Cast of beloved characters

University Theatre’s 'Seussical' musical opens March 30

March 16, 2017

 UW-Stout’s production of the musical “Seussical” begins Thursday, March 30.

The stage of historic Harvey Hall Theatre at University of Wisconsin-Stout will come alive this spring with some of the beloved characters from the stories of Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss.

University Theatre presents its spring musical “Seussical” with performances Thursday-Saturday, March 30-April 1, and Friday-Saturday, April 7-8. All performances are at 7:30 p.m., along with a 1:30 matinee April 8. The final performances are part of Family Weekend at UW-Stout.

Tickets are $12, or $6 for children 11 and younger. They are available online and at the service desk in the Memorial Student Center, 715-232-1431.

“Seussical” features the main characters from such stories as “Horton Hears a Who!” “Cat in the Hat,” “Yertle the Turtle” and “Miss Gertrude McFuzz.”

The cast has 19 UW-Stout students, including Whoville resident JoJo, played by Nikolas Zeller, of Spring Valley; and Gus Johnson, of Grantsburg, as Horton the Elephant, who tries to protect the residents of Whoville who live on a speck of dust. Theo Linder, of Minneapolis, plays the Cat in the Hat and is the show’s host and emcee.

The musical roughly follows the plot of “Horton Hears a Who!”

Paul CalenbergAlong with the popular characters and fast-paced plot, University Theatre director and show choreographer Paul Calenberg chose “Seussical” because of its “wonderful” score, written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

They balance the big brash production numbers with lyrical songs of contemplation, a wonderful balance for the characters created by Dr. Seuss,” Calenberg said. “The cast is having a wonderful time inhabiting the characters and world of Seuss.”

“Seussical” premiered on Broadway in 2000 and closed in 2001 after 198 performances, followed by two U.S. tours and one in England.

Other student performers are:

  • Logan Bethke, of Middleton, Who
  • Jeremiah Bowe, of Eau Claire, Dance Captain
  • Lois Cassell, of Minneapolis, Sour Kangaroo
  • Riley Dunham, of Minneapolis, Bird
  • Jarena Everson, of South St. Paul, Minn., Who
  • Annika Jensen, of La Crosse, Bird
  • Sam Kilgard, of Plymouth, Minn., Yertle, Wickersham, Brother
  • Mitchell McGillis, of Chippewa Falls, Who
  • Kevin Pelzel, of Hudson, Wickersham Brother
  • Matthew Rhude, of Plymouth, Wickersham Brother
  • Leah Riddle, of Burnsville, Minn., Gertrude
  • Britta Sicora, of Minneapolis, Mayzee
  • Julia Simpson, of Champlin, Minn., Who
  • Ryan Vanden Boomen, of Green Bay, Mr. Mayor of Whoville
  • Natalia Vignieri, of Kenosha, Bird
  • Bria Weyker, of Random Lake, Mrs. Mayor of Whoville

Along with the student cast, three students are providing backstage support: Annalise Mark, of St. Paul, stage manager; Megan Grindeland, of St. Paul, assistant stage manager; and Corey Schoff, of Ripon, sound designer.

The technical director, overseeing scenic and lighting design, is Assistant Professor Jennifer Sansfacon. Barb Weisenberger, of Eau Claire, is costume designer. Michaela Gifford, of Menomonie, is music director. An orchestra of area musicians will be conducted by Jean Enyeart, of Menomonie.

Along with six performances open to the public, “Seussical” is scheduled to be performed for area schoolchildren as part of AIM — Arts Integration Menomonie. AIM is a grant-funded collaborative program with UW-Stout, the Menomonie school district and the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts. AIM’s mission is to integrate the arts into classrooms to support teachers, providing them with creative tools for instruction.



Top: UW-Stout’s production of the musical “Seussical” begins Thursday, March 30. The cast has 19 students.

Bottom: Paul Calenberg