Behind the Scenes: Spring Production “Seussical”


Jack Cropper, staff writer

New Providence High School seeks to create an experience that will revive the spirit of musical theatre in the community by performing ‘Seussical’, a musical written by Lynn Ahrens using various characters from the and beloved books by Dr. Seuss.   While there is a long waiting period between now and opening night, an early overview of information was provided to the patiently awaiting community:

Casting has been finalized with some of the top roles being filled with talented student actors.  Horton the Elephant will be played by Zach Pereira, Jojo by Alex Skotarczak, Gertrude McFuzz by  Samantha Molle, and Mayzie La Bird by Sydney Chan.  The most famous of all the characters “The Cat in the Hat” will be played by Cooper Fischbeck.

Craig Duke, the director of the production, said Fischbeck  “has a great sense of humor, and sort of this kind of knowing, you know, demeanor. Like he kind of has a secret that nobody else knows.”

According to Mr. Duke, consideration is given to the talent pool of actors available when selecting the musical.  All the considerations of audience-catching characteristics, like swag and humor, go into the decision: “So you know, every year when we pick the musical, you know, we sort of look at our group of talent, and how many strong female voices. How many strong male voices.” 

The Cat in the Hat is an integral part of the production, and it was not a coincidence that Fischbeck was cast as this character.  

The music is obviously an important part of the musical, and the execution of it needs to be able to support the story and overall experience. However, sometimes the creativity of the music department is hindered, as licensing prevents them from editing or adding new parts to the songs.

Former musical director Susan Kirkland said, “We can take some liberties as far as cutting material out. Typically, we’re not allowed to insert any of our own material, so we can’t compose new songs, or new endings.” 

Mrs. Kirkland’s former experience can provide some insight into exactly how the musical is selected as well, as the talent is taken into extreme consideration. The musical pieces rely on certain dynamics and the overall sound of the cast:  “It can really affect it quite a bit and it can affect the overall quality, and the overall feeling of the intended sound if you’re missing certain voice parts.”

Mr. Duke believes that this musical can really have an impact on the community as a whole. The production can inspire creativity in younger audiences, while bringing the entire town together over a celebration of art. Especially as the pandemic has affected everyone, theatre is needed now more than ever:  “So I think everybody, you know, would really enjoy it, not just, you know, the little ones.”  This production is integral to the theatre community and artistic community as a whole, and is sure to be a success with this talented cast and crew. 

The musical is slated to be performed over the span of two weekends rather than one, as the pandemic has seemingly calmed down. However, there are always questions about what might happen in the future, as health is generally the top priority of all events and establishments.