Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


Seussical
Bay Area Musicals
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's review of Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensill: Havin' Any Fun?


The Cast
Photo Courtesy of Bay Area Musicals
Bay Area Musicals is presenting a charming production of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens' family-friendly Seussical at the Alcazar Theatre with just nine actors. Seussical has become a staple for regional companies since 2000. It's a darling musical based on several Dr. Seuss stories. It follows Jojo (Kennedy Williams), the Mayor's (Jesse Cortez) daughter who is told to stop thinking. At night she is visited by The Cat in the Hat (Vinh Nguyen) who takes her on a journey to wonderful places.

The main plot involves Horton the Elephant (Daniel Barrington Rubio) fighting to save the small community of Whoville and hatching the egg abandoned by ineffective and fancy-free Mayzie LaBird (Ariela Morgenstern). The subplots follow adventures in Whoville, including Christmas with the Grinch (Zac Schuman), the Sour Kangaroo (Katrina McGraw), and shy Gertrude McFuzz (Andrea Dennison-Laufer), who has a thing for Horton.

Stephen Flaherty's music is lively and catchy, especially "How Lucky You Are" and Lynn Ahrens' lyrics are delightful and wily, with Seuss-like words. The evening starts with the infectiously pleasing opening song "Oh the Thinks You Can Think!," sung charmingly by Vinh Nguyen and company. He has pitch perfect resonance in his vocal cords.

Daniel Barrington Rubio does an outstanding job as Horton and he beautifully sings with powerful vocal cords "Alone in the Universe." Vinh Nguyen is sparkling as The Cat In the Hat and has a lively voice. Kennedy Williams is delightful as JoJo, and Ariela Morgenstern gives an entertaining and gutsy performance of Mayzie. Andrea Dennison-Laufer is appealing as the mousy Gertrude McFuzz. Zac Schuman, with his commanding voice as General Genghis Kahn Schmitz and as The Grinch, displays good singing chops in "The Grinch Carved the Roast Beast." Katrina McGraw shines as Sour Kangaroo and she belts out wonderfully, "Biggest Blame Fool" and "Egg, Nest and Tree." Jesse Cortez as Mr. Mayor and Jenny Angell as Mrs. Mayor are effervescent in their roles. Krista Joy Serpa gives an excellent performance as Cindy Lou Who.

Choreographer Matthew McCoy has devised some high-energy, campy moves for the cast, and they dance with precision and coordination. Costumes by Ellen Howes are in line with Dr. Seuss characters. Steward Lyle's sets are inspired. Musical director and conductor David Aaron Brown does a great job leading the six-piece orchestra.

Bottom Line: Seussical is a delightful, colorful family-friendly spectacle. I think Dr. Seuss would be thrilled.

Seussical runs through August 5, 2017, at the Alcazar Theatre, 650 Geary Street, San Francisco CA. Tickets are available at www.bamsf.org. Their next production is 42nd Street starting November 11.


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