District 220 put on two great shows last weekend. Seussical was double cast to offer more students the opportunity to perform. You can’t go wrong with this show. There’s something in it for everyone.
Leads really stepped up with best-effort performances, all of them above average. There were a lot of smaller roles peppered throughout the ensemble each night. Gertrude Girls in both casts were particularly strong (Ellen McGinn, Sophie Farmer, Lauren Walker, Clara Davenport, Kailey Jeffs, and Mia Priola).
- Cat in the Hat: Cali Larkin was absolutely hysterical. Jeeven Srivastava did a nice job, even though his singing was a bit pitchy at times. Both students had diction that was top notch. You could understand every word, and they had a lot of them!
- JoJo: Austin Molinaro hit it out of the park. His singing and stage demeanor couldn’t have been better. The kid is a natural. Lexi Garcia gave a respectable performance. She has a really pleasant voice, but could have been stronger overall.
- Sour Kangaroo: Ella Beaubien brought down the house with her phenomenal portrayal of the bossy, outspoken marsupial. Her vocals displayed a solid understanding of what blues belt should be. Kaitlin Tenbrunsel stepped up with an equally compelling vocal performance, great licks and feel for the line. Her acting was good, but she probably could have done more with the character.
- Mayzie: It’s hard to imagine how two young singers could pull off such convincing work. Grace Bogue and Ceci Yasell both had rich tone throughout their entire range. Each girl had a spectacular top end, surprisingly strong and free. Their characterizations were spot-on. Beautifully done.
- Gertrude: Annalisa Nardiello was cute as a button. Her sound was focused and her diction consistent throughout. Jessica Shimp brought a lot of energy to the role. She could have projected more, but her highs opened up nicely. Both girls made the most of every opportunity they had, especially in “Notice Me, Horton.”
- Horton: Lexi Schmid played a cute Horton. Much of the part was really too low for her, but she made the best of it. Wesley Gordon was right at home with the vocals (the part is written for a male voice). Wesley has a very pleasant, easy-to-listen-to voice with natural vibrato. The role doesn’t offer a lot of acting opportunity, but he played it well.
Sets were pretty plain, several levels. Mayzie’s nest perked things up.
Props minimal but OK. (Cute elephant-bird.)
Sound didn’t seem to be consistent. It probably could have been louder overall, especially during the overture. There were some issues on Thursday night – a couple of times it cut out completely.
Costumes left a lot to be desired. Best were the Cat in the Hat and JoJo (Thursday night). Audience buzz seemed to indicate that most people would like to have seen costumes that looked more like the animals they were supposed to represent. Production numbers would have been a lot better if costumes had been more impressive.
Pictures to be posted on the studio’s Facebook page when they become available!
~ Jeanie Carter