It's Possible! Revised Seussical Will Get New Cast Recording

News   It's Possible! Revised Seussical Will Get New Cast Recording Who's in a New York City recording studio on June 9? Exactly! JAY Records will preserve the revised score of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's musical Seussical for a cast album that will boast the players of the 2007 Theatreworks/USA production seen on tour and Off-Broadway.

Shorey Walker as The Cat in the Hat in Theatreworks/USA's Seussical.
Shorey Walker as The Cat in the Hat in Theatreworks/USA's Seussical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Composer Flaherty told Playbill.com that JAY will take the troupers into a studio June 9. The single CD is expected to be released later this year.

The 75-minute disc will present the entire new version of the show, "with quite a bit of new continuity material, lyrics and some new scenes not heard on the original Broadway cast recording," the composer said.

The recording will be produced by John Yap and Ahrens and Flaherty. Yap has a history of committing the scores of lyricist Ahrens and Flaherty to disc — Dessa Rose, the London Once On This Island, Lincoln Center's A Man of No Importance and The Glorious Ones (coming this summer) are all in the JAY catalog, as is Flaherty and Frank Galati's Loving Repeating.

This new Seussical recording features the 2007 Theatreworks/USA cast: Brian Michael Hoffman as Horton the Elephant, Shorey Walker as The Cat in the Hat, Karen Weinberg as Gertrude McFuzz, Ebony Marshall as Sour Kangaroo, Michael Wartella as JoJo, and Kelly Felthous as Mayzie La Bird. Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Amelia Morgan-Rothschild and Ellen Zolezzi play the Bird Girls, and Willie Lee-Williams, Ben Tostado and Josh Walden are the Wickersham Brothers.

Seussical, which borrows characters and situations from the works of kid lit master Theodore Geisl (Dr. Seuss), opened at Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre in November 2000, and played 34 previews and 198 regular performances. The opening-night cast included Kevin Chamberlin (who was Tony Award-nominated for playing Horton the Elephant), Janine LaManna, Michele Pawk and David Shiner. The property, maligned by some critics in 2000, has since become one of the most-produced titles in American theatre.

Flaherty told Playbill.com, "This version of the show, which has been especially successful in 'Theatre for Young Audience' venues like Chicago Shakespeare and the Coterie in Kansas City, where it was first produced, is now a one- act, clocking in at about 75 minutes."

He said the show still features many — "most, actually" — of the Broadway songs "but has been much more tightly focused."

He explained, "Several subplots have been eliminated — [including] General Genghis Kahn Schmitz and the Butter Battle, the Whos' Christmas pageant with the Grinch, the 'Havin' a Hunch' sequence. Also the relationship of JoJo and the Cat in the Hat has been somewhat expanded and the Cat is much more omni-present. He (or she, in this case — our Cat is the actress Shorey Walker) really guides us (and JoJo) through the entire evening."

Decca Broadway released the original Broadway cast album in 2001. Now, fans of the Tony Award-winning songwriters will get a fresh listen to the antic pop score that had kids cheering and parents choked up when its tour culminated in a run at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in Greenwich Village, as part of Theatreworks/USA's annual Free Summer Theatre Program. Marcia Milgrom Dodge directed and choreographed.

Critics and industry folk did a double take when the revised Seussical made a return seven years after not recouping its Broadway investment. The new production was nominated as Best Revival by both the Lucille Lortel and Drama League Awards.

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Theatreworks/USA is one of America's major not-for-profit professional theatre for family audiences. Visit www.TheatreworksUSA.org for more information.

For more information about JAY Records, visit www.jayrecords.com.