Sunday, June 03, 2001

'Seussical' will take charms on road

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For once the Broadway season had as many original musicals as revivals, although several of them closed in May.

        Some of them, like dark and dreamy Jane Eyre and nondescript The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, likely will never be heard from again.

        Watch for the unfairly maligned Seussical to have a touring life, very probably with Cathy Rigby. She went down with the show a few weeks ago as a leaping, tumbling, ingratiating Cat in the Hat.

        Because Seussical became the show everybody loved to hate, the charming score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Once on This Island) didn't win a deserved Tony nomination.

        Seussical's crayon colors and elementary storytelling will appeal more to kids than their parents. The $85 top ticket price on Broadway was unforgivable.

        But with tickets costing less on the road, Seussical should find a happy life as an engaging family show.

        The downside is that it plays ideally in a smaller theater where young audience members are up close and personal with the characters onstage. It played on Broadway in the intimate Richard Rodgers Theater, where all the seats, even in the steep balcony, seem almost within touching distance of the stage.

        Seussical's slight but real charms are going to get lost in the expanse of the Aronoff's Procter & Gamble Hall. Order tickets in the first 10 rows of the orchestra, and you'll have a jolly time.


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