Visiting Whoville and Jungle of Nool
Catasauqua Area Showcase Theatre (CAST) is bringing some of Dr. Seuss’ most-loved characters to life with “Seussical.” The show runs 7 p.m. April 20, 21, 27 and 28 and 2 p.m. April 22 and 29 at Catasauqua High School, 2500 W. Bullshead Road, Northampton.
CAST has been producing musicals in the community since 1993 under the direction of Bill Nothstein. The organization wanted to allow children, adults and families the opportunity to perform together. The only prerequisite to joining the group is to have a passion for performing, according to Bethany Nothstein, production assistant for “Seussical.”
“Seussical” is a musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on the works of Dr. Seuss that debuted on Broadway in 2000. The story bounces between the two worlds of Whoville and the Jungle of Nool, with the Cat in the Hat as narrator. Horton the Elephant and other beloved jungle animals, such as Gertrude McFuzz and Yertle the Turtle, appear alongside the Mayor of Whoville and his son JoJo. The Cat in the Hat is portrayed by Kris Swanson, with Richie Warmkessel as Horton and Angelina Dries as JoJo.
Bill Nothstein, former art teacher at Sheckler Elementary School, is the organization’s director, set designer and overseer of all production aspects of each show. Without a successful board of directors and production team of volunteers, none of CAST’s productions would be possible. Kathie Metzeler serves as the assistant director, choreographer and stage manager and ensures that each performance runs smoothly. Susan Matol is the assistant to the directors.
Essential to any musical production is a musical director. Julius Sarkozy is new to the team this year and has worked to bring together the singers and orchestra into one harmonious group.
The visual aspect of any theatrical production is important. Bob Heffelfinger is in charge of constructing the sets for the shows. The massive backdrops used in “Seussical” were designed by Rick Eckhart with assistance from John Concillio. The costume committee, which had the task of costuming more than 50 performers, is co-chaired by Betsy Hillenbrand and Karen Coughlin. Laura Hafner and Kathy Butz took care to create all of the props used in the show.
The heads of the box office are Annette Englert and Shelly Hillpot, with Brenda McGuire, treasurer, keeping an eye on the finances. Toni Ann Dries and Marcy Shander ensure that the front-of-house ushers and concessions crews are prepared, as well as organize the backstage staff.
CAST is a community-oriented organization. At each of its productions, CAST takes up a collection for its Families Helping Families project, which goes toward local families in need.
Tickets can be ordered through the CAST website, cattytheatre.org, or by phone at 610-841-3747.