Horton hears a (‘Seussical’) musical at Bristol Eastern

Jack Armstrong, playing Horton the Elephant, rehearses a musical number for ‘Seussical the Musical,’ which opens at Bristol Eastern High School on May 3.
Jack Armstrong, playing Horton the Elephant, rehearses a musical number for ‘Seussical the Musical,’ which opens at Bristol Eastern High School on May 3.



The Bristol Eastern High School drama club is hard at work preparing their spring musical, “Seussical the Musical,” which will open on Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m., at BEHS, 632 King St., Bristol.

Theresa Degan, director and a music teacher at Northeast Middle School, said she has loved “Seussical” since it originally came out in 2000. She said she loved the message the show conveys about creativity, imagination, playfulness, and getting to the bottom of other people’s stories while “thinking your thinks.”

Degan said that the writers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty “took a bunch of the characters and melded this really interesting plot line that sort of puts them all (together).” The show features popular Dr. Seuss characters such as the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, the Whos of Whoville, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie Labird, Vlad Vladikoff, Yertle the Turtle, the Wickersham Brothers, the Sour Kangaroo, the Grinch, and more.

She explained that the Cat in the Hat (played by Logan Zdun) acts as the narrator, and follows the story of Horton the Elephant (played by Jack Armstrong) as he attempts to save Jojo (played by Erin Moderocky) and the Whos of Whoville from the creatures in the Jungle of Nool.

Senior Jack Armstrong said the role of Horton the Elephant is one that he hoped he would get, and that he prepared for weeks before his audition. He described his character as one “that really speaks” to him, and one that his very similar to him in real life.

Armstrong explained that the group has been rehearsing since early Feb., with rehearsals three to four times a week. Now that the show is drawing near, said Armstrong, there will be full cast rehearsals almost everyday.

“We’re definitely a more tight knit group, everyone gets along very well, and we’re all friends, we have a lot of chemistry together, so, it’s fun being here,” said Sela Fernance, a junior, who will serve as the stage manager, and will also play Vlad Vladikoff.

Zdun has been a member of the drama club for his entire high school career. He performed in Spamalot, Twenty-fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and All Shook Up, for which he was nominated for two Halo awards. The Cat in the Hat is his first leading role, and he described the character as being sort of like his alter ego.

“I feel like the Cat in the Hat just really represents someone who creates positivity and imagination within someone’s mind,” said Zdun. “There’s probably people here who haven’t imagined things in years that are just creative, and I’m trying to make this character bring back that light and that spirit.”

Collin Slone, a senior, will fill the dual roles of assistant director and the character Mr. Mayor, the newly elected mayor of Whoville. He has also been a member of the drama club for four years, and described “Seussical” as being one of the “most age-inclusive shows we’ve ever done.”

“I think it can be very, very entertaining to not just kids, but also to adults and teenagers as well. From the outside perspective, there’s so many eye popping qualities of the show, such as colors, characters, and stuff like that,” said Slone, “but there’s also an underlying theme that I think will resonate very well with teenagers and adults as well, some very deep messages that we show not just through comedy but through some very talented acting as well.”

“It’s really fun for all ages. We think of Seuss as sort of aimed at younger students, but, this is a plot line, this is a story, that anybody could follow and enjoy,” said Degan. “All proceeds that we earn just go towards helping them continue to better our auditorium, continuing to build better sets and have better costumes and things like that. All of our profit just goes towards helping the kids out, having a better theater experience, to help learn empathy, to help learn more about the theater business, to learn more about stepping into someone else’s shoes, so it’s all for a good cause.”

Degan said that after each showing, the cast will be available to meet with showgoers, as well as sign autographs for younger audience members.

“Seussical the Musical” opens on Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m. There will be two shows on Saturday, May 4, one at 2 p.m., and another at 7 p.m.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.