In Franklin, ‘Seussical’ production takes a village

  • Zoe Nagle (left) as Jojo and Derek de Sousa as The Cat in the Hat run through a scene during a rehearsal for “Seussical: The Musical” at the Franklin Opera House in Franklin on Tuesday. Photos by ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • The ensemble rehearse a scene from “Seussical: The Musical” at the Franklin Opera House.

  • Gavin Riley, as Horton the Elephant, acts in a scene during a rehearsal for “Seussical: The Musical.”

  • Madi Smith, as Gertrude McFuzz, acts in a scene during a rehearsal for “Seussical: The Musical” on Tuesday. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When a school’s spring musical includes eager actors ages 6 to 18, it’s especially important for the piece to have something for everyone.

“I try to pick something that I know will give the older kids a challenge but also provides a lot of opportunity for the younger kids who are just starting, because we go all the way down to kindergarten,” said Jule Finley, director of Franklin’s annual district-wide musical.

This year, Finley settled on Seussical The Musical, a grand production that centers its plot around Horton the Elephant (played by Gavin Riley) from Dr. Seuss’s books Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who!

Seuss fans will also recognize The Cat in the Hat (played by Derek de Sousa) and other popular characters. “There’s references to tons of his books that pop in here and there throughout the whole piece,” Finley said.

About 110 students will play roles, filling out ensembles broken down into character groups such as the citizens of Whoville, jungle creatures and circus animals. They’ll fill the stage of the historic Franklin Opera House which has a maximum load of 90 bodies, but Finley doesn’t turn anybody away. Instead, she’s broken kindergarten through third-grade students into two separate casts that will be in three of the six performances each.

“If they audition, we’re going to find something for them to do, so I had to just get creative.”

Performances will be at the Franklin Opera House on Tuesday, and May 24 to 26 at 7:30 p.m., with 2 p.m. performances May 26 to 27. Tickets, which include specific seat reservations, can be purchased at the door, the box office or online at franklinoperahouse.org/tickets. Cost for adults is $16 while children, students and seniors are $14.