Jessie Chan as Jojo (left) and Lauren Trotzuk as the Cat in the Hat in the FVGSS company show “Seussical, the Musical,” staged at White Rock’s Playhouse from April 25 to May 5. (submitted photo)

MINTY: With much music, lively ‘Seussical’ will please all ages during short run in White Rock

Also on stage, ‘Present Laughter’ a sophisticated comedy that captures the Art Deco era

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any way you choose.”

So says Dr. Seuss, and here is my follow-up: Get your brain in gear, slap on some shoes and steer yourself to Seussical, the Musical presented by FVGSS, a Musical Theatre Society. You too can hear a Who.

Catch the Cat in the Hat (Lauren Trotzuke) and Horton (Kaden Bugart) plus all of your favourite Dr. Seuss characters, including Yertle the Turtle (Vanessa Siemens), JoJo (Jesse Chan), Gertrude McFuzz (Emma Watson) and Mayzie LaBird (Sydney Mason).

This fast-paced, lively musical has a short run at The Playhouse (formerly Coast Capital Playhouse) in White Rock from April 25 to May 5. Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. and matinee performances are at 2:30 p.m. Visit fvgss.org for ticket information and get your tickets now. Like, NOW. It’s a no-brainer. You really do not want to miss Circus McGurkas do you? Absolutely every age group will love this show. Green Eggs and Ham are optional.

FVGSS has an influx of new talent, and the younger generation (adult age) are taking over the helm. First-time director Brad Dewar is no stranger to the stage. Didn’t you just love his Shadow in Peter Pan the Panto? Although Brad has not directed a musical before, he has directed martial arts presentations and he is a fourth-degree black-belt in taekwondo. No wonder he can do all those tricks on stage.

This society does not just throw a newbie into the deep end. Mentoring and help can always be found for this community theatre group. Barbie Warwick, past president, has done her share of directing a musical, and is Brad’s official mentor. Mike Balser is the artistic director for the society, and he can be found at many rehearsals, grinning from ear to ear. Mike decided (along with the rest of the board of directors) to move the society in a new direction and rotate the traditional fare of Gilbert & Sullivan operettas with musicals. This year, the musical is a “kids” musical.

“We are an unusual society, in that all the members of the board of directors are actively involved in the production,” says Mike (who really can’t stop grinning). That is active participation and a good team-builder. For these productions – where you participate for the love of it – you need a strong, dedicated team because there is no paycheck to motive you. Just thought you all should know that.

Tim Tucker is once again the music man. This is a real challenge, musically, because there is so much of it. “The show is about 85 per cent music,” Tim tells me. He also is grinning. “It seem like there are only about three minutes during Act I when I am not playing.” There’s no time for page-turning for the music, but this is the digital age and Mr. Music has it all on an iPad and he just taps a foot control to change the page of the digitally displayed music.

So, there are challenges. Even in the beginning, there were challenges. Seems the scripts and music were sent to Vancouver, Washington, by mistake. Seriously people. Well, at least the scripts didn’t get sent to Surrey, England. Ah well. All is well now. I have my tickets already and can’t wait to hear the Whos in Whoville. Oh yes, there is a Grinch, too.

Seussical loads into White Rock’s Playhouse at the conclusion of White Rock Players’ current production, Present Laughter. This Noel Coward play, directed by Susanne De Pencier, is a sophisticated comedy that totally captures the Art Deco era.

Dann Wilhelm is totally brilliant as matinee idol-actor-playboy Garry Essendine. He is plagued with problems – not all of his own making, but there is only so much his longtime efficient secretary Monica (Michelle Collier) can manage. This is a great cast and they all give a great performance. For me, I appreciated all the details in costuming (Chelsea Brown and Laura McKenzie) and set design and decoration (Andrea Olund). Amazing shoes! Loved it.

Present Laughter runs at the Playhouse until April 20, tickets at 604-536-7535 or online at the Players’ website. Like I said, this is a sophisticated comedy designed for the “smart set” of 1940s London. This is just a look at a different era, which we may not understand today. Then again, some things never change, just different shoes are worn.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. Email: melminty@telus.net.

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