Shawnee Mission East Theatre’s winter musical “Seussical the Musical” to open Wednesday

The opening number from Shawnee Mission East's production of "Seussical the Musical."
The opening number from Shawnee Mission East’s production of “Seussical the Musical.”

Thing one, thing two, head to Seussical the Musical if you have nothing to do. The Shawnee Mission East theatre’s winter performance opens up Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The story of the musical is based on the books of Dr. Seuss, mainly “Horton Hears a Who!”, “Horton Hears An Egg” and “Miss Gertrude McFuzz.”

Poster designed by junior Harper Mundy
Poster designed by junior Harper Mundy

Senior Kylie Ledford, who plays Gertrude said the musical is entertainment the entire family can enjoy. She said the show has all the books intertwined together instead of being book by book. What also makes this unique is that the musical is all in song and rhyme.

“The Cat in the Hat (played by Grace Chisholm) is the narrator of the entire show,” Ledford said. “She takes everyone through all the stories and it follows Horton and all the characters that surround themselves by Horton and his whole crazy world and JoJo (play by Megan Walstrom).”

Leford said “Green Eggs and Ham” is part of the storyline. While it may seem like it’s thrown in at a random time, it’s done so with purpose.

With the shows running on Wednesday (7 p.m.), Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m./7 p.m.), the feeder elementary schools will attend Thursday during the day to allow for show continuity. The district has parent-teacher conferences on Thursday night.

Junior Jackson Bush, who plays Horton, thinks it might be the most fun musical he’s ever done. He said learning his lines were easier because of the rhyming, but getting the cadence correct was challenging.

“It still has that Seuss-like feel and beat,” Bush said.

Dr. Seuss has staying power as many of his stories were written more than 60 years ago and are still relevant today. While the children will appreciate the Seuss aspect, there is a love story between Horton and Gertrude.

“This part for me has been one of the most fun parts I’ve ever played. I don’t know if I can pick a specific moment, but the very end,” Ledford said of her favorite scene. “I’m dating (Bush), so the really cute part where we come together and it’s loving and happy. That cute little ending really gets me.”

The relationship outside of the musical has helped the two with their character’s chemistry. Ledford said it makes it easier and a lot more fun because they can tinker with different “cute stuff” instead of being directed to do it. It’s a lot more natural.

“When we’re hanging out outside of rehearsal we can be talking about our parts,” Bush said. “Knowing each other and bringing that onto the stage and already having that connection and not having to get to know the other person like, ‘Hi, I guess we’re a thing now.’ That was already developed and it made it easier and more fun.”

Senior Kylie Ledford, left, who plays Gertrude, and junior Jackson Bush, who plays Horton, said their real-life chemistry helped for the musical.
Senior Kylie Ledford, left, who plays Gertrude, and junior Jackson Bush, who plays Horton, said their real-life chemistry helped for the musical.