Rehearsals have begun for the Dempsey Middle School spring production of “Seussical the Musical Jr.”
The show will premiere April 23 at Willis Education Center and will feature a cast of dozens of Dempsey students in an adaptation of the hit Broadway musical.
Students started working on the show Monday afternoon under the direction of Pam Beery, who said she selected the musical because it gives lots of opportunities for students and is able to be performed on the stage at Willis.
“It has a lot of parts,” Beery said. “It’s also a stationary show because we can’t do set changes.”
Beery said fans of Dr. Seuss’ work will find a lot to like in the show.
“It’s an amalgamation of several books,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together. It has a lot of great dances and songs.”
One of the stars of the show is Henry English, an eighth grader and Dempsey theater veteran. English will play Horton, the elephant who discovers that an entire community of tiny creatures called “Whos” live on a speck of dust. Horton then spends the entirety of “Horton Hears A Who” attempting to convince everyone else so he can protect the Whos from harm.
English said he’s played lots of roles in shows at Dempsey, but this is his first lead role.
“I’m really excited,” English said. “I’ve never had a lead. It’s just really exciting, because what a better way to go out of your middle school drama career than a lead role. I really just wanted to be in every show that I could. I thought it would be fun, because they’ve all been fun.”
English said he’s excited to start working on the show.
“I’m really looking forward to having a good time and putting on a great show,” English said. “I’m going to practice a lot, because I have a lot more lines and a lot more songs. For ‘Frozen’ I had 13 lines. Now I have 60. It’s quite a large jump.”
English said he’s looking forward to studying at Hayes High School next year, and audiences will “definitely” see him in Hayes productions.
Eighth grader Elhum Bouziri will be playing another lead in the show, Gertrude, an elephant who admires Horton and helps him protect the residents of Whoville. Bouziri said she’s not stressed about playing the character and is looking forward to her last show as a Dempsey student.
“I’m not worried at all,” Bouziri said. “Since like fifth grade I’ve been doing these shows. It’s like a family, and I saw a chance to get a lead role and I’m really excited about that. It’s just really fun.”
Bouziri said she’s looking forward to singing her solo songs in the show.
Brianna Mason, a seventh grader, plays a “sour kangaroo” who makes fun of Horton throughout the show.
“(I’m excited) to just be a villain,” Mason said. “I just really like musicals, and I thought the part was really cool.”
Beery said the show will be performed at Willis on the evenings of April 23-24 and the afternoon of April 25.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.