Kids of ‘Seussical, Jr.’ dazzle

Horton hears a Who in Hollister

children actors in Granada theatre performance Seussical
THINGS 1 & 2 Famous characters from the imagination of Dr. Seuss descend on the Granada Theater in ‘Seussical, Jr.’ running through May 6. Photo: Robert Eliason

If Horton has ever heard a Who, it’s most definitely on the set of Seussical Jr., at San Benito Stage Company’s Granada Theatre.

Produced by Jenny Arbizu and directed by Mike Paddy, Dr. Seuss fans will be right at home as familiar characters take them on a musical journey through the faraway lands of Whoville and the Jungle of Nool.

A compilation of several Dr. Seuss books and narrated by the Cat in the Hat, audiences will travel alongside Horton the Elephant, who must protect the Whos of Whoville while making every effort to prove their existence to the Jungle of Nool all the while guarding an egg that’s been left in his care by the neglectful Mayzie La Bird. Theater goers will revisit the imagination of Dr. Seuss while adventuring into the Circus McGurkus and being warmed by the noble heart of Gertrude McFuzz, who offers unwavering support of Horton throughout his trials.

Though the shows producer has been performing with the Stage Company since 2009, this year is Arbiza’s first running productions and Seussical, Jr. is her fourth children’s production.

Arbiza’s own son Matthew, 11, has been acting in these shows since 2013 and Arbiza says she’s been watching these young actors change over the years.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see many of these kids grow in both maturity and talent,” says Arbiza. “I was blown away by some of their voices this year. Kids grow so rapidly, so I’m always amazed at their transformations between shows.”

Arbiza says she’s received rave reviews about the sets and costume designs by Lois Kincaid and Toni Smith.

“They are visionaries and miracle workers with every show they touch,” says Arbiza. “Shannon Thiessen is our lead muralist, who created these whole other worlds, Whoville and The Jungle of Nool. They are like paintings straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. The talent that our production team and crew brought to the show is phenomenal.”

If there is a single take away from the show it’s “adults can learn so much from the wise words of Horton, ‘A person’s a person no matter how small,’” says Arbiza. “No audience member will go untouched by Dr. Seuss’ message, as long as they’re willing to hear it.”

Performances run through May 6 at the Granada Theatre, 336 Fifth St. in Hollister. Tickets are available at Postal Graphics, online at brownpapertickets.com, and at the Granada box office door an hour before performances. For information, visit sanbenitostage.org.

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