The Dr. is in with ‘Seussical’

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 17, 2015

 Joey Fontana, 20, of Sterling Heights, right, plays Horton the Elephant. He is holding Jaelyn Kaczmarczyk, 8, of Washington Township, who plays a baby elephant bird. Kristin Pagels, 25, of Warren, left, plays the role of Gertrude McFuzz.

Joey Fontana, 20, of Sterling Heights, right, plays Horton the Elephant. He is holding Jaelyn Kaczmarczyk, 8, of Washington Township, who plays a baby elephant bird. Kristin Pagels, 25, of Warren, left, plays the role of Gertrude McFuzz.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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Summer is the time to rhyme, thanks to Sterling Civic Theatre’s upcoming July 30-Aug. 2 production of “Seussical the Musical” at Stevenson High School.

According to organizers, this is the theater troupe’s 13th production in five years.

Executive producer Larry O’Grady said the story’s plot integrates themes and characters from the books written by children’s author Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss. Although Seuss died in 1991, O’Grady said the author’s works and characters are still familiar to children.

“A lot of the parents that we have in their late 30s and early 40s all grew up on Dr. Seuss books, so the generation gap is not there,” O’Grady said. “Seuss is one of those things that is always relevant.”

According to the theater group, the musical includes classic Seuss characters like the Cat in the Hat, Mayzie La Bird and Horton the Elephant. The plot largely revolves around Horton and his efforts to protect the tiny Whos, as well as an egg.

O’Grady said the “Seussical” cast of more than 130 people contains the troupe’s largest contingent of kids from its Noah’s Ark special needs program. This time, foster care families are also getting involved, he said.

Overall, he called the show a fun, G-rated experience that offers something for everyone.

“The music behind the story makes it so easy to remember,” he said. “It’s cool. It’s got a lot of energy. … A lot of strong dance is involved.”

Rachael Smith, 17, recently graduated from Henry Ford II High School and received a 2015 Sterling Civic Theatre Memorial Scholarship. She said she plans to attend Wayne State University in the fall in order to major in theater, and she said she looks forward to playing the role of Gertrude McFuzz in this production of “Seussical.”

“This is one more show that I get to be a part of,” she said, calling Sterling Civic Theatre “an extremely friendly and loving group.”

Smith described Gertrude as “a little, confused, fun-loving bird” who loves Horton and tries to acquire a bigger tail so that he will notice her.

“Finally, I just accept who I am, and it’s smooth sailing from there,” she said.

Sterling Civic Theatre will present “Seussical the Musical” at 7 p.m. July 30-Aug. 1 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 2 in the Stevenson High School auditorium, 39701 Dodge Park Road in Sterling Heights. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Learn more by visiting www.sterlingcivic.org or by calling (586) 264-5571.

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