Seussical TYA
"Oh, the thinks you can think" when Dr. Seuss' best-loved characters collide and cavort in an unforgettable musical caper! (One-Act Version)
Show Essentials
12
Roles
G
Rated
1
Act

Full Synopsis

A strange and fantastic red-and-white-striped top hat appears on an empty stage, full of possibilities. A Boy enters and is drawn toward the magical hat. The Cat in the Hat suddenly materializes! "You've got quite a mind for your age," quips the Cat as he/she begins singing about the power of imagination ("Oh the Thinks You Can Think"). Throughout the song, famous characters are introduced who will figure in the musical: Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz (the bird with the one feather tail), the Whos of Whoville (including the Mayor and his Wife), Mayzie La Bird, the Sour Kangaroo and the Citizens of the Jungle of Nool. The Boy and the Cat use their imaginations to transport everyone to the Jungle of Nool as the adventures begin.

Horton is splashing in a pool when he hears a distant cry for help. ("Horton Hears a Who"). He follows the sound to a tiny speck of dust floating through the air and realizes that there are people living here, so small they can't be seen – the tiny citizens of Whoville. Horton vows to help them and places Whoville safely onto a soft clover just as Sour Kangaroo and her baby arrive. The Sour Kangaroo thinks Horton is crazy for talking to a speck of dust and she and the rest of the Jungle Citizens mock him for his delusions. ("Biggest Blame Fool"). The rascally Wickersham Brothers – a cool group of bad-boy monkeys – join in the fun of teasing Horton. The Cat in the Hat weaves through the number, taking on the persona of a talk show host who interviews everyone in the jungle, including Mayzie La Bird and her backup group of Bird Girls. The one person who stands up for Horton is his neighbor, Gertrude McFuzz, who is not noticed by anyone, least of all Horton.

As Horton is left alone with his inhabited clover, the Cat, who is always around, throws the Boy into the story – he becomes Jojo, son to the Mr. Mayor and Mrs. Mayor of Whoville. Horton discovers much more about the Whos and their tiny town of Whoville ("Here on Who"). Mr. and Mrs. Mayor are both very unhappy with Jojo because his "Thinks" have gotten him into trouble at school. ("How to Raise a Child") They tell him to take his bath and go to bed, but the Cat has another idea, ("Oh, the Thinks You Can Think – Reprise") and Jojo's imagination gets the better of him. His bathtub becomes McEligott's Pool, full of fantastical fish ("It's Possible")! The fun is interrupted when Mr. and Mrs. Mayor rush in because Jojo has flooded the house with bathwater.

Horton sits alone, guarding the clover ("Alone in the Universe"). Horton and Jojo hear each other and become friends when they realize their imaginations are so much alike – "one true friend in the universe who believes in me."

In another part of the jungle, Gertrude has just written her 427th love song about Horton ("The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz"). She believes Horton doesn't notice her because of her small and uninteresting tail. Mayzie appears with her Bird Girls, and offers advice ("Amayzing Mayzie"), which leads Gertrude to Doctor Dake (played by the Cat in the Hat) and his pills for "amayzing" feathers. After taking too many pills, Gertrude is very happy as her tail begins to grow ("Amayzing Gertrude").

The Wickersham Brothers are up to no good ("Monkey Around"). They decide to steal the clover with Whoville on it. They ambush Horton, grab the clover, and "Chasing the Whos" begins as the monkeys tease Horton and he huffs and puffs after them all over the Jungle of Nool. The Cat in the Hat plays a helicopter newscaster tracking the chase. The Wickershams eventually hand off the clover to "a black-bottomed eagle named Vlad Vladikoff," who flies off with the clover and drops it directly onto an enormous field of clover.

Horton begins looking for the Whos, clover by clover by clover. Gertrude has followed the chase and arrives with her new, incredibly long and unwieldy tail, determined to tell Horton how she truly feels ("Notice Me, Horton"). But Horton is oblivious, looking for the Whos. Gertrude leaves, rejected and sad.

Mayzie La Bird calls to Horton from her nest in a tree. She's bored to death, ("How Lucky You Are – Reprise") and convinces Horton to sit on the nest for her while she takes a brief vacation ("Horton Sits on the Egg").

Seasons pass, and Horton is still stuck, sitting on the egg. The Whos are still lost in the clover, and Gertrude still cannot get Horton to notice her and her new long tail. Hunters suddenly arrive, capture Horton and the egg and take him away. ("Egg, Nest and Tree"). After a long, arduous trip, Horton arrives in New York, where he is auctioned off to the circus. The "Seusseby's auctioneer" is played by the Cat, and allows the audience to bid on Horton.

The traveling circus lands in Palm Beach, where we find Mayzie under a palm tree, bemoaning the monotony of vacationing ("Mayzie in Palm Beach"). She decides that she needs a change of scenery and heads to the circus, where she runs into Horton. He begs her to take back her egg., but Mayzie decides Horton would be a better parent for her egg than she could ever be ("Amayzing Horton"), so she gives him the egg for good and leaves before he can say no. Horton accepts the responsibility of caring for the egg ("Alone in the Universe – Reprise"), even though he worries about Jojo and the Whos. He sings the egg a lullaby ("Solla Sollew") that is echoed by Jojo and Mr. and Mrs. Mayor.

Gertrude finds Horton asleep in his cage. She has managed to get rid of her unwieldy tail and has journeyed great distances and through much peril ("All for You") to find and rescue him. At the end of her number, she mentions one more thing – she also has found the Whos' clover! Horton finally notices that Gertrude is amazing.

But, just as Horton finds the Whos again, the Sour Kangaroo and the Wickersham Brothers show up and make a citizen's arrest. They take Horton back to the Jungle of Nool, where he is put on trial "for talking to a speck and sitting on an egg." The trial begins ("The People versus Horton the Elephant") and Judge Yertle the Turtle sentences Horton to the Nool Asylum for the Criminally Insane. The speck of dust is ordered to be boiled in oil. Horton trumpets his protest and tells the Whos they must yell to be heard. They have to prove they exist, and there's no time to lose!

The Whos scream and make as much noise as they can, but still only Horton can hear them. Suddenly, Jojo comes up with a Think: a new word to shout that will be heard by everyone--YOPP! At the last minute, all the animals of Nool hear Jojo's cry and Whoville is saved. Just then, the egg begins to crack – all gather around as the new baby emerges – and they are astonished to see that it's... an Elephant Bird! Horton looks to Gertrude for help, realizing that she is his "one true friend in the universe," and she agrees: "You teach him earth and I will teach him sky."

As the show ends and all are united, the Cat hints that many more adventures are likely to occur "if you open your mind, oh, the thinks you will find" ("Oh, the Thinks You Can Think – Reprise"). All the characters vanish, leaving The Boy alone onstage with the red-and-white-striped hat, the embodiment of his imagination. As he puts it on, it falls over his eyes, putting the stage into BLACKOUT!

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

The Cat In The Hat
The essence of mischief, fun and imagination. The Cat stirs things up, causes trouble, but always sets things right again, helping JoJo to discover the power of his imagination as they create the story for the show together. Look for a physically adept actor (male or female) to play the Cat, one who will be able to play many comic cameos (Dr. Dake, helicopter reporter, TV interviewer, auctioneer, Mr. McGurkus, etc.) and is comfortable improvising with an audience.
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: F2
Jojo/the Boy
Jojo is a "Thinker"--a smart child with a wild imagination. He can be played as being a little bit awkward, a little bit of a loner, or simply a rambunctious kid whose 'Thinks' get him into constant trouble. By the end of the show, he learns what it means to be a responsible member of his world, using the power and possibilities of his own 'Thinks.'
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: Ab3
Horton The Elephant
Gentle, rotund and appealing. Think of him as a big-hearted blue collar guy who is steadfast and responsible and always tries to do the right thing for his friends. He is imaginative and receptive to the world around him. He is very un-self-conscious. Horton's view of the world never changes--he believes in its goodness. But by the end of the show, without even realizing it, he is ready to become a parent.
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Gertrude Mcfuzz
Very self-conscious and aware that her one-feather tail isn't perfect. Gertrude changes during the show from a vain, neurotic, nervous and shy bird into one with the power to protect and care for a baby elephant bird and commit herself to Horton. In other words, she stops worrying about her looks and grows up doing what she wants. But Mayzie isn't all bad. In giving up her egg to Horton once and for all, she has a moment of generosity--she realizes she isn't the kind of person who'd be a good parent, and she does the best thing she can do for the egg.
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Mayzie Labird
Self-centered, selfish and vain, Mayzie will never admit to her own flaws. She manipulates anyone she can (especially Horton) into doing what she wants. But Mayzie isn't all bad. In giving up her egg to Horton once and for all, she has a moment of generosity--she realizes she isn't the kind of person who'd be a good parent, and she does the best thing she can do for the egg.
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Sour Kangaroo
She isn't really sour at all. She's just got a lot of attitude. She's loud, brassy and a lot of fun.
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: F#3
The Wickersham Brothers
These are not bad guys! They're simply a lot like kids who tease, play pranks and get a kick out of making mischief, although often at others' expense. They enjoy hanging around with one another, making music together on the street corner, and playing off one another. Encourage each of your actors to find his own Wickersham persona.
The Whos
They're a lot like you and me only so small as to be invisible. Don't think of them as cute midgets or weird little aliens. They should be played for inherent humanity. Encourage everyone playing a Who to try and create his or her own, unique character.
Jungle Creatures
No matter how these actors are costumed, please ask each one to create a distinct human persona. They are real people at heart, just like us, even though they may be described as animal characters. We discourage masks and literal "animal costumes." Be imaginative. Be Wild. Be simple.
The Bird Girls
They are like the popular girls in any school--a clique of pretty, self-centered "back up birds" who do whatever Mayzie does.
Mr. Mayor
Mr. and Mrs. Mayor are parents trying hard to raise a difficult child in a difficult world. They may get aggravated with Jojo, but they love him dearly and try to do the right thing, even if it turns out to be a mistake.
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: D3
Mrs. Mayor
Mr. and Mrs. Mayor are parents trying hard to raise a difficult child in a difficult world. They may get aggravated with Jojo, but they love him dearly and try to do the right thing, even if it turns out to be a mistake.
Vocal range top: A4
Vocal range bottom: A3
Ensemble
Circus Performers, Whos, Jungle Citizens, Etc.
Full Song List
Seussical TYA: Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!
Seussical TYA: Horton Hears a Who
Seussical TYA: Biggest Blame Fool
Seussical TYA: Here on Who
Seussical TYA: How to Raise a Child
Seussical TYA: It's Possible
Seussical TYA: Alone in the Universe
Seussical TYA: The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz/Amayzing Mayzie
Seussical TYA: Monkey Around/Chasing the Whos
Seussical TYA: Notice Me, Horton
Seussical TYA: How Lucky You Are
Seussical TYA: Mayzie's Exit/Horton Sits on the Egg/Dilemma/Hunters
Seussical TYA: Egg, Nest, and Tree
Seussical TYA: Sold/Mayzie in Palm Beach
Seussical TYA: Alone in the Universe (Reprise)
Seussical TYA: Solla Solew
Seussical TYA: All for You
Seussical TYA: The Whos Return/The People Versus Horton the Elephant (Pt. 1)
Seussical TYA: Alone in the Universe (Reprise)
Seussical TYA: Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! (Finale)
Seussical TYA: Green Eggs and Ham (Finale Bows)

Show History

Inspiration


Seussical is an amalgamation of stories by Theodore Seuss Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss). His 46 children's book are staples in the world of American children's literature and the cultural impact of these stories has been profound since he began writing in the 1930s. Prior to Seussical, Dr. Seuss work had been adapted for both television and film, in some cases by Geisel himself. Seussical is primarily based on the Dr. Seuss stories, "Horton Hears a Who," "Horton Hatches an Egg" and "The One-Feathered Tail of Gertrude McFuzz," although it incorporates many references to other Dr. Seuss stories.

Productions


After shaky beginnings, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens' Seussical began its journey with a two-week reading of the show in New York. This reading was followed by a month-long workshop in Toronto in the summer of 1999. At that initial workshop, there were no costumes or scenery and only minimal props. Yet, the effect was magical. As Ahrens wrote "The strength of the workshop was its simplicity, its rough-around-the-edges charm, its intimacy." The invited audiences loved the presentation, and Seussical was immediately dubbed Broadway's "next big hit."

But, some complications happened on the way to New York, and by the time the show opened on Broadway in 2000, it had been turned into a big, splashy production that was quite different from what had worked so well in the initial workshop. The show played at the Richard Rodgers Theater for six months, where audiences loved it. Ultimately, however, Seussical did not realize its potential, primarily because it was not the show the authors had envisioned. When the show closed on May 20, 2001, it was an emotional night for the actors and writers who believed so strongly in the essential material.

When producer, Ken Gentry, decided to produce a national tour, the authors welcomed the opportunity to revisit their work. They made small changes in the book and score, allowing Jojo to become more of a force in the storytelling. Most importantly, they sought to pare down the physical aspects of the production, advocating a "less is more" approach. The reviews for that tour were overwhelmingly positive. A second national tour was launched in 2003, bringing the joys of Seussical to an even wider audience.

When the amateur rights to the show were released in 2004, hundreds of schools and community theatres jumped at the chance to produce it.

Cultural Influence

  • A big, splashy Broadway production was not the right context for Seussical The Musical. When the authors retooled the show for the National Tour to make a more pared down, easier to produce version, it was a success. Inspired by this tailoring of the show, two additional versions of Seussical, Seussical JR. and Seussical TYA, specifically for young audiences and performers were created from the original.
  • Seussical ranks among the top-three most licensed properties in MTI's catalog, with three versions now available.
  • Despite its short Broadway run, Seussical earned a lot of attention as the first Broadway show following Flaherty and Ahrens success with Ragtime. It was featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the cast featured celebrity replacements such as Rosie O'Donnell and teen singing sensation, Aaron Carter.

Trivia

  • Ahrens and Flaherty were invited to write Seussical immediately after their show, Ragtime, had a triumphant opening on Broadway. The producer of that show, Garth Drabinsky, had secured the musical rights to Dr. Seuss' most famous stories. But, before the authors had even finished their first draft, Livent, Drabinsky's production company, was unexpectedly plunged into bankruptcy.

Critical Reaction

"The Cat in the Hat rules!" 
– The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal

"Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens have provided a number of catchy songs... which are performed by a very good cast."
– Talking Broadway

"Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens have crafted wonderful songs for the show."
– Theatremania

Connect

Billing

Based on the works of Dr. Seuss,

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
SEUSSICAL
Music by STEPHEN FLAHERTY
Lyrics by LYNN AHRENS
Book by LYNN AHRENS and STEPHEN FLAHERTY 

Co-Conceived by LYNN AHRENS, STEPHEN FLAHERTY, and ERIC IDLE
Based on the Works of DR. SEUSS
 
*Billing Credit for Program Only:
"Seussical for Young Audiences premiered at
The Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, MO; Jeff Church, artistic director."
 
*All uses of the word "Seussical" in print materials and advertising shall be accompanied by the trademark symbol "TM" after the final "L" in Seussical
*No merchandising rights related to the Play or Dr.Seuss are granted to you.
*The granting of this license to you to perform the Play is not to be construed as the right to utilize Dr.Seuss figures to advertise this Play in any print materials related to the Play, except as part of any logo supplied by MTI.
*This license does not permit SEUSSICAL to be presented at any theme park or amusement park venue, except those owned by Universal Studios Recreation Group. Such presentation constitutes a breach of this performance license and results in its immediate and automatic termination.

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate license to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your program. ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase the separate license for video recording, you must print the following in your program. The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK15
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT CD (STD)1
PIANO VOCAL SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON-10/CS
HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON? - SGLPIECE
LOGO PACK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
SCENIC PROJECTIONS-ANIMATED
SCENIC PROJECTIONS-STILL
VIDEO LICENSE

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASS
CELLO
DRUMS
GUITAR
GUITAR 2
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSION
REED 1ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
REED 2BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , OBOE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 3BARITONE SAXOPHONE , BASSOON , CLARINET , FLUTE
TROMBONE
TRUMPET
TRUMPET 2
VIOLA
VIOLIN
VIOLIN 2

ALTERNATE ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
ALT: BASS
ALT: CELLO
ALT: DRUMS
ALT: GUITAR 1
ALT: GUITAR 2
ALT: KEYBOARD 1
ALT: KEYBOARD 2
ALT: PERCUSSION
ALT: PV
ALT: REED 1 ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
ALT: REED 2 BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , OBOE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
ALT: REED 3 BARITONE SAXOPHONE , BASSOON , CLARINET , FLUTE
ALT: TROMBONE
ALT: TRUMPET 1
ALT: TRUMPET 2
ALT: VIOLA
ALT: VIOLIN 1
ALT: VIOLIN 2