Andrea Martin, Marin Mazzie, Brian Stokes Mitchell and More Pay Tribute to Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's 30 Years of Collaboration

By Adam Hetrick
26 Sep 2013

Janine LaManna

Janine LaManna (Ragtime 1998Seussical 2000)

Kevin Chamberlin [Horton] plays piano, so during Seussical rehearsals they gave us the music for "Notice Me Horton" and we went to a rehearsal room just to have an early crack at it. They hadn't solidified the bridge to the song yet, and I have a kind of sensibility that leans toward Celine Dion, so when we got to the bridge that goes, "I was just a no one only yesterday," I felt like, "Oh yeah, there's a nice slow R&B groove here." Then Steve and Lynn came in, and we started to sing it, and Steve said, "No you're singing it in half time, it's a lot faster than that." But we ended up talking them into doing it the way we accidentally rehearsed it with that big beautiful bridge that kinds of slows down. So, kind of in our mucking it up, we stumbled into something really cool. [Laughs.]

I also want to say that Seussical may have had a troubled Broadway life, but it's now the most-produced kids show in the U.S. Kids gravitate to that material. It's so right for them. It's mature, but yet it's fantastical. The characters are relatable. They just did it with kids from the Newtown, CT-area, and the healing power of that show is incredible. And it's not just that situation, that energy happens everywhere Seussical is produced. You can only imagine what those of us who helped create it got out of it, but children get so much more. I go to see productions when I can, and it has really taken on a life of its own. I think that is a true testament to Lynn and Steve's magic. It's just innate in their personalities. They're such loving human beings and they're so giving, and that comes out in their writing. Who wouldn't love to sing their songs and play their characters? It makes your job easy as an actor.