April 11, 2013

Pioneer puts on Seussical the musical

After months in preparation, the show kicks off Friday

by Amie Sites

— Cat in the Hat, Horton, Yertle the Turtle, Sour Kangaroo, several Whos, and more will be storming the Pioneer Jr.-Sr. High School auditorium stage this weekend.

In the musical, The Cat in the Hat, portrayed by Kirsten Breedlove, narrates the story of Horton, an elephant, Chandler Swartzell, who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, Matt Williams, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks,” Carol Loehrke, musical director of the musical said. Horton’s attention of the speck causes taunting from other animals. There area about five junior high students in the production 26 high school students.

“The musical is fun, charming and brings the characters to life,” Loehrke said. “It’s a rather creative story with a main character, catalyst who weaves the plots together.”

Breedlove and Swartzell are both juniors who have been involved in previous performances.

“I wasn’t sure about the musical at first because I didn’t know what it was about,” Breedlove said. “Once we got in rehearsals it was fun. The cast has been fun and outgoing.”

Breedlove said people should come see the show to learn what it’s about and see the many Dr. Seuss ties.

Swartzell, who is playing Horton, describes his character as an elephant who still thinks the world is perfect and everyone is kind. Swartzell said throughout the musical he will get in trouble with people not believing him, go on adventures and eventually befriend someone, who will help him convince people he’s telling the truth.

“I’m very excited for this role,” Swartzell said.

The musical that opened on Broadway in 2000 was written by Stephen Flaherty with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The book was written by Flaherty, Ahrens and Eric Idle, based on the works of Dr. Seuss.

Loehrke said she needed something different and thought this would be a great training piece.

“They are doing the professional production and the complexity of the music is a challenge,” Loehrke said. “There is little dialogue.”

Swartzell, who has been involved in Pioneer theater productions for five years, said this has been one of the more challenging musicals he has participated in. Swartzell also said the show is something every age can enjoy.

“It’s a kid-friendly show and event though it’s centered around Dr. Seuss, there is a deeper meaning in the show,” Swartzell said. “There is something everyone can enjoy.”

Loehrke said the students have been busy rehearsing since January, when they received a contract and performance materials from Music Theatre International (MTI), who have the royalties.

She said the students have been working hard and juggling athletics and extracurricular activities.

“There is an exhilaration and remarkable joy that comes to directors when it all comes together, when you see everything you worked on happen and when you see the thrill the students get,” Loehrke said. “The joy is intoxicating.”


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