Seussical the Musical – Cast and Production List

seussical4.gifWe had our opening night for Seussical the Musical last night. It was absolutely fantastic. Over sixty kids on stage and a twenty piece orchestra. I had previously been told I would not be able to coordinate that many children musically with such a large orchestra. But we’ve done it, and done it well.

A BIG thank you to Kyle Blevins our sound designer. He is an excellent audio tech and has done an outstanding job fulfilling the demanding requirements of the show.

Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Co-Conceived by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle
Based on the works of Dr. Seuss
November 3 thru 12, 2006
McIntyre Hall, Mount Vernon


Producer – Kate Kypuros
Directors – Dave and Carrie James
Vocal Director and Conductor – Conrad Askland
Choreographer – Skye Dahlstrom
Stage Director – Ryn Bishop
Sound Design – Kyle Blevins
Set Designer – Elizabeth Stam
Lighting Design – Don Willcuts
Lead Costume Designer – Kathryn Gildnes
Bird Costume Designer – Mary Jo Henning
Cat and Kangaroo Costumes – Maura Marlin
Assistant to the Directors – Jen Spence
Assistant to the Producer – Susan Arthur
Parent Volunteer Coordinator – Justine Sanders
Photography by Sergei Petrov and Greg Sanders
Set Building – Aviathar Pemberton, Sergei Petrov, Leo Kypuros, Jeff Whidden
Set Crew – Rob Bonner, Paul Thelan, Nate Young, Robin Miller, Spenser Demarais
Scenic Painters – Elizabeth Stam and Sergie Petrov
Make-up Direction – Janae Moorehouse
Make-up – Stephania Kay
Fly Crew – Dave Mumford and Spencer Desmarais
Spot – Paul Thelan
Deck Crew – Suzann McLamb, Robin Miller, Amanda McDaniel
Props Creation – Holly Bunnell, Justine Sanders, Annie Bratun
Props Mistress – Annie Bratun
Graphics – Kristin Jensen
Bookstore and Lobby Kiosks – Deborah Cleave-Trepus


Conductor – Conrad Askland
Keyboard 2 – Brianne Weaver
Keyboard 3 – Lauren Lippens
Keyboard 4 – Ruth Haines
Keyboard 5 – Kathryn Kahn
Trumpet I – Cindy Luna
Trumpet II – Bryan Frank
Trombone – Paul Brower
Alto Sax – Kyle McInnis
Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet – Michelle Hanna
Baritone Sax, Oboe, Clarinet – Rebecca Wright
Flute, Piccolo – Alicia Jackson
Violin I – Luke Hansen
Violin II – Louise Cheney
Cello – Sharon Sparling
Harp – Christy Swartz
Bass Guitar – Peter Bridgman
Drums – David Bridgman
Percussion – Oscar De La Rosa
Conductor’s Assistant – Andrew Teijan


(In Order of Appearance)

Jojo – Ireland Woods
Cat in the Hat – Mike Marlin
Horton the Elephant – Matt Olsen
Gertrude – Bianca Campbell
Mayzie – Ashley Henning
The Sour Kangaroo – Falon Calderon

Lynette Cole
Zoey Kypuros
Corinn Holberg
McKenzie Willis
Mary Witt
Savanna Woods


Michael Giles
Karina Grech
Jessiejo Huizinga
Trevor Hansen
Tiffany Richardson

Yertle the Turtle – Sam Mitchell
Vlad Vladikoff – Kaylah Golub
Mayor – Nate Young
Mrs. Mayor – Paige Woods
General Genghis Khan Schmitz – Mike Krugel
The Grinch – Jayme Craig


Katie Arthur
Jackson Dillard
Elle England
Olivia Pedroza
Brittany Schmidt
Mariah Schmidt
Robert Summers
Selena Tibert
Nathaniel Voth


Adele Clark
Brooke Desper
Seth Laurence
Whitney Lindquist
Jahldi Merritt
Tatum Sprouse
Zoe Whidden


Sarah Bamba
Courtney Bunnell
Blakelee Clay-McBee
Drew Erlandson
Devon Fair
Chamidae Ford
Makenzie Fox
Bailey Hodges
Emma Johnson
Katie Keck
Kiara Landi
Magdalena McGuire
Elena Olfke
Susie Pollino
Lauren Riley
Paris Sanders
Summer Sanders
Nicole Trepus
Angela Uptain
Miranda Uptain
Jensen Weynands-Mains
Emily Watilo

The Floyd and Delores Jones Foundation

Seussical the Musical presented by
META Performing Arts
through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI)

Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church
Sewer’s Dream
Skagit Valley Performing Arts Council
Elfa Gisla
Copy This, Mail That
Village Theatre
Cascade Pizza
The Lincoln Theatre
Kelly Pollino
Joan Landi
Diane Giles
Rob Bonner

Not that long ago, children were taught to read using books that were dry, dull and devoid of any attempt to entertain the brand-new readers at whom they were aimed. But in 1936, while returning from Europe on a steam ship, Theodore Geisel had an idea for a book about a young child who dreams up an increasingly wacky story about his adventures walking home from school.

The words in the book were written while Geisel listened to the rhythm of the ship’s steam engines, and thus followed their meter. Publisher after publisher told him that such a book could never be printed, people wouldn’t accept it, and that Geisel should forget about writing stories for children.

He didn’t forget about it. When the 29th publisher finally agreed to print “And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street”, literature changed forever. Although few people know about a children’s book writer named Mr. Geisel, his middle name is known in every American household: SEUSS!

While Seussical the Musical may have had a rocky road to Broadway (Rosie O’Donnell is probably not America’s greatest thespian), the first time we saw it performed, we were blown away by the message about the awesomeness of imagination taught to us by Jojo. Our hearts melted at the love story between Horton and Gertrude. We cheered for the Whos as they tried to save their tiny planet, and we left the theater singing our favorite songs from the show!

After such a fantastic experience, it was a no-brainer to choose this as META’s fall musical. We have had such an amazing time working with these talented actors and actresses. Conrad has taught us “volumes” about music, and Skye has taken the cast’s dancing skills to new levels.

Our sincerest thanks go to our cast and crew for their hard work and dedication. They made our work enjoyable, and our rehearsals fun.

Carrie and Dave – The Directors

Sound Effects for Seussical the Musical

images1.jpgUPDATE 02/07 – Free Download of Seussical Sound FX

Here’s a list of sound effects I prepared for Seussical the Musical. Most are called for in the score. Some of them are timed with the music so I prefer to have myself or one of the musicians trigger audio fx for the show.

I use Kontakt by Native Instruments which is a virtual keyboard for computer. I load my sounds into a laptop and program my sound effects across the keyboard – usually layered in sequence for when they occur in the show. Preproduction of audio effects is done on ProTools, where I have full control of high end delays, reverbs and panning. I run sound effects stereo and make sure the sound team is processing my sounds in stereo. I think it’s important to clarify whether you have a stereo setup available at your performance, because it will change how you pre-process your show sounds and foley.

Subtle sound effects add another subliminal layer of depth for any show presentation, so I encourage you to take the time to create them to the best of your ability. Having the actors do the fx like is “ok”, but take the time to make it super-duper cool.


Slide Whistle (you’ll get better samples than performing this live)

YOPP! (Jojo’s yell in Act II – I process multi-tap delay with panning, so it “calls across the universe”)

Elephant Call

Egg Hatching


Water Splash (For the Cat’s sneeze onto the Planet of Who, my own twisted addition)

ACT II Entracte – Overture clangs and bangs

Thunderstorm (To add to ACT II melodrama string music)

Bird Chirp

Animal Grunts (For intro of Monkey Around, listen to CD)

Dog Bark “woof”

Who is Dr. Seuss?

postal_service_dr_seuss.jpgWho is Dr. Seuss?

Visit the Wikipedia Dr. Seuss page.

Visit the Dr. Seuss National Memorial.

Visit Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons.

Visit The Political Dr. Seuss.


Dr. Seuss’s Biography

seuss.gifA person’s a person, no matter how small,” Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. “Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.”

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of kids learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” which became a popular expression.

Geisel developed the idea for his first children’s book in 1936 while on a vacation cruise. The rhythm of the ship’s engine drove the cadence to And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

During World War II, Geisel joined the Army and was sent to Hollywood where he wrote documentaries for the military. During this time, he also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which won him an Oscar.

The Cat in the Hat is born

catinthehat.gifIn May of 1954, Life published a report on illiteracy among schoolchildren, suggesting that children were having trouble reading because their books were boring. This problem inspired Geisel’s publisher, prompting him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important for children to learn. The publisher asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and use them to write an entertaining children’s book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 220 of the words given to him, published The Cat in the Hat, which brought instant success.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Geisel authored and illustrated 44 children’s books. His enchanting stories are available as audiocassettes, animated television specials, and videos.

While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.



Before Theodore Seuss Geisel found fame as a children’s book author, the primary outlet for his creative efforts was magazines. His first steady job after he left Oxford was as a cartoonist for Judge, a New York City publication. In 1927 one of these cartoons opened the way to a more profitable career, as well as greater public exposure, as an advertising illustrator. This fortuitous cartoon depicts a medieval knight in his bed, facing a dragon who had invaded his room, and lamenting, “Darn it all, another dragon. And just after I’d sprayed the whole castle with Flit” (a well-known brand of bug spray).

According to an anecdote in Judith and Neil Morgan’s book Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel (Random House, 1995), the wife of the ad executive who handled the Standard Oil company’s account saw the cartoon. At her urging, her husband hired the artist, thereby inaugurating a 17-year campaign of ads whose recurring plea, “Quick, Henry, the Flit!,” became a common catchphrase. These ads, along with those for several other companies, supported the Geisels throughout the Great Depression and the nascent period of his writing career.

The Dr. Seuss Collection, housed at the Mandeville Special Collections Library at the University of California, San Diego, contains many examples of Dr. Seuss’s advertising artwork. The library has scanned a selection of these advertisements for greater access. Besides promoting the Standard Oil companies Flit and Esso, Dr. Seuss’s creations have hawked such diverse goods as ball bearings, radio promotional spots, beer, and sugar.

Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons from WWII Era


Parody of Lindbergh around 1941

Dr. Seuss’ widow now wears the hat for booming empire

grinchpre.jpgMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, The, Feb 27, 2004 by MICHELLE MORGANTE

San Diego — Near the end of his life, Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel sat down with his wife, Audrey, to speak of the past and of things to come.

” ‘I’ve had a wonderful life,’ ” Audrey Stone Geisel recalls him saying. ” ‘I’ve done what I had to do. I lived where I wished to live. I had love. I had everything.’

” ‘But,’ he said, ‘now my work will be turned over to you. And you will have to deal with those consequences.’

“And oh-ho,” says the 82-year-old heiress of the Seuss world, “has that been true!”

Nearly 13 years after her husband’s death, Geisel leads the global enterprise that has sprouted from Seuss’ beloved books — watching over the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch and all the other critters and characters who live on in movies, toys, games and ventures that perhaps not even the imaginative doctor could have envisioned.

Ted Geisel came into the world on March 2, 1904, when children learned from dull primers. In 1937, Geisel had just suffered his 27th rejection for his first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” when he bumped into a friend who worked for Vanguard Press.

“Ted told him that he’d been refused all of these times and he was going home to burn it,” Audrey Geisel says.

The encounter, of course, led to publication. The book created a stir among teachers and parents who feared it would encourage children to lie.

“It was so off the wall,” she says. “They even thought, ‘Oh, it might teach a child to fib,’ instead of imagine, you see?”

The book became a hit, and over the years, Dr. Seuss became one of the most popular children’s authors ever. He published 44 children’s books in more than 20 languages, and one non-children’s book, “The Seven Lady Godivas,” which was not a hit. More than 500 million Dr. Seuss books have been sold worldwide.

Death to Dick and Jane

Dr. Seuss has often been credited with killing off “Dick and Jane,” the sterile heroes of childhood readers of yore.

“With Dick and Jane, there was never much of a story there,” said Barbara Parker of the National Education Association, whose annual “Read Across America” event culminates on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of Ted Geisel’s birth.

Dr. Seuss’ books, however, appealed to children — and adults — with their clever rhymes and plot twists.

“In ‘The Cat in the Hat,’ for example — kids really, really like that because they’re expecting the boy and the girl to get in trouble when the mother gets home, but suddenly it’s the cat to the rescue,” Parker said.

Philip Nel, a Kansas State English professor and author of the new book “Dr. Seuss: American Icon,” says Seuss’ heroes are rebels and underdogs.

“They go against the grain. They don’t do what they’re expected to do,” he said. As in “The Cat in the Hat,” Nel said, “Why not fly a kite in the house?”

Part of Seuss’ charm is his ability to make the ordinary into the extraordinary.

“Ham and eggs is just ordinary, but if you turn it around so that it’s eggs and ham, that’s interesting. And then if you make it green, there’s real genius,” Nel said.

One year celebration

Audrey Geisel is presiding over a year’s worth of ceremonies celebrating “Seussentennial: A Century of Imagination.”

The events include the debut of a Postal Service stamp; a tour of theatrical performances and children’s workshops across 40 cities; a series of Dr. Seuss celebrity book reviews; exhibits of items from the Dr. Seuss archives and of Ted Geisel’s art; the unveiling of a Dr. Seuss sculpture at the Geisel Library at the University of California at San Diego; and the presentation of a star honoring the author on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

As she gazes toward the Pacific from her hilltop home, Audrey Geisel says she understood the weight of the job immediately upon inheriting it, but was surprised by how it steadily grew heavier.

“And then suddenly, I had so much to do each day,” she says, describing business responsibilities as well as her philanthropic work as head of the Dr. Seuss Foundation. “But I’ve complicated my own life to a degree, and I don’t deserve much sympathy.”

Geisel is a disciplined and opinionated leader, whose mission is largely to protect the integrity of her husband’s creations.

Geisel, a former nurse, holds court early each morning at a nearby hotel restaurant, arriving in her faithful 1984 Cadillac with the personalized license plate: GRINCH.

“I come down the street and no one has seen anything like it,” she says with a laugh.

Guardian of integrity

grinch8.jpgAs president and CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Geisel is tough on those encroaching on Seuss trademarks and copyrights. And when she wanted to have the local Old Globe Theater produce “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” years ago, she went to New York to free the miserly character from a production that later evolved into the musical “Seussical.”

Seussical the Musical – Set and Costume Photos

seussicalprogram.jpgHere are pictures from community theatre and professional productions of Seussical the Musical. You can use them as reference to get your creativity in flow for creating your own production. These are NOT photos of the show I am conducting for META Perfoming Arts. As of this posting we haven’t opened yet, I’ll have pictures of our production posted later. Of course, I consider our production to be the ULTIMATE STM presentation. 🙂

Visit my general Seussical the Musical category here on my blog for lots of notes on set design, orchestration and musicians, costumes, etc.

Also on this post are pictures of Seussical the Musical flyers, different costume approaches to the Cat in the Hat, Who costumes, JoJo outfits, Who’s hair and costume design, various scene set designs, Horton and Sour Kangaroo costumes and whole set photos.

See detailed Seussical Set Construction from the Spring High School Website

Samples of flyers for Seussical the Musical.






Different looks and costumes for the Cat In The Hat. Some people like using makeup, some don’t.









Various character and stage set photos of Seussical the Musical

































Seussical the Musical – Orchestra and Musician Notes

Here’s music info for those producing Seussical the Musical. You might find these tips and tricks useful if you are a musical director, conductor, musician in Seussical the Musical – or if you are working with pit orchestras for musical theater productions. I think you’ll find many items here you can apply to many different stage musicals. My first involement with Seussical was for META Performing Arts in Skagit County, WA. Our performance run was November 3-12, 2006 at McIntyre Hall, Mount Vernon, WA.

If you’re working on music for Seussical the Musical, you already know it’s a LOT of music. The longest wait between songs is about 30 seconds. The Conductor/Piano 1 score runs over 400 pages – most musicals I’ve worked on run under 200 pages. You’ve got your work cut out for you. The music is not extremely difficult, but it has a lot of textures needed to pull off the orchestration. I think the orchestration is very good, and the charts are very clean. As conductor you will notice many errors between the conductor’s score and musician scores. Double check all your numbered repeats, fermatas and pauses – they are marked erratically from score to score. I thought I had caught most of them, but in rehearsals realized I had only caught about half the errors. There are also a small number of note errors, listen carefully to your musicians to catch them. (I should have kept better notes so I could post a listing of the errors to fix).

Here are the major problems I identified with producing the music for Seussical, and notes on how I worked around them.

1) How do you fill out the orchestra for a local production?
2) Will the show work with 5 or 6 musicians?
3) How do you find woodwind players that can each double on 4-5 instruments?
4) How do you get a professional stringe ensemble sound – without using cheezy keyboard patches or investing in a full string section?
5) How do you teach four part harmonies to grade school children, and have them remember the enormous amount of music in this show?
6) If using kids, how do you get the Wickershams to sound hip – the score is written for males who’s voice has already changed.
7) What’s more important for the Cat In The Hat – vocal ability or acting ability?
8) What to look for vocally in the different groups of Bird Girls, Who’s, Wickershams, Jungle Animals and lead characters of Mayzie, Gertrude, Sour Kangaroo, Horton the Elephant, JoJo and the General.
9) Assming you are using a majority of children in your cast, how can they project over the orchestra?

Answers to questions:

1) How do you fill out the orchestra for a local production?
I really think you need to pony up and fill out the orchestration as much as possible. Seussical is all about imagination and the different textures you orchestra brings to the show is part of pulling off that environment. I want to hear Disney, I want to hear Fantasia – that’s not going to happen with a five piece group. It will sound ok, but not inspiring. For me, I’d rather not do it unless it’s going to be ultra cool. If you’re using five or six players, then these notes won’t help you – this is about producing Seussical in a semi-pro environment (which can also mean community theater that works really, really hard!)

2) Will the show work with 5 or 6 musicians?
“Work”, yes – something I’d want to work on? No. Get donors, beg borrow and plead, get that orchestra filled out. I was fortunate to get a single donor to underwrite the entire orchestra. They were given prominent mention in the program.

3) How do you find woodwind players that can each double on 4-5 instruments?
You can’t – assuming you do not have a budget to hire session players (which really, only session or union players are going to be able to pull off all those doubles professionally) and are not near a major city with access to players like this. So split your woodwinds into as many parts as you need to cover the three parts. I found that you can skip the following parts, which are VERY small parts once the others are covered: You can cut bassoon, Flute II, clarinet II. I had players for these parts, but the parts were so small they declined to play. If you can get people for those parts great, but you probably won’t miss them.

Here is the instrumentation that Seussical the Musical calls for:

Bass Electric Bass
Drums Kit, Woodblock, Piccolo Snare, Cowbell, Timbale, Shaker, Bell Tree, Flexitone, Mark Tree, Triangle
Guitar 1 Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar
Guitar 2 Acoutic Guitar, Banjo, Electric Guitar
Keyboard 1 (Breathy-bell Synth, Pno+Perc.E.P., Cowbell + Calliope, Pno/Rhodes, Pop Piano, Piano, Elec. Pno, Calliope, Kazoo, Cheap-sounding Piano, metal Clav, MetalClav + Calliope, Poly Synth, Stackoid, Tack Piano, Glittery Synth, Buzzy Xylo, Mysterious E.P., Sweet E.P., XyloGlock, Voices, Theremin, Shimmery Stuff, Many Flutes, Rock Piano, Clarinet)

Keyboard 2 (Breathy Pad, Bell Synth, Harpsichord, B-3, Cricket Synth, Elephant, Orch Hit, “Doing”, Psycho Strings, Tinkly Voices, Door Slam, Kalimba, Mallet Synth, Bell/Harpsi Synth, Pedal, Log Synth, Percussive B-3, Rok B-3, Calliope, Reedy Synth, Hank-y Synth, Nose Flute, Kazoo, Birdie Whistle, Tiny Synth Voice, Horn, Pig Synth, Animal Brss, Many Tubas, Bird Honk, Bird Fart, Hard Bottle Blow, AirRaid Siren, Spooky E.P., Warm E.P., Warm Voices, Celesta, Ethereal Choir, Spooky Voices, Dark Choir, Glittery Bell Synth, D-50 Stack, 80s Pad, Breathy Bell, Toy Piano, Cathedral Organ, Squishy Bass, Small Pipe Organ, Marimba, D-50 Heaven, Mello Organ, Rock Synth, Metal Clav, Hooty Synth, Clock Sound, Icy-cold Synth, Accordian, Ravenborg, Roller Rink Organ, Kazoo Brass, Cimbalum, Funky Horn, Pizzicato Strings, Sitar, Many Trombones & Horns, Buzz Brass)

Percussion (Crotales, Chimes, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Congas, Tympani, Djembe, Siren Whistle, Shaker, Vibraslap, Tambourine, Bell Tree, Triangle, Finger Cymbals, Piatti, Sleigh Bells, Vibraphone, Suspended Cymbal, Mark Tree, Cork Pop, Temple Blocks, Samba Whistle, Ratchet, Bongos, Cowbell, Scraper, Rainstick, Marimba)

Reed 1 Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Piccolo
Reed 2 Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Oboe, Tenor Saxphone
Reed 3 Baritone Saxophone, Bassoon, Clarinet, Flute
Trumpet 1
Trumpet 2
Violin 1
Violin 2


Here’s how I covered that orchestration:

(1) Electric Bass
(1) Cello
(1) Drums Kit, Woodblock, Piccolo Snare, Cowbell, Timbale, Shaker, Bell Tree, Flexitone, Mark Tree, Triangle (Your drummer will need a cowbell)

(1) Guitar 1 Acoustic Guitar and Electric Guitar
Guitar 2 – CUT
(1) Keyboard 1 – Piano and Hammond B3 (covered by conductor, you could also have a “piano player” cover Key I)

(1) Keyboard 2 – Reduced patches to: Electric Piano (one aggressive, one mellow) , B3 rock, B3 mellow, Heaven Pad, Bell Synth, Calliope, Reed Synth (oboe-ish sound), Theremin (whistle with portamento), CyberBorg (dance synth patch), Spooky Voices, Tick Tock (from drumset sound bank),

(1) Percussion – Keyboard 3 covers these mallet percussion parts from the percussion score: Chimes, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Tympani, Vibraphone, Marimaba)
(1) Percussion – Live percussion player covering conga, djembe and latin percussion parts.
(1) Reed 1 – Flute, Piccolo
(1) Reed 2 – Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
(1) Reed 3 – Baritone Saxophone, Oboe (Oboe from Reed 2 part, BariSax has priority in uptempo songs, oboe has priority in ballads)
(1) Reed 4 – Alto Saxophone (From Reed 2 score)
CUT WOODWINDS if not available: Soprano Saxophone, Bassoon, Clarinet II, Flute II

(1) Trombone
(1) Trumpet 1
(1) Trumpet 2
Viola – CUT if not available.
(2) Violin 1 – Combine real violin player with Keyboard 4 (Keyboard player playing Violin I part, will need to select patches that blend with live players and Violin II part)
(2) Violin 2 – Combine real violin player with Keyboard 5 (Keyboard player playing Violine II part)


4) How do you get a professional stringe ensemble sound – without using cheezy keyboard patches or investing in a full string section?

By combing quality keyboard string samples with live players. The live players will provide the attack and bend that you need in the sound, the keyboard covers the fullness of the sound. I have seen Seussical performed live with a full string section (three players per part) but it still did not have the nice full sound of symphony strings. My experience has been it is very difficult to pull that sound off within budget and the pool of players available.

5) How do you teach four part harmonies to grade school children, and have them remember the enormous amount of music in this show?

When we had auditions, we were very careful to check for singers that could sing harmonies, and grouped them accordingly to different character types. I have the more advanced singers cover the harmony parts, and the younger singers cover the melodies. In some sections where harmonies only come in on a couple notes, I simplified into two part harmonies and eliminated some harmonies. This was dictated by our particular casting, but I would guess this to be a similiar situation for most all-kid productions.

To learn all the music parts we broke into groups at rehearsals, many times having four different rehearsals running simultaneously. Singers were often brought in before rehearsals to work on particular ensemble parts and to reaffirm harmonies.

Once harmonies were in place, I would omit the lead line and play harmony parts to make them more solid for singers.

6) If using kids, how do you get the Wickershams to sound hip – the score is written for males who’s voice has already changed.

I changed the octaves of some parts, and had Wickershams speak some of the low parts. They are just too low for young unchanged voices. We did with attitude, and the final result was very hip.
7) What’s more important for the Cat In The Hat – vocal ability or acting ability?

I think acting ability is more important. Many of the Cat in the Hat vocal lines can be performed as speech-sing.

8) What to look for vocally in the different groups of Bird Girls, Who’s, Wickershams, Jungle Animals and lead characters of Mayzie, Gertrude, Sour Kangaroo, Horton the Elephant, JoJo and the General.

I put trained vocals in the Who section, they need a very pure sound with strong harmonies. Also worked with Who’s a lot on over-enunciation to make their parts more animated. Bird Girls – need to have 3part harmonies, we used 6 bird girls so each voice doubled. Without the harmonies, the Bird Girl part doesn’t come across, needs a “Supremes” type sound. General can also be speech-sing style. Need a strong vocalist for both Mayzie and Sour Kangaroo – I don’t really see a way around this, especially the Kangaroo. Horton’s part covers such a wide range, I think you’ll find speaking some lines instead of singing will work better for this character too (for a younger voice). I have Horton under-sing a lot, seems more in character.

9) Assming you are using a majority of children in your cast, how can they project over the orchestra?
Picking our sound crew was our first priority. Field mics for different vocal ensembles and dedicated wireless mics for leads and supporting characters. We also put the orchestra behind the cast so the sound crew would have more control over the final volumes – the particular hall we were in has a very live orchestra pit that is hard to control. Also, because I use several keyboardists to cover parts, it’s important to have a sound crew with a good ear so they can mix the textures properly.

Hope that helps, if you have any questions on the show or see a way something could have been improved, please post it.

Seussical Orchestra – Costume Ideas

Seussical Orchestra musicians, here are costume ideas. We will be onstage behind the main set and will all be visible from the waist up.


1) Drums/Bass – you have the ok from the directors to wear red if you want to get the THING costumes.
2) Musicians please stay away from red accents as those are cat colors.

Here is the official list of color accents you can use along with black and white – these are “gem” colors:


One of our directors modeling her Seuss style outfit….mmmm…..or is it Minnie Mouse?


3) The black and white scarf you see in Carrie’s photo is available at Wal-Mart for $3. Any and all musicians can use this as an accent.

4) All musicians should wear dark shoes. The Balcony WILL see all of you! No white shoes, legs must be covered. Dark pants or skirts, striped socks, tights are very cool. Also avoid wearing “shine” – we don’t want to blind the audience.

For example: Conductor will be wearing a tux with the tails pointing outward and up, a big Seuss style bow tie and on different nights an Einstein wig, a Shako (marching band hat) and/or this hat here:


Men – Suspenders, Fidora Hats, Ties and Bow Ties (oversized are fun), big buttons, skinny scarfs, big flowers pinned to shirts, stripe socks. Fun colored wigs are ok!
Women – Tights (stripe or bright solid), leg warmers, earrings welcome, solid beads (not too shiny), scarves, stripey skinny scarfs, women’s flat hats (20’s to 30’s style), goofy fake flower corsages.

Women (and men) feel free to have fun with your hair. Wacky wired braids, big buns, pig tails, spikey hair, etc. If you’re not sure how to do this, Carrie James (director) will help you! Dark shoes or boots, belts welcome, hair scrunchies, big hair bows welcome. Fun colored wigs are OK!

Here are some drawings Carrie James came up with for us. Please note: COLORED WIGS ARE OK! This was decided at our last orchestra rehearsal and ok’d by directors.



My New Hammond Organ – 328322 Commodore with Leslie

dsc01121.jpgWell, new to me. I am so jazzed. A local organ repairman told me several months ago he’d keep an eye out for an organ for me. I told him I wanted a Hammond with B3 style drawbars and at least a two octave pedal board. He called this morning and SHABAM, here it is.

This is a Hammon 328322 Commodore. It has a two octave pedal board, real Leslie speaker built in, string section, rhythm and all the accompanying cheezeball effects. I told him I’ll never use the other stuff, just the leslie and drawbars and he said that’s typical of “real organists” and “purists”. So I guess I’m a “real organist” and a “purist” by that definition.

I’m conducting Seussical the Musical in November and I was going to cover the B3 organ parts on my Korg CX-3, which is a Hammond B3 and Leslie clone digital keyboard. But the repairman said he’d haul this organ up to the performing arts center, so I might just break it in onstage for that show. Too cool.

My friend Herb has been making fun of me for YEARS because he has a B3 with a Leslie and doesn’t even play keyboards. He’s been rubbing it in mercilessly. So Herb, if you’re reading this, and I know you are, I am hot on your trail buddy – getting closer to that B3………

And if someone is reading this and has a B3 or tons of money, I have an idea……why don’t you send me a Hammond B3. Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.







American Idol Film Crew at McIntyre Hall

dsc01115.jpgThe American Idol film crew arrived at McIntyre Hall today (Mount Vernon, WA) to shoot footage of new contestant Skye Dahlstrom rehearsing with the kids from the upcoming Seussical The Musical show. Skye showed them choreography for songs from the show and taught them very hip dance moves.

Skye made it through the first round of auditions in Seattle, WA early this week; competing with over 9,000 other hopeful contestants I’m told. She then made it through the second round the following day. Her next round will be to audition for Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.. We all wish her the best and to “break a leg” at the audition. GO SKYE!

As you can imagine there’s a lot of buzz about this locally and the news has spread like wildfire. Skye is a total pro and made everyone feel totally comfortable while supporting her for the film shoot.

And much to our pleasure, the film crew from American Idol was TOTALLY cool and ultra nice to work with. You might think being in this business they would be a bit jaded, but that is not the case. They made the kids feel comfortable and everyone gave them a big THANK YOU yell at the end. Nice people.

Why the interest in Skye’s choreography? That’s how Paula Abdul started, as a choreographer.

So here’s a rundown of our shoot. Of course I’m not going to tell you details about what we did, you’ll have to watch Skye on American Idol to see that!

We did the shoot on stage at McIntyre Hall, which is where we’ll be performing for Seussical the Musical in November 2006.


Parents sign all the legal stuff for their kids to be in the shoot.


Director Dave James does the ultra cool pose while waiting. Dave James is co-directing Seussical the Musical with his wife Carrie James. Skye Dahlstrom is the choreographer and I am the conductor and musical director. The show is produced by Kate Kyporus for META Performing Arts.

Kids hang out in the lobby at McIntyre Hall waiting to enter the theatre.


All lined up at the door and waiting to enter the hall. Many of the kids hadn’t seen McIntyre Hall yet, so it was very exciting all around for them.


The view of the stage from the front of the audience. McIntyre Hall also has beautiful box seats along the sides, a full balcony section and rear loge.

The view from my piano onstage. I played the music for the kids to practice Skye’s choreography. Very fun stuff.

Directors Carrie and Dave give instructions to the kids about stage etiquette and safety.


Steve Craig, stage manager at McIntyre Hall and all around theatre guru. Everybody loves Steve!


Our reason for being here today – Skye Dahlstrom!


Film crew scouting the stage out


Skye working with the “Who’s” on choreography

American Idol film crew talking things over with the directors and Ms. Dahlstrom.

The kids in the cast give Skye a big send off.

Dave James, Carrie James, Skye Dahlstrom and me (Conrad Askland)


I’ll let you know more as more information is made public. I’m only going to post things that are public knowledge.

Until then – GO SKYE!!!!!!!

Seussical the Musical META Rehearsals

Everyone asks me how Seussical rehearsals are going. The rehearsals are going fantastic. The kids are very focused. We have most of the music for the first act down pretty good and are adding choreography and character development.

I am SO happy about the casting, I think the show is perfectly cast.

Here are some pictures from rehearsals:

Kids practice improvised theatre


Director Dave James hams it up


Bianca Campbell as Gertrude


Bird girls practice choreography with Mayzie played by Ashley Henning

Skye Dahlstrom gives choreography tips


Mike Marlin plays the Cat in the Hat


Nate Young plays the Mayor


Paige Woods as Mrs. Mayor


Matt Olsen as Horton the Elephant


Carrie James leads the board meeting


Carrie James co-directs the show with husband Dave James


Skye Dahlstrom showing the citizens of Whoville some choreography