Seussical the Musical thrills first-weekend crowds
Four shows down and three to go for Seussical the Musical.
Tonight will begin the final three shows for Baldwin City Community Theater’s summer musical. The final three shows will begin at 8 p.m. tonight through Saturday.
“Hopefully, we’re going to have good crowds,” Director Mary Jane Mingus said. “We’re excited for this weekend. Saturday will be our last performance of the summer.”
The first weekend of the musical that combines several Dr. Seuss stories into one performance was a success. Mingus and cast members were thrilled with the first four shows.
“I think they did a really fine job during the first weekend of shows,” Mingus said. “They were very energetic. We had good audiences every show and they were very receptive.”
Scott Schoenberger, who plays the Cat in the Hat, also enjoyed the first weekend of performances.
“The weather was agreeable and I think everybody did a good job,” Schoenberger said. “It looked like the numbers were pretty good, as far as attendance. It’s a lot of fun. The good thing is the cast gets along well. That certainly makes it enjoyable.
“It was a little overwhelming at first to play the Cat in the Hat, but with everybody’s help it’s coming along,” he said. “It’s the most recognizable Seuss figure, I guess. It’s written for me to have a lot of fun on stage and I tried to exude that when I’m in costume.”
Despite possible threatening weather over the weekend, weather was a problem only last Wednesday. The show’s final dress rehearsal was canceled because of rain. The musical opened Thursday without a hitch.
“We opened without a final dress rehearsal,” Mingus said. “We were ready, actually. We had rehearsed very hard and we tried to get it where it was fine-tuned early in our rehearsals. That paid off for us when the rain hit.”
Mingus’ grandson, Drew Cheek, plays one of the main characters, JoJo. Cheek’s character gets into mischief because of the Cat in the Hat and in trouble with his parents. It’s a role he was excited to play.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Cheek said. “I was really excited to be in this play. I love Dr. Seuss. Being a Seuss character is a really cool thing. I even read the Cat in the Hat before we started rehearsing.”
Cheek and Schoenberger interact together on stage quite a bit during the musical. Cheek’s father, Doug Cheek, plays the Mayor of Whoville and Drew’s sister, Sydney, plays Thing 1. Schoenberger said the Cheeks are entertaining, especially backstage.
“He’s a character,” Schoenberger said of Drew Cheek. “He’s a lot of fun. That whole family is a group of characters. They keep things light and fresh backstage.”
Despite the cast’s fun together, Mingus admitted the musical has been a challenge for the crew and the orchestra.
“It’s a hard show musically, because it’s very demanding,” she said. “I think because of the arrangement of the music. It’s a difficult score to learn, but they have certainly mastered it. Everything’s rhymed and it’s all timed, but you don’t want it to sound sing-songy.”
More than 60 people are involved in the production. Most of those are local residents and children, according to Mingus.
“I think all of the people in show, except for three of the children, are from Baldwin City and around it,” Mingus said. “Baldwin has a lot of talent in it.”
Performances begin at 8 p.m. in the “Lotatorium,” the grassy area between the Post Office and the Lumberyard Arts Center in downtown Baldwin City.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children, but children ages 3 and under attend for free. Audience members should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. There will be concessions available at the musical. For tickets, call the BCCT at (785)594-7440. Tickets also will be available at the gate.
“It will be sort of disappointing to end the show this weekend, because we’re having so much fun,” Drew Cheek said. “It will be sad to end the musical.”