Gainesville Community Playhouse produces ‘Seussical the Musical’


“Seussical the Musical,” with Amanda Edwards, left, and Dan Christophy, opens Friday and continues through Dec. 22 at the Gainesville Community Playhouse.

Elizabeth Hamilton/Correspondent
Published: Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 3:43 p.m.

Rhonda Wilson’s favorite part about “Seussical the Musical” is the sense of community the play gives off not just with the cast but to an audience of all ages.

Facts

‘Seussical the Musical’

What: Gainesville Community Playhouse production of musical inspired by Dr. Seuss books
When: Opens Friday and runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., with additional 2 p.m. matinees on Dec. 7, 14 and 21, through Dec. 22
Where: Vam York Theater, 4039 NW 16th Blvd.
Tickets: $16, $12 for students and seniors
Info: 376-4949, www.gcplayhouse.org

The musical, which features characters from about 15 of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, including “The Cat in the Hat,” “The Sneetches,” “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” opens Friday at the Gainesville Community Playhouse and continues through Dec. 22.

Wilson, director of the show, says the play is about community and spotlights such themes as accepting individuals for who they are and caring for others.

“It’s about community, it’s about finding yourself and being satisfied [with] who you are and knowing that what [we] do is important,” says Wilson, also theater teacher at Duval Elementary School.

The play features performers of all ages — from 8 years old to around 40 — many of whom come from different backgrounds and understand that sense of community because of it, Wilson says.

Esteban Alvarez III, 28 years old and an assistant state attorney in Ocala, plays Horton the elephant in the production, which marks his 15th show at the Gainesville Community Playhouse.

Alvarez says its nice to see kids being a part of the play and bringing their energy to the stage.

Although he works as a lawyer during the day, at night Alvarez expresses his passion for theatre through acting, singing and comedy. “I love being able to take the stage and just make people laugh and just let them forget about their trouble for two hours or so,” he says.

His character, Horton, cares for everyone. Wilson says he’s so caring that he sits on Mayzie la Bird’s egg for 51 weeks.

“It’s OK to care about people, even when it’s not the most popular thing to do because with Horton it wasn’t popular but he did it anyway,” Wilson says, “... so sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and believe what you believe regardless of what everybody else believes.”

Mayzie la Bird is played by Amanda Edwards, a 27-year-old member service representative at SunState Federal Credit Union in Gainesville.

She describes her character as the queen of the jungle with a big tail, which Mayzie is known for.

“Mayzie is probably a little bit of an opposite of me,” Edwards says. “I’m much more reserved and quiet ... but she (Mayzie) is the life of the party, she’s somebody that everybody looks up to.”

During the play her character and others undergo transformations that help them understand that others should be accepted for who they are and not because of their looks.

Edwards says she was initially hesitant about the show but once she understood its message, she was on board. “It’s got a lot of heart,” she says, “... one of the best things about this show is Dr. Seuss wrote in such a manner that I think it was tangible for children but still [a] very human, universal sort of theme.”

While Edwards has performed at the Gainesville Community Playhouse for three years, 16-year-old Gainesville High School student Alexander Christophy has been involved with theater since the age of 2.

Christophy says the music in “Seussical the Musical” inspired him to perform in the production because he likes to sing. “The show itself is just crazy,” he says, “and the people in the show are just perfect for it, perfect for each role.”

Wilson says her favorite line in the musical also is one of its recurring themes: “A person is a person no matter how small,” she says.

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