Following the short-lived, lavish and large-cast production on Broadway, the show was revised by authors Lynn Ahrens (lyrics and book) and Stephen Flaherty (music and book). They created a leaner, smaller-cast, 80-minute experience that has spread like kudzu throughout regional theatres, community theatres and schools in recent years. (A Broadway cast album also preserves the earlier score.)
The new cast album boasts the players of the 2007 Theatreworks/USA production seen on tour and Off-Broadway. The single CD was expected to be released in late 2008. No reason for the delay was given.
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," Flaherty previously told Playbill.com.
The recording is 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 are all in the JAY catalog, as is Flaherty and Frank Galati's Loving Repeating.
This new Seussical recording features 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."
Original Broadway orchestrations are by Doug Besterman. For the new disc, music direction is by W. Brent Sawyer, who also adapted the orchestrations, conducted and created vocal arrangements.
Here's the track listing:
1. OVERTURE Orchestra, JoJo
2. OH, THE THINKS YOU CAN THINK! Cat In The Hat, JoJo and Company
3. HORTON HEARS A WHO Cat In The Hat, Horton, JoJo, Bird Girls and Citizens of the Jungle
4. BIGGEST BLAME FOOL Sour Kangaroo, Young Kangaroo, Wickersham Brothers, Bird Girls, Gertrude, Mayzie, Horton, JoJo, Cat In The Hat and Company
5. THE WICKERSHAMS DEPART/GERTRUDE'S FIFTEENTH OF MAY Citizens of the Jungle, Wickersham Brothers, Gertrude, Mr. Mayor, Cat In The Hat and JoJo
6. HERE ON WHO Horton, Mayor, Mrs. Mayor, JoJo and Citizens of Who
7. HOW TO RAISE A CHILD Mr. Mayor, Mrs. Mayor and JoJo
8. OH, THE THINKS YOU CAN THINK! (REPRISE) JoJo and Cat In The Hat
9. IT'S POSSIBLE (MCELLIGOT'S POOL) JoJo, Cat In The Hat, Fish and Company
10. ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE Horton and JoJo
11. THE ONE FEATHER TALE OF MISS GERTRUDE MCFUZZ Gertrude
12. AMAYZING MAYZIE Mayzie, Gertrude and Bird Girls
13. AMAYZING GERTRUDE Gertrude, Doctor Dake and Nurses
14. MONKEY AROUND JoJo, Wickersham Brothers and Horton
15. CHASING THE WHOS Horton, Sour Kangaroo, Bird Girls, Cat In The Hat, Wickersham Brothers, Vlad Vladikoff and Whos
16. NOTICE ME, HORTON Horton, Gertrude and Mayzie
17. HOW LUCKY YOU ARE Mayzie, Cat In The Hat and Horton
18. HORTON SITS ON THE EGG Bird Girls, Horton and Gertrude
19. EGG, NEST AND TREE/THE AUCTION AT SEUSSEBY'S Sour Kangaroo, Hunters, Bird Girls, Auctioneer and Company
20. SOLD/MAYZIE IN PALM BEACH (HOW LUCKY YOU ARE REPRISE) Horton, Mayzie and Cabana
21. MAYZIE AT THE CIRCUS Circus Barker, Mayzie and Horton
22. AMAYZING Horton and Mayzie
23. ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE (REPRISE) Horton
24. SOLLA SOLLEW Horton, Circus Animals, Who Family and Company
25. GERTRUDE'S RETURN! Gertrude and Horton
26. ALL FOR YOU Gertrude, Horton, Dr. Dake and Nurses
27. THE WHO'S RETURN Gertrude, Horton, JoJo, Who Family, Wickershams and Sour Kangaroo
28. THE PEOPLE VS. HORTON The Elephant Marshal, Judge Yertle, Horton, Who Family, Sour Kangaroo, Wickershams, Bird Girls and Cat In The Hat
29. YOPP! Horton, Gertrude, Sour Kangaroo, Young Kangaroo and Cat In The Hat
30. ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE (Second Reprise) Horton, Cat In The Hat , Gertrude and JoJo
31. FINALE: Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! Company
32. CURTAIN CALL: Green Eggs & Ham and Company
33. GO HOME!: EXIT MUSIC Orchestra
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 (a 2010 Tony nominee for staging Ragtime) directed and choreographed.
Critics and industry folk did a double take when the revised Seussical made a return to New York 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.
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.