BY TARA McCARTHY

A crowd of young voices echoes through the hallway at the Wood Street Centre, accompanied by the soft sound of a piano.

The talented group is still rehearsing for their next ambitious performance – but judging by their excitement, it won’t take long to sink in.

The Music Arts and Drama students are ending their year with the musical production,Seussical.

“It is based on a bunch of Dr. Seuss stories. There’s Horton Hears A Who, Horton Hatches the Egg and The Cat and the Hat. He comes in as sort of the emcee, the host,” explains second-year MAD student Kerstin Burnett.

“It’s all the favourites and ones people haven’t heard of. Some of them I haven’t heard of until now,” she adds with a laugh.

Bits and pieces of about 14 Seuss tales are intertwined in an amusing mix of traditional ballads and funkier melodies. Horton is one of the main characters, attempting to save his friend Jojo and other inhabitants on Who.

Alana Bekk is in her second year with MAD, but as a Grade 12 student she’ll bid adieu to the performance training. She says she’s happy to finish on such an enthusiastic note.

“It’s so great and I’m so glad this one is our last one, mostly because I love Dr. Seuss and because I love the costumes and music,” Bekk says. “It’s just great because it’s like a musical of my life because I always read Dr. Seuss.”

Alix Causer-McBurney shares that sentiment. She says it’s been interesting to see how the rhyming tales come to life through music.

“You just go through each song or scene and hear a few lines from the books and it’s just really exciting.”

MAD Instructor Mary Sloan says besides the elements of storybook fun and fantasy, Seussicalwas chosen to showcase the strengths of the young performers.

“We have a lot of dancers and we have some singers that are really up-and-coming singers,” Sloan says.

“It requires the work that we’ve had since the beginning of the semester and for some students even last year and the year before. It requires a lot of focus.”

Sloan calls the production a visual feast. Dale Cooper is putting the finishing touches on the energetic dance sequences, along with former MAD student, Allyn Walton. Barb Chamberlin is helping with the music side of things.

And it’s the songs that student Becca Dacko-Brink says will stay with the audience.

“You will never be able to get them out of your head,” she says with a smile.

“But also, there’s so many Dr. Seuss stories with so many great lessons. You get to learn about friendship and loyalty and the importance of imagination and tons of stuff that just all comes together into this big thing that you really can’t get from anything else.”

A creative treatment of attire and scenery will translate the whimsical classics to the stage.

“The sets and costumes are going to be pretty big, but they start out smaller. It starts out with a blank stage and then it just builds and builds until the big finale at the end,” says fourth-year student Melissa Mann.

“So it’s a lot of work, but it’s going to be really fun.”

Seussical runs June 5, 6 and 7 at 8 p.m and on June 8 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.

PHOTO: MORGAN WHIBLEY morgwhib@gmail.com