That magical musical Seussical (Jr.) is coming to town

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The cast practices for what they hope will be several curtain calls. (Courtesy photo)

This weekend the tradition continues: the Carlisle School’s 7th grade class is rolling out the red carpet and putting on a fun-filled performance. Seussical Jr., the Musical is being performed by a cast and crew of 75 students. The original Seussical The Musical, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, based on the works of Dr. Seuss, debuted on Broadway in 2000. 

The narrator, the Cat in the Hat, tells the story about an elephant, Horton, who discovers a speck of dust (from Horton Hears a Who). Inside this speck he discovers a whole community of Whos. Horton cautiously takes on the challenging role of protecting the community, guarding them from doubters and lumberjacks who want to take down forests upon forests. In addition to saving the Who community, Horton also needs to protect an egg that has been abandoned. (Horton Hatches the Egg). 

In each case, Horton prevails with an abundance of new friends who help him in this journey. If you are a Dr. Seuss fan, you will see that many of his stories are interwoven in Seussical Jr. and happily merge together to provide a heartfelt, warm story for all ages to enjoy. 

One of the beauties about this Carlisle tradition is that it is all hands-on deck. “This wonderful Carlisle tradition has involvement from all parents, who year after year sign up to help out” shared Stephanie Blunt, one of the producers of this year’s production. The dads work on the set; the moms help with costumes, hair, make-up and getting the students back and forth for the rehearsals and performances. 

Again this year, Jen Albanese, whose children have all graduated from the Carlisle School and is a gem of a volunteer, is helping to create many of the costumes. Albanese is sewing new costumes or modifying some existing costumes with a few nips and tucks. This year, luckily, some of the costumes were either bought or donated from other theatrical organizations who recently put on the performance, specifically Alexander Children’s Theatre and Open-Door Theater. But a lion’s share of the costumes will be created by Albanese and parents who have students in the performance. 

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Some of the tech crew hard at work. (Courtesy photo)

The students have been rehearsing since January, even with the challenging snowstorms cancelling and moving locations of these rehearsals. The show must go on. This long-standing tradition in Carlisle is a unique opportunity for 7th grade students to dip their toes into the world of theater. Henry Hansel, who is playing a Wickersham brother, is new to theater this year, but simply due to this experience he has caught the “bug.”  He plans to continue exploring the art of theater and join another production at the Concord Youth Theater later in the year. Other cast members who are already pursuing their love of theater and have been a part of Concord Youth Theater productions are Elizabeth Walsh, Julia Smith, Hayes Sagslyn, Iain Darling and Georgia Blunt. 

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You go girls! Dancers rehearse a production number. (Courtesy photo)

Publicist Jane Hamilton proudly said, “Even with the weather complications, the cast members steadily worked to learn lines, dancing choreography, while the tech crew was designing, painting and installing stage sets.” It is a fabulous team-building opportunity where months of hard work culminate in the pieces coming together in this final weekend of shows. One of the rewarding parts for these seventh graders is when they come on stage and find a full audience ready and waiting to see them perform. 

The musical will take place at the Corey Auditorium, Carlisle Public School, Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 17, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 18, at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Ferns or at the door. This musical provides lots of zany colors and zippy music that will leave everyone with a smile on their faces or whistling a happy tune. Hope to see you there.    ∆