Silly Seussical at Plummer Auditorium

Stephanie Gorman

Suessical in Action
The ensemble of Seussical the Musical, dancing and singing charmingly in Plummer Auditorium.

Director David Engel and 3-D Theatricals brought Seussical the Musical, featuring Broadway’s Cathy Rigby, to Fullerton’s Plummer Auditorium.

Rigby was nominated for a Tony Award for her Broadway performance of Peter Pan, a role she bid farewell in 2013 after 30 years in the role.

“No we don’t say goodbye, because saying goodbye means forgetting and I’m not forgetting. I’m just going to find another adventure.” Rigby said. So, luckily her adventure lead her to 3-D Theatricals and Plummer Auditorium as the host and MC of Seussical the Musical, the Cat in the Hat.

Seussical is based on a compilation of selections from Dr. Seuss’s books, including Horton Hears a Who!, The Lorax, Horton Hatches the Egg, Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, Green Eggs and Ham and several more.

The line awaiting doors to open for this whimsical performance was wrapped around the front of the building; the children dressed their best for Saturday’s opening show.

When the doors opened, the scramble of families, groups, and couples all locating their seats began – front and center completely sold out.

One word, “Seussical!” plastered across the stage in big, green-blue letters.

The sound of tuning instruments started and the lights began to dim over an oddly quiet opening night audience, something Rigby, playing a charming Cat in the Hat, fixed almost immediately.

Cat in the Hat in Action
Cathy Rigby as Cat in the Hat with Things 1, 2, 3, and 4

Rigby played a perfectly charming, silly, and surprisingly aerodynamic Cat in the Hat. She kept the audience delighted and smiling with laughter throughout the show.

She invited the audience to “think some thinks” and introduced us to Horton the Elephant and all the other creatures of Dr. Suess’s Jungle of Nool.

Matthew Downs played the innocent, sweet Horton, whose mission is to save Who, the tiniest planet in the sky floating on a speck of dust, from destruction.

Rigby brings us close into Who to meet the Mayor (James Campbell), Mrs. Mayor (Tracy Rowe Mutz), and the mayor’s son JoJo, the tiniest Who of all, played by cute little Grant Westcott. He stole the hearts of the audience members from the beginning, thinking all his silly little thinks that drive Mr. and Mrs. Mayor up the wall.

As Horton becomes more attached to the world of Who, the animals of the Jungle of Nool, especially Sour Kangaroo (Amber Snead), become more and more frustrated with Horton’s shenanigans. But Horton’s neighbor, Gertrude McFuzz (Melanie Mockobey) is by his side the whole way.

Mockobey played a very memorable Gertrude McFuzz. She had complete control over the audience – she commanded the stage and brought the auditorium to complete laughter in more than one scene.

Rigby kept her perfectly silly performance all the way through the show, even once beginning her scene from within the audience, stepping over attendees, cracking a Super Bowl joke over her cell phone, and heading to the front of the stage to take a selfie with the audience.

The Cat in the Hat adorably made it through one technical difficulty in Act II, saying only, “That’s live theatre for ya, folks.”

Engel brought a light, whimsical show to the stage for the whole family to open 3-D Theatricals’ (3DT) 2015 musical theatre season. 3DT has eight more shows planned for Plummer Auditorium before February 22, but don’t wait to meet all the people of Who and the animals of the Jungle of Nool.

The messages of Dr. Seuss are ageless and timeless, and we could all use a friendly reminder that “a person’s a person, no matter how small.”