Alex Goodrich, George Andrew Wolff, Lillian Castillo and More to Star in Chicago Shakespeare's SEUSSICAL, Running 7/5-8/17
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) brings the humor and magic of Dr. Seuss to life onstage this summer for young audiences and their families in the Broadway musical comedy Seussical. Playful, energetic and full of whimsy, Seussical engages the imagination with clever lyrics and melodies, unforgettable characters and the colorful world of Dr. Seuss. Seussical is written by the Tony Award-winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, whose works include Ragtime, Once on This Island and the current Broadway production of Rocky, The Musical. Eric Idle of Monty Python and Spamalot fame co-conceived the musical.
Directed by Scott Weinstein with musical direction by Michael Mahler, Seussical will be performed July 5 through August 17 in CST's Courtyard Theater. Every performance features special opportunities for audiences to interact with the actors for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, CST partners with the Chicago Children's Museum (CCM) to offer hands-on craft activities in CST's Lobby.
Based on the stories created by children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) and narrated by his best-known character, The Cat in the Hat, Seussical seamlessly intertwines the characters, stories and themes from fourteen cherished Dr. Seuss classics, including Horton Hears a Who!, The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz, and Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!. This year marks the 110th birthday of the beloved author, whose work has won Academy Awards, a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and has been translated into more than 20 languages to be enjoyed by children worldwide.
Alex Goodrich performs the role of The Cat in the Hat, the mischievous and playful narrator. In addition to previously being seen at CST in The Taming of the Shrew, the Jeff Award-winning actor has honed his comedic and musical skills around Chicago at a number of theater companies including the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and Royal George Theater. As the thoughtful and observant Horton the Elephant, George Andrew Wolff returns to CST after appearing in previous summer family musicals including The Emperor's New Clothes and Willy Wonka. Lillian Castillo makes her CST debut as loveable one-feathered Gertrude McFuzz. Additional casting includes: Emily Chang, Lisa Estridge, Cory Goodrich, Aaron Holland, Ericka Mac, Liam Quealy, Joseph Sammour, Allison Sill and Krystal Worrell.
Director Scott Weinstein notably contributed to the early development of the musical comedy Murder for Two, and joined the creative team for its World Premiere at Chicago Shakespeare in 2011. Murder for Two has since gone on to a wildly successful Off-Broadway run, garnering Drama Desk and Drama League Award nominations among others. Weinstein is the associate director for the Chicago, Las Vegas and National Tour productions of the long-running hit Million Dollar Quartet. In addition to working with CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines on David Ives' The School for Lies, Weinstein directed Fairy Tales, a theatrical concert CST presented in collaboration with The Chicago Chamber Musicians. Jeff Award-winning Music Director Michael Mahler comes to Seussical following a turn as the musical director for CST's production of the Sondheim and Weidman musical Road Show, directed by Associate Artistic Director Gary Griffin. Mahler was recently tapped by producer Cameron Mackintosh to pen additional updated lyrics for the highly anticipated West End revival of Miss Saigon. Mahler's additional CST credits include the music direction for last summer's Shrek The Musical and the original book and score for the family musical How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?, which was written with Alan Schmuckler and premiered at CST in 2007.
Joining the artistic team is Tommy Rapley as the production's Choreographer. Scott Davis is Scenic Designer, returning to Chicago Shakespeare after designing Road Show, Shrek The Musical and Othello: The Remix. Costume Designer Theresa Ham returns to CST after creating the imaginative costumes for Shrek The Musical and Beauty and the Beast. Jeff Award-winner Jesse Klug, whose previous work at CST includes Cyrano de Bergerac and Othello: The Remix, serves as Lighting Designer. CST Sound Master James Savage is Seussical's Sound Designer; among his nearly forty productions at CST, recent designs include Othello: The Remix and Murder for Two. CST's resident Jeff Award-winning Wig and Make-up Designer Melissa Veal, who has designed over seventy-five productions at Chicago Shakespeare, completes the creative team.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater continues its annual partnership with the Chicago Children's Museum, presenting the following series of programs featuring Seussical:
CCM staff and volunteers offer free hands-on art activities in the Theater's lobbies for one hour beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays (prior to the 11:00 a.m. performance) and for 90 minutes beginning at 12:15 p.m. on Thursdays (between the 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. performances).
Seussical cast members visit CCM's Great Hall on Kraft Free Family Night for a short program followed by an opportunity for visiting children and families to interact with cast members on Thursday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m.
CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons. Access programs for Seussical include:
ASL Duo-interpreted Performance: Saturday, July 26 at 11:00 a.m. Audio-described Performance and optional Touch Tour: Saturday, August 16 at 11:00 a.m. (optional touch tour at 9:15 a.m.)
Chicago Shakespeare Theater's CST Family Series presents a wide range of affordable programming especially for families. Offerings year-round include Short Shakespeare! abridgments of Shakespeare plays, classical music concerts with Chicago Chamber Musicians and Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks, which produces free Shakespeare performances in neighborhood parks throughout the city. These programs reach more than 45,000 patrons each season-making Chicago Shakespeare one of the largest providers of family programming in Chicago.
Visit www.chicagoshakes.com/seussical for a complete performance listing and additional production information.
This 75-minute production of Seussical is best enjoyed by ages 5 and up and will be performed July 5-August 17 in CST's Courtyard Theater. Tickets are $18-$28 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.