Performances of 'Seussical the Musical' to run from Feb. 11-13

Judd Weil
Special to Dodge City Daily Globe
The Dodge City High School production of 'Seussical" is being performed with COVID-19 prevention measures in place for both players and guests.

The Dodge City High School production of "Seussical the Musical" will debut from Feb. 11-13.

Originally the show was set for Feb. 4-6 but was changed due to the then mandatory Kansas All State Choir rehearsal schedule involving eight cast members. Since then, the Kansas All State Choir lifted the mandatory rehearsal times, but the musical’s schedule was left where it is now.

The musical is an adaption based on the works of children’s book author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, specifically his books “Horton Hears a Who!” “Horton Hatches the Egg” and “The Cat in the Hat.”

Many of the colorful, tongue-tying and whimsical works of Dr. Seuss have seen several successful screen adaptions, such as 1966’s animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and 2008’s theatrical feature “Horton Hears a Who!”

However, the 2000 Broadway debut of "Seussical" was ill-received by critics.

Despite this, it has since seen several forays as a school production.

The plot follows a young boy named Jojo, played by Zane Hager, as he is led through his imagination manifested as a Dr. Seuss-like world by the Cat in the Hat, played by Alden Knedler.

Together they observe the adventures of the characters of Dr. Seuss, primarily Horton the Elephant, played by Carlos Teran, as he seeks to prove to the residents of the Jungle of Nool, that the microscopic “speck” on which the “Whos” live are indeed real.

He faces primary opposition from the Sour Kangaroo, played by Autumn Klein.

Horton is also the object of the bird Gertrude’s affections, who asks Horton to sit on her egg. Gertrude, played by Tegan Wenzl, is uncertain about her affections for Horton due to her being a bird and him an elephant.

“What the greatest thing about this is, is that the musical has a lot of great social messages in it and the best one is a quote from the show, 'A person is a person no matter how small,’ ” said Kelly Knedler, Dodge City High School teacher and production director. “Another reason we chose 'Seussical' this year, is because of COVID and we’re fortunate here in Dodge City because we’ve had the opportunity to have school.

“While many of my colleagues around the United States that are music and theater teachers aren’t allowed to do anything in person, we’re able have a musical in person.”

Knedler said they wanted to do something fun with a positive message.

Performers will have their masks off on stage, but as soon as they leave a scene, they will be expected to put their masks back on.

The production team has run rehearsals without taking their masks off and will do so during the actual show in keeping with COVID-19 school protocol.

Also, in keeping with school protocols, there will be no orchestra accompaniment with this production in favor of recorded music.

Guests will be required to wear masks and will be socially distanced as best as possible, with attending families being grouped together.

Seating will be limited to 300 people a night during the show's run, in order to maintain social distancing procedures.

“It’s an absolute requirement,” said Knedler.

For safety reasons, the cast will not perform a matinee for the elementary schools as it traditionally has in the past.

The musical will run about two and a half hours with intermission.

Tickets were discounted from their usual $8 price to $2 to encourage people to attend.

Tickets are available at the DCHS Athletics and Activities Office. The show begins at 7 p.m. in the DCHS Auditorium.