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Children's stories strike a different note in play

Corbett theater debuts 'Seussical the Musical' Nov. 5


As you watch members of Corbett Children’s Theater rehearse songs from “Seussical the Musical” you realize the words of Dr. Seuss’ books were tailor made for song.JOSH KULLA - Isaiah Johnson, 17,  Corbett resident, plays the Cat in Hat, and Kate Hawley, 10, plays Jojo in Seussical the Musical.

Take “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think,” sung by the Cat in the Hat.

“Think invisible ink/Or a gink with a stink/Or a stair to the sky/If you open your mind/Oh, the thinks you will find/Lining up to get loose/Oh, the thinks you can think/When you think about Seuss!”

Making its Broadway debut in 2000, “Seussical” was written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and is primarily based on “Horton Hears a Who!,” “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “Miss Gertrude McFuzz.”

Listening to the Corbett youngsters sing the tunes in “Seussical” is like hearing a Gilbert and Sullivan song or a Rogers and Hammerstein number, as their dancing accentuates the clever wordplay and upbeat melodies.

“Seussical” begins when a red-and-white striped top hat appears on an empty stage, and a boy enters and is drawn toward the magical hat. The Cat in the Hat suddenly materializes and sings “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think.”JOSH KULLA - Ethan Golden plays Horton in Seussical, which sets the beloved stories of Dr. Seuss to song.

Ethan Golden, 13, attends eighth grade at Gordon Russell Middle School in Gresham, and plays Horton the Elephant in “Seussical,” which CCT will perform Nov. 5-14 at The Chapel in Troutdale.

Golden says this is his first lead role in CCT, and notes Seuss’ language helped him make a smooth transition to the spotlight

“It’s actually pretty easy, and all the lines rhyme since it’s Seuss,” he says.

Like the Horton of the famous Seuss story, Golden’s character struggles to get people to believe the speck of dust he has actually contains a tiny village of people.

Among the characters he encounters is a boy played by Kate Hawley, 10, a fifth-grader at Corbett Grade School. After the Cat in the Hat pushes the boy into the story, he becomes Jojo, son of the mayor of Whoville, a child who “thinks too much,” Hawley says.

“He’s kind of a person who has trouble fitting in,” Hawley says, adding she herself tries to avoid thinking too much.

“In class and stuff, you don’t want to think too much ... about other stuff than what you’re talking about,” she says with a chuckle.

Like Golden, she says playing her role takes focus.

“I’m scared of stuff, but once I go out on stage and start singing it’s better,” she says.

“After the first scene, it’s like we own it,” adds Golden.

Director Liz Bertsch’s daughter Evie, 3, plays a baby leopard in the musical and says that anyone familiar with Dr. Seuss will enjoy “Seussical.”

“The beauty of this story is it’s captivating for all ages,” she says.

Coloring contest

Children can help their families win two tickets to see “Seussical the Musical.” Visit corbettchildrenstheater.com, print the Seussical Hat Coloring Contest form,” and then color and decorate it.

Children can enter in the categories ages 8 and younger; 9 to 12 and 13 to 18.

Entries must be received by mail by Wednesday, Nov. 4. Mail your entry to Seussical Hat Coloring Contest, P.O. Box 133, Corbett, OR 97019.