Were he alive today, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name, Dr. Seuss, would be 109 years old on March 2.

And while Seuss himself may not be around, his timeless works have hardly lost their relevance, enchanting kids and adults alike to this day.

In recognition of Seuss' birthday, Absegami High School's award-winning theatre troupe The Emanon Players will perform the popular Dr. Seuss-based musical, "Seussical," on March 8-10.

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Cast member Nicholas Hathaway says the show is a must-see.

"I think it's a really high-energy show, something that anyone would love, from kids to adults," said Hathaway, who plays the elephant Horton. "It's for kids, but it has adult messages in it that everyone can relate to, just like the Seuss books."

The musical, narrated by the mischievous Cat in the Hat (Kirsten Wimberg) tells the story of Horton, a gentle giant who discovers on a speck of dust the microscopic civilization of the Whos, vowing to protect them.

Horton gets caught up in a grand adventure in his quest to keep the Whos safe, befriending a young Who boy named JoJo (Isabelle Brown) and a cast of colorful characters pulled straight from the pages of some of Seuss' most popular books.

Other main cast members include Gabrielle Hughes as Mayzie, Malia Monk as Gertrude and Alexis Rodriguez as the Sour Kangaroo.

Wimberg, who was a big fan of Dr. Seuss' as a kid, said it has been fun giving life to the author's iconic creations.

"There's a nostalgia factor, where you see all these stories you read over and over and over again as children, they're up on stage," Wimberg said. "There's Horton. He's there. And if I really wanted to do it, I could touch him."

Cast members have a great deal of freedom in bringing their characters to life, Wimberg said, making it paramount to the show's success that its actors indulge their imaginations. Her Cat in the Hat, for example, has free rein across the set and beyond, and often ventures out into the audience to interact with viewers.

Absegami drama teacher and director Chip Garrison, who counts Seussical among his favorite shows, said its whimsical nature requires it be performed by a particularly energetic group, like the one he has this year.

"(They're a) whimsical bunch, high-energy, and a lot of the scenes, they have to really use their imagination," Garrison said. "This is very imaginative group and that all kind of works."

With its flamboyant costumes, elaborate and brightly colored set and live pit orchestra, Seussical makes for a dazzling sensory spectacle, and with the inherent moral message of Dr. Seuss' work, it's engaging for the mind as well.

The show is recommended for viewers ages 2-102, a suggestion with which Brown wholeheartedly agrees.

"There's really something for everyone," Brown said. "I really can't think of anyone that wouldn't enjoy it. It's just a really fun show."

Contact Braden Campbell:


If you go

What: Absegami's Emanon Players production of 'Seussical'

When: March 8-9, 7 p.m., March 9, 2 p.m.; March 10, 3 p.m.

Where: Absegami High School Performing Arts center, 201 South Wrangleboro road, Galloway Township.

How much: $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors.

More info: Call 609-404-2061 or visit absegami.net.

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