world’s most loveable cat kept the audience on their heels and in stitches, as Seuss poked fun at some of today’s pop stars, and even made a reference to Les Mis, in which he played Thenardier.
Hartman’s masterful ad libs and jovial interaction with the crowd made for a memorable experience. His presence carried the show, and only set the stage for more magic from the cast. “Did Dr. Seuss just do the Miley twerk?” said someone in the crowd. Yeah, he did, I answered. And it was absolutely magnificent.
Seussical chronicles the ever popular “Horton Hears a Who”, a story about an elephant that hears voices from a flower, which turns out to be an entire city of mini people that only he can identify. As he vows to protect the colony of human dust mites, Horton comes into some obstacles, but ultimately comes out victorious, with an elephant bird to boot.
Horton was played by Billy Mason, who offered up an innocent and loveable portrayal of probably the most sensitive elephant I’ve ever seen. With a falsetto from the gods, Mason was tender and contrite, showing strength and insecurity all in the same breath.
Emily Lynne Miller played Gertrude McFuzz, Horton’s love interest. Yeah, elephants need love too. Even if it’s from a disheveled bird six-million times smaller than him. Miller’s adorably awkward performance as the bumbling belle, struggling to gain the attention from Horton, gave plenty of opportunities to showcase Miller’s lovely range and tone. More importantly, good old McFuzz’s quirky personality fit right into Miller’s wheelhouse.
Larissa Overholt played the sinfully spoiled role as Mayzie LaBird, the not so nice avian starlet that left Horton sitting on her egg for 51 weeks while she went on vacation. The things we’ll do for a little tail-feather. Overholt’s operatic delivery soothed the audience, and almost made me run up on stage to sit on said egg for a few minutes.
Brittany Dorazio brought the house down with her powerhouse portrayal of Sour Kangaroo, the realist of the Seuss crew. Dorazio’s studio-ready pipes rocked the audience. Effortless runs with a soulful delivery took some people to church for a few minutes. I expect great things from her music career.
Notable mentions include Brady Patsy as he doubled as General Schmitz and Yertle The Turtle, Jeremy Czarniak and Jennifer Lybarger who played Mr. and Mrs. Mayor, and JoJo, played byEva Hendricks.
As with any production, there are many people behind the scenes that never get any credit for helping to produce the magic that we see, but it’s truly a monumental effort from set design to sound, and everything in between.
A special congratulations to Colleen Petrucci on her recent promotion to Director of PMT. During the media announcement for the 2015 season, Petrucci gave a heartfelt speech to the Founding Director, Dr. Ken Gargaro, thanking him for the new opportunity and promising to carry on his legacy with passion.
We’re looking forward to an exciting new season and hope to see you all there.