Seussical the Musical at Blackburn this summer
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If you’re looking to see childhood stories told by Dr. Seuss such as “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Miss Gertrude McFuzz” come to life, turn your eyes to the Summer Repertory Theatre (SRT). The local theatre troupe will be producing “Seussical the Musical” on June 29 through July 2 and July 7 through 9. Director Reggie Guyton explained the behind the scenes process of putting on the show.
Guyton noted that this is his first time directing with the exception of his senior seminar. “Challenging doesn’t encompass what it’s been like. There’s a lot of joy in this position,” he said. He added that this has been a growing process for him, but he believes with time and planning that he would be interested in directing another production, even one as a large as this current show.
Guyton became involved with the SRT during his college years at Blackburn. His first show with the group was the 2010 performance of Beauty and the Beast where he played the Beast. “I’d credit that as one of the reasons I got into musical theatre,” he said. “And from there, I became part of the [SRT] family — community theatre does that.”
Putting on this year’s SRT show hasn’t come without its difficulties; they were initially planning to put on “The Little Mermaid.” Guyton elaborated that in order to do big name productions, rights have to be booked. However, if a national tour comes through, rights are rescinded. This was the case for “The Little Mermaid.”
However, Guyton expressed his excitement for “Seussical the Musical” and believes the message is timely in regards to current events. He said, “The show’s moral, which is repeated throughout it, is ‘a person is a person no matter how small.’ It reminds us that it can be easy to be ignorant of what others face, and we’re all connected in a way that isn’t always realized.”
Guyton said that production started at the end of April, and the cast would get together three to four times per week for a couple hours. The group would all share perspectives to help shape the show. “Each person brought organic and great ideas,” he said. The cast started in the low 70s, but due to some members having other commitments, the current team is composed of a little over 40 people.
Regarding the performers, Guyton exclaimed that they show him their growth every night. “They absolutely floor me,” he added. “I know it’s cliche, but I’m so proud. Everyone brings something different to the table, and there are so many reasons to love them.” He noted that he feels calm about opening night approaching because he trusts the cast to do it well.
Performances are June 29 through July 1 starting at 7:30 p.m., July 2 at 2 p.m., July 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m., and July 9 at 2 p.m. June 29 is “Pay What You Wish” at the door, which Guyton explained that it gives people the opportunity to donate. Otherwise, tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the Carlinville Public Library, CNB Bank & Trust, the Refuge Coffee House, online at http://www.blackburnsummerrep.org/ and at the door.
Guyton challenges the audience to find humanity in every character within the production and said to come to the show for three reasons: “One, be entertained. Two, it’s funny, quirky and different. Three, it’s really touching. I mean aside from the cute kids, the performance really is heartfelt.”
Dr. Seuss characters spring alive in Summer Repertory Theatre’s rendition of “Seussical the Musical.” Pictured from left to right are Tori Hartson, Lori Brown, Abby Twitchell, Riley Meredith, Emma Dowding and Kacianna Schmitt.