SCERA's Theatre for Young Audiences to Present Dr. Seuss' THE CAT IN THE HAT
From the moment a mischievous cat in the red and white striped hat and red bow tie enters the room, everyone knows chaos served with a heaping dose of fun is about to unfold on stage.
The 45-minute Theatre for Young Audiences "play with sound effects" will be live on stage Monday and Friday evenings @ 7:00pm at the SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 South State, Orem. Reserved-seat tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children (age 3-11), seniors (age 65 and older) and students (w/ID). They are available online at www.scera.org, by calling (801) 225-ARTS, or in person at the main office at SCERA Center between 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12Noon-6pm.
The boisterous story based on the popular story by Theodor Geisel, aka, Dr. Seuss is "a perfect play for this season of the year," says director Julie Nevin, who earned her BYU degree in Theatre Arts and spends much of her time working in area theaters and with veteran director Jerry Elison. "We are celebrating Dr. Seuss's 110th birthday during the run. He created a legacy of wonderful stories, particularly for the young reader and the young at heart."
The story opens on a cold, wet day that doesn't hold much promise until a riotous cat enters the house of a little boy and his sister Sally who are stuck in the house. Much to the chagrin of the orderly fish, pandemonium reigns until it's time for the cat to return from whence he came, taking his trickiest of tricks with him.
SCERA's Theatre for Young Audiences are performed by a cast of adult actors. "This play is just so fun, and I'm lucky because The Players are so good," Nevin says. We've got Shawn Mortensen in the signature role, who has played the Cat in 'Seussical the Musical' more than once. He reads Seuss storybooks to elementary students, and even has his own personal cat hat. He is playful and his energy pours out of the roof. I wish you could bottle his enthusiasm. He is the ideal person for the role because he embodies everything we need in the cat, which also includes being sly, suave and silly."
Other actors include DeLayne Dayton as the voice and master of a bright orange fish hand puppet designed by Nat Reed; Andrew Walsh as the little boy, McKelle Shaw as sister Sally, Marshall Madsen as Thing One, Cody Whitlock as Thing Two, Jerry Elison as the Narrator and three kittens played by Audrey Patten, Shellee Heron and Kaysie Norton.
Elison will read the original Dr. Seuss book aloud, with the book coming to life word by word on stage. And while this version a not a musical, it is full of sound effects, music under the story, puppets and larger-than-life props that imbue the story with a sense of wonder, according to Nevin.
"I want this to be a magical show, especially for children," Nevin says. "For many, this will be their first exposure to theatre, and I feel a responsibility to help them see plays as a valuable, meaningful and important part of life."
SCERA President & CEO Adam J. Robertson says parents will be transported into the world they've always imagined from when they themselves first read the book. "And Shawn Mortensen as the Cat...well, all I can say is he is Utah County's very own Jim Carrey with his crazy faces and high energy. He is perfect."
Photo by Mark A. Philbrick