Cat in the Hat ‘n’ friends

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Feathers fly and a cat in a hat sings and plays piano in the bright and sparkly “Seussical.”
New Albany High School is presenting the musical, which brings together beloved Dr. Seuss characters for one big production. From The Cat in the Hat to the Grinch to Mayzie LaBird to Horton, there’s a song for everybody.
“It has really very little dialogue,” said Sylvia Nanney, choral director. “There are that many songs and dances.”
The Cat in the Hat, played by McKinley Ranager, narrates the story of Horton, who discovers the Whos, and his adventures as he encounters many of the Seuss characters.
The songs are even Seuss-inspired, like “Oh the Things You Can Think,” “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Green Eggs and Ham.”
For Ranager, playing The Cat in the Hat is a a big job.
“I don’t think I ever leave the stage,” the senior said. “I have a lot of songs, and I have a lot of lines.”
There’s a lot of work and a lot of stories she juggles, but it’s also full of smiles.
“It’s awesome. It’s so much fun,” she said.
Matthew Darling plays JoJo, the “thinker of the story,” and he said he loves singing songs with Aaron Golden, who stars as Horton.
To play the role of Horton the elephant, Golden put in a few hours of study time.
“During Thanksgiving break I watched ‘Horton Hears a Who’ over and over and over,” he said, “and tried to learn through the actual character.”
One of his favorite scenes is the end: Horton sits on eggs that finally hatch, revealing two elephant birds, played by Nanney’s 1-year-old twin grandbabies.
Their costumes will surely make the audience say, “Awww,” but someone else with another bright costume is Lyndi Stokes as Gertrude McFuzz. Her blue sequined costume comes complete with a long feather tail.
Nanney said fans of music, Seuss or both will love “Seussical.”
“There are so many Seuss books in the musical,” she said, “and there’s music of every type in the whole production.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com