Horton hears a musical hit

There’s a new high school musical in town, but it’s not your regular classic.

Students from Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate will be performing Seussical, a musical based on the popular books by Dr. Seuss, on Dec. 4, 5 and 6.

Students from Sir Oliver Mowat rehearse for their
Seussical musical.

Although he originally doubted the quality of the show, Chandler Jolliffe, a Grade 12 student and stage manager, thinks the musical is going to be a hit.

“I was a little anxious when it was announced. A lot of people were looking to Chicago or Grease, like the classic big musicals, and it’s so different from anything we’ve ever done like Bye Bye Birdie,” he says.

This will be the school’s fourth musical in a row in four years. Bye Bye Birdie and Cabaret are among the previous musicals performed by Mowat students.

Shelly Meichenbaum, director and choreographer of Seussical, says it’s a huge project with about 100 kids and half-a-dozen teachers putting it all together.

“It’s completely extra-curricular — I don’t even think they get volunteer hours for it. So it’s completely just out of their own satisfaction and motivation to put on a great show.” Meichenbaum says.

“It’s really nice to work with kids who want to give up their time. It’s very rewarding.”

Students began auditioning early in September and they have been rehearsing four to six days a week for about 10 weeks.

Greg Decaire, pit drummer in the orchestra, admits he probably has the easiest job there compared to everyone else.

“Suessical isn’t one of the classics […] so it’s really different,” he says.

“It takes a lot of work and dedication though. I mean, for most people here, it’s their lives. They don’t have social lives because this is their social life. They’re here almost every day,” says Decaire, who is also a Grade 12 student.

Mowat students rehearse for Seussical, which is being
directed and choreographed by Shelly Meichenbaum.

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, a movie that came out earlier in the year, is based on one of Dr. Seuss’ well-known books. Suessical largely follows the character Horton the elephant throughout the musical while combining other favourite characters such as Cat in the Hat and Gertrude.

Rachel Dies plays bird girl number two. She is part of a quartet that narrates some of the musical in song. Dies, a Grade 12 student, says the musical brings back memories of Dr. Seuss books.

“When I heard we were doing this musical last year, I was so excited because I’ve already seen it once before at another high school and it was such a great show.” she says. “It’s for kids but it has an overall message that can be for adults as well.”

Some of the students taking part in the musical say it brings people together and it’s like being in a big family.

“If I could, I’d be here everyday. I love being here.” Dies says. “I love being on stage, it’s kind of my drug instead of other things.

“Being on stage is so amazing. Even though it makes me kind of scared, but it’s one of the best things ever.”

Tickets are being sold at Mowat to the community and the school. They are $5 for kids, $8 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults.

For more information, please call the school at (416) 396-6802.