The wild and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss is coming to Duryea, thanks to Phoenix Performing Arts Centre.
This weekend, Phoenix Kids will premiere its latest production, “Seussical the Musical TYA,” the smash Broadway musical based on the works of the beloved children’s book author.
The show will run the next two weekends, April 13-15 and April 20-22, at the theater, 409 Main St., Duryea. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees start at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $10 general admission and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 570-457-3589. Ticket-holders will have the chance to experience Phoenix’s newly revamped digs. As part of Leadership Wilkes-Barre’s Phoenix Rising renovation project, the theater now has a new stage, increased seating with higher platforms for better viewing and new carpeting and furniture in the lobby.
The renovations couldn’t come at a better time, given Phoenix is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Because of that milestone, the theater is revisiting some of its most popular productions, among them “Seussical.”
“All the shows this year are revivals. We chose the best of the best and brought them back,” said Phoenix artistic/managing director Lee LaChette, the show’s director. “This is a fun one. And who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?”
“Seussical” weaves some of Dr. Seuss’ most popular works into a narrative that revolves largely around the antics of the elephant Horton, who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. Of course, anyone familiar with the book “Horton Hears a Who!” knows those voices are coming from the microscopic planet inhabited by the Whos.
Though mocked by other animals in the Jungle of Nool for his odd beliefs, Horton persists and sets about trying to prove himself right by embarking on an adventure that takes him everywhere from the jungle to McElligott’s Pool. Plenty of other beloved Dr. Seuss characters show up along the way, including the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie LaBird and Jojo.
Popular songs from “Seussical” include “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think,” “It’s Possible (In McElligott’s Pool)” and “Alone in the Universe.” Jackie Legg serves as the show’s musical director.
What makes the Phoenix production unique is that the kid cast members are using puppets as the lead characters.
“We did it the first time that way, and it was so cool. And the kids have so much fun with the puppets,” LaChette said. “The kids still do all the dancing. They’re dressed in solid black, from neck to toe. So, that way, the puppets pop.”
The cast includes 36 kids between the ages of 4 and 13, with the exception being 1-year-old Talia Menendez, who plays the Baby Elephant Bird.
Key cast members include Brock Marion as Horton, Jacob Hull as the Cat in the Hat, Sarina Rowe as JoJo, Abbey Cookus-Gnoinski as Gertrude and Rhiannon Legg as Mayzie.
“We have a lot of new kids for this production,” LaChette said. “We bought the puppets right at the very beginning, so they come to every rehearsal with them. Some of them have given their puppets names. … They’re having so much fun with it.”
If you go What: Phoenix Kids presents “Seussical the Musical TYA”
Where: Phoenix Performing Arts Centre, 409 Main St., Duryea
When: April 13-15 and April 20-22, with Friday and Saturday shows at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets are $10 general admission and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 570-457-3589.