SHS players celebrate Seuss with spring musical |

SHS players celebrate Seuss with spring musical

KEELY BROWNspecial to the daily
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

Happy Birthday,Dr. Suess!You have madeOur minds run loose-We hopped on Pop, We heard a WhoOnce we even ran a ZooYour Cat had hats, Your Fox had socks-You made us think outside the boxLet’s celebrateWith Seussian feast-Green Eggs and Ham,Rare Who-Roast-Beast!On March 2, 1904, a whole new world of imagination was born in the figure of Theodor Seuss Geisel, later known and beloved by generations in the guise of Dr. Seuss. Although Dr. Seuss left this world in 1991, his legacy is such that he is still with us today, in characters such as the Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Sam-I-Am, Horton and other boys, girls and beasties that inhabited his unique writings.To honor Dr. Seuss’ birthday month, parties and stage productions have been planned all over the country – including right here in Summit County.

Next weekend, Summit High School will present three performances of “Seussical The Musical.” Written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (composers of the musical “Ragtime”) and co-conceived by Eric Idle (of “Monty Python” fame), the show presents characters and philosophies from Dr. Suess’ most popular works, headed by the Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant, backed by music that runs the gamut from calypso and ’60s rock to ragtime and rhythm and blues.”Seussical The Musical” will be produced by Summit High music teacher Cathie Hill, and directed by Chris Alleman, artistic director for the Lake Dillon Theatre.Director Alleman is no stranger to the musical genre. Under his direction the Lake Dillon Theatre has garnered praise for their musical productions – the most recent being their winter production of “Urinetown.” In addition to his professional theater work, Alleman directed two productions for Summit High last year – “How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” and “The Diviners.”As for “Seussical The Musical,” Alleman was already a big fan before he was brought in to direct.

“This show has the most fun music I’ve heard in a long time,” Alleman said. “I saw it on tour a few years ago, and I love the music. And I’m a big fan of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.”The all-student cast of “Seussical” rehearses from 3-5:30 p.m. every afternoon after school. Alleman, who has been called in to direct many student productions when he’s not busy with Lake Dillon Theatre, said that there are challenges working with student actors – but there are rewards as well. “The main thing is that as actors, they can’t bring as much to the table, because they don’t have as much experience,” he said. “So you have to lead them along a bit more, but at the same time still give them their own freedom of expression. You just have to keep them to a narrower path so they don’t wander as far.”But the rewards, Alleman said, bring him great gratification as a director.”Student actors constantly surprise you with ideas and creativity – whether or not you use it is a different story, but you never know what they’re going to do or say,” he said. “And when they pull it all together, you see the accomplishment of their growth throughout the process.”And part of that process, Alleman said, is giving the students a taste of what being a professional actor is really like. “I tell them that I expect the same professionalism from them as I do from my actors at the theater, no less,” said Alleman. “And while most of them aren’t going to pursue acting professionally, some of them actually do decide to pursue it. “I give all the high school students a well-discounted ticket to the Lake Dillon Theatre,” he added, “and I tell them that the best way to learn about theater is to go and see it.”In addition to “Seussical The Musical,” other birthday celebrations will be going on in Summit County as well. On Saturday, families are invited to a “Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss Family Fun Fair” being held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Summit County Community and Senior Center near Frisco. The celebration represents a collaboration between Early Childhood Options, Colorado Mountain College, the Family & Intercultural Resource Center and the Rotary Club, and is geared toward families with children 2 to 8 years old.In addition to crafting and reading activities, the fair will feature birthday cake, green eggs and ham, and a free Dr. Seuss book to each family who attends.According to Elizabeth Lowe, outreach specialist with Early Childhood Options, the fair is designed to foster a love of books in young children.”The earlier kids start to love and appreciate books, the better off they’ll be when they start school,” said Lowe.The fair is free, and in addition to the kiddie-style treats, Starbucks coffee will be provided for the grown-ups.”Seussical the Musical”Summit High School spring musical

When: 7 p.m. on March 24, 25 and 2 p.m. Sunday March 26Where: Summit High School auditoriumTickets: $3 for preschoolers, $5 for students and seniors, $8 for adults. Call the high school at (970) 547-9311 for reserved seatingSeuss celebrationWhat: “Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss Family Fun Fair” When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to noonWhere: Summit County Community and Senior Center near Frisco

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