Emanon Players capture Seuss’ magic

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Nicholas Hathaway sings during “Seussical” rehearsal. (Steve Prisament) Nicholas Hathaway sings during “Seussical” rehearsal. (Steve Prisament)

GALLOWAY – The tales of Dr. Seuss are open to musical interpretation – you can make book on that. And the Emanon Players of Absegami High School will prove it soon with their production of “Seussical.”

It incorporates parts of 18 Seuss books including “Horton Hears a Who,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “The Lorax,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.”

Junior Malia Monk, daughter of Eileen Hughes, plays Gertrude McFuzz.

“My character is like me because we’re both very determined,” Monk said during rehearsal Thursday, Jan. 31. “Gertrude starts off very insecure – but at the end knows that she’s perfect.”

The show is colorful and lots of fun, according to Monk.

“It’s really for all ages,” she said. “If you’re little you get to see the books you’ve read. If you’re older, you read more into the characters. My character is insecure about the size of her tail.”

She goes to the doctor and is told to take pills from the Pillberry Bush, she said.

“Any little kid would see she’s taking pills from the Pillberry Bush,” Monk said. “Adults would connect it to numerous insecurities.”

The longtime drama student who also participates in Peer Mediation, forensics and choir said she’s excited for people to see the show.

Senior Alexis Rodriguez, daughter of Ana Coyle and Carlos Rodriguez, plays the Sour Kangaroo.

“This is only my second high school production,” Rodriguez said. “Normally I’m in the pit band.”

Rodriguez is in marching band, concert band and chorus at Absegami. She’s also in South Jersey Band and Choir, All State Chorus and All Eastern Band.

“I’ll miss being in the band – I love the music in this show,” she said. “I’m honored to have such a really great part. I’m the antagonist in the story.”

She said the kangaroo is not much like her.

“It’s really fun to take on a role that I wouldn’t normally encompass on a regular basis,” Rodriguez said. “Normally I’m real easy going, but for the story I have to take on a role that makes everything people look at positively negative – mostly Horton’s ideas.”

Junior Gabrielle Hughes, daughter of Margery and John Hughes, plays Mayzie la Bird – a bird of a different feather.

“I’m a rather flighty character,” Hughes said. “Every single character in this show is an entity with animal characteristics – but they’re really all symbols for different personalities we find in life.”

Looking for a career in theater, Hughes said she’s already scouting colleges – mostly those in large cities.

She’s in the Spanish Honor Society, Interact Club, Key Club, Media Club, Peer Mediation, forensics, all the choirs except the men’s choir, Class Council, Earth Shepherd and Lead for Diversity.

“It’s challenging to pretend to be an animal and still find a human balance,” Hughes said. “But that’s the fun of ‘Seussical.’”

Sophomore Isabelle Brown, daughter of Marie and Ken Brown, plays Jojo in her first lead role in high school.

Active on the Forensics Team, Yearbook Committee and Latin Club, Brown said she just likes being with everyone.

“Singing with everyone, dancing with everyone – it’s the atmosphere,” she said. “I solo ‘It’s Possible.’ I really like it; it’s really upbeat. I think it’s going to be a really fun number.”

Brown plays a boy.

“He’s a young kid – it’s a fun role,” she said. “I’m a girl, a soprano; he’s a tenor alto, so it’s difficult to sing some of the songs. I’m just real excited – pretty pumped for the show.”

Sophomore Nicholas Hathaway, son of Lisa and Butch Hathaway, plays Horton.

Hathaway, who is also on the Forensics Team and in Select Choir, has been involved in drama “since it was available” when he was in fourth grade.

“’Seussical’ was my first show. It’s cool doing it again,” Hathaway said. “I have a pretty good memory. It’s a challenging part. Singing-wise it has a lot of harmonies and some high notes.”

The actor said he’s much like his character.

“His main goal is protecting the Whos and Mayzie’s egg,” Hathaway said. “He cares about anyone no matter how small. I’ve always been a caring person. It’s a good one – high energy and stuff.”

He said one of the show’s biggest plusses is that it taps into a great audience.

“It’s a children’s show for adults, too,” Hathaway said. “It’s a lot about the classic stories. A lot in the show direct quotes from the books. It’s genuine.”

Senior Kirsten Wimberg, daughter of Linda and John Wimberg, plays Cat, of “Cat in the Hat” fame.

The captain of the Forensics Team, and a member of Class Council and choir, Wimberg said it’s difficult to play such an iconic character.

“It’s very difficult because the character has been portrayed by so many people,” she said. “There are so many different ways to show the character that it’s hard to find your version. You have to find your version, keep it true to the source material – and be original.”

According to Wimberg the original Cat was a male, but the last one on Broadway was a female.

“I’m a female,” she added quickly. “Yup. I love the song, ‘Havin’ A Hunch.’ The Cat does a lot of audience reaction.”

If You Go

The Emanon Players

“Seussical the Musical”

7 p.m. Friday, March 8, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9 and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 10

Performing Arts Center at Absegami High School

Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors

Advance purchase 6-9 p.m. in the school lobby

Call (609) 404-2061

Emanon Players rip into a production number. (Steve Prisament) Emanon Players rip into a production number. (Steve Prisament)

Alexis Rodriguez and Nicholas Hathaway. (Steve Prisament) Alexis Rodriguez and Nicholas Hathaway. (Steve Prisament)

From left are Nathan Moore, Malia Monk – in background, Colleen Garrison, Frankie Chisholm, Brandon Castillo and Michael Moore. (Steve Prisament) From left are Nathan Moore, Malia Monk – in background, Colleen Garrison, Frankie Chisholm, Brandon Castillo and Michael Moore. (Steve Prisament)

The dancing commences at Emanon Players rehearsal for “Seussical.” (Steve Prisament) The dancing commences at Emanon Players rehearsal for “Seussical.” (Steve Prisament)

From left are Tamira Adams, Gina Marinelli, Marla Cassenti, Megan Louis Cantz and Erica Butterhof. (Steve Prisament) From left are Tamira Adams, Gina Marinelli, Marla Cassenti, Megan Louis Cantz and Erica Butterhof. (Steve Prisament)

Nicholas Hathaway is forlorn as Horton the elephant. (Steve Prisament) Nicholas Hathaway is forlorn as Horton the elephant. (Steve Prisament)

The entire “Seussical” cast gets into it at Absegami. (Steve Prisament) The entire “Seussical” cast gets into it at Absegami. (Steve Prisament)

Absegami drama director Chip Garrison gets his cast in shape. (Steve Prisament) Absegami drama director Chip Garrison gets his cast in shape. (Steve Prisament)

Isabelle Brown, left, and Kirsten Wimberg in a somber moment during rehearsal. (Steve Prisament) Isabelle Brown, left, and Kirsten Wimberg in a somber moment during rehearsal. (Steve Prisament)

The entire cast is onstage for the climax of one number at rehearsal Thursday, Jan. 31. (Steve Prisament) The entire cast is onstage for the climax of one number at rehearsal Thursday, Jan. 31. (Steve Prisament)

Who could ask for more? The Moore brothers, Michael, left, and Nathan rehearse “Seussical.” (Steve Prisament) Who could ask for more? The Moore brothers, Michael, left, and Nathan rehearse “Seussical.” (Steve Prisament)

Malia Monk delivers a classic solo during practice for “Suessical.” (Steve Prisament) Malia Monk delivers a classic solo during practice for “Suessical.” (Steve Prisament)

Randy Frazier reads to a group. From left are Brandon Castillo, Ryan Boyle, Luke Petrecca, Sophia Turano, C.J. Coyle, Abby Cohen, Jaymee Martin, Juliet Melnick and Maggie Cohen. (Steve Prisament) Randy Frazier reads to a group. From left are Brandon Castillo, Ryan Boyle, Luke Petrecca, Sophia Turano, C.J. Coyle, Abby Cohen, Jaymee Martin, Juliet Melnick and Maggie Cohen. (Steve Prisament)


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