This week on Behind the Curtain we ask artistic director Amanda Farnsworth what has been her favorite theatre show she’s directed over the years.
Video Length: 2:31 (2 minutes, 31 seconds)
QUESTION: “What’s Been Your Favorite Theatre Show to Direct?”
AMANDA: “I love Seussical the Musical. I’ve directed that a lot (chuckles). It seems to come up a lot. It’s perfect for kids. It’s great for schools and different things. In the time when it came out it was pretty revolutionary, to put Dr. Seuss in a Broadway musical. But the power of Dr. Seuss’s storytelling translates to the musical. So you’re using rhyme which is one of the most accessible forms ever. Poetry, poems, kid’s books, songs—it’s very accessible to rhyme. And it takes skill to tell a story in a rhyme. You know? And Dr. Seuss is the master of that, in my opinion.
So you put that on stage and all of a sudden you’re dealing with much deeper issues. Kids are reading the books but they’re learning about racial inequality, they’re learning about age discrimination. You have Mayzie La Bird who’s this Vegas show bird who is occupied with her appearance but that covers up insecurity. You have dynamics of friends at school and you have dynamics of popularity, dynamics of bullying. Dynamics of insecurity stopping you from going after what you see you need or want or believe in. That’s a beautiful storyline.
You have a storyline of Horton who is this incredible big-hearted elephant who finds a world and nobody believes him. So he’s standing up for these very very tiny people who everyone else is pretending don’t matter. And he isn’t always heard and he’s ridiculed and ultimately taken to court. There are so many applications to real life. What kids are going through on a daily basis. What our country is going through on a daily basis. Politics that we’re hearing about on a daily basis. There’s so many of those in Seuss. But they’re related in a way that even a small kid can watch and understand. Also it’s just fun. Some of the best music I’ve played on the piano, which I love. And you have all ages from the tiniest Whos, and when we did it we cast tiny kids as Whos which was lovely and amazing because it’s like watching a box of kittens run across the stage—Whos can do no wrong when they’re that age and it’s very fun. But then you also have up to older adults playing characters in the jungle.
So, as favorite musicals to direct go, that’s (Seussical) definitely at the top.”
If you’re currently doing Seussical or even thinking about it for your next season, check out our collection of colorful projections which can add even more life to the stage.