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'Seussical' ready to light up Corn Stock stage

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Peggy Breaux Hupp knows the musical “Seussical the Musical” as well as anybody around here. She’s directed three times.

But starting Friday at Corn Stock Theatre, she’ll finally get to see her work on the play done the way she’s long wanted – with adults in the lead roles.

“I really do love this show and I have enjoyed directing it in schools with kids,” said Hupp, who has directed it twice at Richwoods High School. “But the main reason I said yes when they asked me to direct it out here under the tent was because I would get to use adults. And the difference, let me tell you, is amazing.”

“Seussical the Musical” is the third show of Corn Stock Theatre’s 63rd season under the tent in Upper Bradley Park. It opens Friday and continues through July 23; all performances start at 7:30 p.m.

The show features many of the characters from the beloved books by Dr. Seuss. “It weaves together memorable stories like ‘Horton Hears a Who,’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ and, of course, ‘The Cat in the Hat.’”

The musical tells the story of a boy named JoJo as he learns from the various characters how to be accepting of all people and the importance of friendship. That, Hupp said, is what she hopes audiences will leave the tent with, as well.

“I feel the message is that every human being matters, regardless of ethnicity. This is timely with everything that has been going on. The people in this musical learn the importance of treating everyone with respect.

“I hope everyone leaves the show feeling uplifted and having hope.”

The cast is more than 80 strong playing the roles of animals in the Jungle of Nool and citizens of Whoville. Hupp is proud of the fact there are many sets of families in this production. “It enables families to do things together. That’s one of the great things about theatre,” she said.

Among the cast are Josh Hammond, who portrays the Cat in the Hat, Jessie Pilcher Hinrichsen as Gertrude McFuzz, Thomas Deters as Horton the Elephant, Kaden Micklos as JoJo, Mariah Aberle as Mayzie, Jasmyne Providence as Sour Kangaroo, Monte Mathews as Gen. Genghis Khan Schmitz, Logan Henderson as Vlad Vladikoff, and Andrew Gray as The Grinch.

“I have a great cast. I have people in this cast who were in the show the first time I directed it at Richwoods in 2004. They’re adults now and having just as much fun,” Hupp said.

The 11-piece orchestra is directed by Nick Broadcamp, who was the music director for the show. Hupp and Danny Fisher choreographed the dance-heavy production. “It’s high-energy, lots of dancing… There are 24 number in this show,” she said.

Among them are “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “”It’s Possible,” “How Lucky You SAre,” “The Circus McGurkus,” “Havin’ a Hunch” and “All For You.”

The music was written by Stephen Flaherty and the lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. They co-wrote the script.

This Sunday, Corn Stock will have a family carnival from 5:30 p.m. until showtime at 7:30 p.m. There will be a magician, balloon artist and a chance to meet the cast.

Admission to the carnival is free.

Show tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. To order call 676-2196 or order tickets online at www.cornstocktheatre.com.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).

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