John Tartaglia Will Play Cat in the Hat for Youth Production of Seussical in Newtown, CT
By Adam Hetrick
Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia (Avenue Q) will star as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical — the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical based on the famed children's books by Dr. Seuss — which will feature 86 young performers from the Newtown area this August at the Newtown High School.
Michael Unger (assistant director of Broadway's Steel Pier and Buried Child) will direct the production that is offered Aug. 9, 10 and 11 in Newtown, CT.
Jeffrey Saver (music director of Broadway's End of the Rainbow) will be the musical director, and Tony Award-winning producer Van Dean (Cinderella, Porgy and Bess) will executive produce.
The trio previously collaborated on From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook, which raised funds for those affected by the December 2012 school shooting in Newtown.
"I am so excited to perform with these amazing kids," Tartaglia said in a statement. "Live theatre is a great way to help encourage healing and positive expression, as well as entertain and bring people together, and this is a perfect show to accomplish this."
Unger added, "In addition to John's incredibly impressive talents, his heart is about as large as they come. Neither we, nor Theodor Geisel - a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, could dream up a better person for this job. I am certain that John will make what already promises to be an unforgettable experience for the children and audiences of Newtown, that much more zany, fun, meaningful and filled with wonderment."
Jennifer Paulson Lee (City of Angels at Goodspeed, Annie Get Your Gun at Lincoln Center) will choreograph the production. Other theatre professionals will complete the creative team, and Seussical's Ahrens and Flaherty will visit some of the rehearsals and performances.
In addition to the student performers, Seussical — 1214 Foundation's inaugural production — will offer nearly 20 apprenticeship positions to junior and senior high school students in the fields of direction, choreography, musical direction, stage management, stage crew, lighting design, prop construction, costume design and construction, sound design and technical direction.
Newtown High School is located at 12 Berkshire Road in Newtown, CT. For more information, visit 1214Foundation.org/Seussical.
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