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Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011

Beautiful Chaos in Soulstice's 'Seussical the Musical'

Theater Review

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Seussical the Musical is one of those rare musicals so wildly, beautifully chaotic that the full reality of it doesn't hit you until the next day. Conceived by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle, the show is a musical fusion of various Dr. Seuss children's books.

Director Char Manny and company put together a show that, despite some shortcomings, deftly maneuvers back and forth between claustrophobic and infinite. That ability helps to make the bizarre plot arc feel cohesive.

The musical side of the show is really interesting. Music director Art Jaehnke does a nice job of finding the right sound for the space, even if the musicians occasionally drown out the vocals in some of the show's more delicate moments. With the help of a sizable children's chorus, the production's staging of "Solla Sollew" is absolutely haunting—very, very beautiful.

Notable performances include Stephen Pfisterer in the role of Horton. In a performance that shows trust in the volume of the rest of the production, Pfisterer plays Horton in a low-key manner. Heidi Hansfield charms as the young Who dreaming of something bigger. And Liz Mistele's sharp comedic instincts as Gertrude McFuzz truly add to the production.

Soulstice Theatre's Seussical the Musical runs through Aug. 6 at the Keith Tamsett Theatre, 3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave., St. Francis. To reserve tickets, call 414-481-2800.