LEBANON TWP., NJ - The award-winning ShowKids have one more weekend to take us on an adventure in Seussical the Musical. After last week's blizzard closed roads and forced a reschedule of three performances, "Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss's best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unforgettable musical caper staged by ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT).
After delighting audiences last weekend, the heartfelt story of Seussical springs to life again on Feb. 6 and 7 with performances presented on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. Performances will take place at Voorhees High School, 256 Route 513 in Lebanon Twp. Tickets are $20 or less, and can be purchased directly at www.showkids.org or by calling the SKIT ticket line at 908-638-5959.
Now one of the most-performed shows in America, Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. All of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie, and a little boy with a big imagination — Jojo, are all lovingly brought to life by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.
The Cat in the Hat tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing Whos, including Jojo, a Who child sent off to military school for thinking too many "thinks." Horton faces a double challenge - not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.
The Cat in the Hat comes to life thanks to Avery Stoker, 17, of Clinton. Stoker was a clear audience favorite for his hilarious portrayals last season as both Cogsworth in Beauty and the Beast, and Willard in Footloose. The role of the empathetic elephant Horton is shared by George Kapetanakis, 15, of Bethlehem Township and Justin Lopez, 15, of Clinton Township. And three of SKIT’s brightest young starlets are sharing the role of Jojo: Emma Nasto, 9, of Mt. Laurel; Mia Parker, 11, of Clinton Twp.; and Sana Sarker, 13, of Clinton Twp.
The quirky bird-next-door Gertrude McFuzz is shared by Gianna Castaldo, 17, of Flemington; Sydney Kozakis,16, of Lebanon; and Courtney Voorhees, 17, of Clinton Twp. Mayzie La Bird is made amazing by Natalie Mehl,15, of Lebanon Twp; and Grace Postiglione, 16, of Stewartsville. Three young ladies bring the soulful Sour Kangaroo to life: Sara Alicea,15, of Lebanon Twp.; Alyssa vanVeldhuisen,16, of Flemington; and Paige Whitmore,17, of Lebanon Twp. and Maddie Nasto, 6, of Mt. Laurel, makes her SKIT debut as Young Kanagaroo.
The role of General Genghis Kahn Schmitz is commanded by both Jared Parker, 16, of Clinton Twp.; and Peter Zezas, 17, of Lebanon Twp. Falling in line as cadets are Andrew Ranallo, 13, of Lebanon Twp. and Owen Tabor,12, of Lebanon Twp. (who also play Who’s). Other cadets (who also play Wickersham brothers) are Sam Hostler, 14, of Glen Gardner; Sean Kane, 14, of Bloomsbury; Jonah Lione, 14, of Clinton; David Reese, 13, of Clinton Twp.; Sam Hostler also appears as the Grinch.
The singing Supremes of Seussical, the Bird Girls are Sera Bunca, 14, of Asbury; Aliza Campbell, 13, of Pohatcong; Kaylyn Feeley, 14, of Clinton Twp.; Haley Marra, 16, of Clinton Twp.; Marilena Parker, 15, of Clinton Twp.; Amy Schroeder, 15, of Bethlehem Twp.; Brooke Wachenheim, 15, of Clinton; and Josie Whitmore, 13, of Lebanon Twp. Thing 1 is Katie Gallagher, 14, of Stewartsville; and Thing 2 is Allisa Conover, 13, of East Amwell Twp. And the adorable Cindy-Lou Who is played by Maggie Dean, 12, of Clinton Twp.; and Charlotte Ruffine, 12, of Tewksbury Twp. SKIT veteran John Kozakis, of Lebanon, is the Mayor of Whoville and Ashley Gallagher, 17, of Stewartsville, plays the Mayor’s Wife. The cast is completed by assorted Who’s, Circus Members and other Seussical creatures played by Maddie Nasto, 6, of Mt. Laurel; Jeff Mehl, adult, of Lebanon Twp.; Andrew Pedri, 5, of Hazelton, PA; Sabrina Bunca, 11, of Asubry; Dale Dabour; adult, of Stewartsville; Constantine Kapetanakis, 14, of Bethlehem Twp.; Madison McGourty, 15, of Asbury; Jennifer Palermo, adult, of Phillipsburg; Lisa Postiglione, adult, of Stewartsville; and Pam Dean, of Clinton Twp., a Perry-award nominee for her hilarious rendition of Betty Blast in last season’s Footloose.
SKIT is a non-profit, family community theatre group. Founded in 1986 to offer the children of Hunterdon County an opportunity to experience the joys of theatre and give the community professional quality children’s theatre productions, SKIT has since blossomed into an organization that also provides families the opportunity to share quality time while providing an unending amount of wonderful memories. SKIT director and producer Carolyn B. Newman was inducted into the New Jersey Association of Community Theater’s (NJACT) Perry Award Hall of Fame earlier this year. SKIT won the Perry for “Outstanding Production of a Musical” in 2014 for Shrek, out of more than 200 productions reviewed throughout New Jersey. ShowKids Invitational Theatre programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.