CCM's 150th anniversary season will include the Mainstage Series debut of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahren’s “Seussical.” 

The spirit of Dr. Seuss is guaranteed to be transported into the Patricia Corbett Theatre from Oct. 19-Oct. 29 as CCM opens their first MainStage musical of the season, “Seussical.”

Lynn Ahrens and CCM alumnus Stephen Flaherty composed the musical, which mainly follows the famous Dr. Seuss character Horton the Elephant as he tries to save a tiny village living on a speck of dust. However, audiences will recognize many other famous Seuss characters from his various books, such as “The Grinch,” “Yertle the Turtle” and many more.

When asked how he plans on transferring Dr. Seuss’ imaginative world to the stage, director Vince DeGeorge talks about the importance of the set.

“The set is strikingly distilled. There are really only three major set pieces in the entire show that are configured and reconfigured over and over again to create all of the many worlds that we visit throughout the production; it will be up to the audience to see what they see,” DeGeorge said. “I love this aspect of theatre. I love to encourage the audience to be an active part of the theatrical experience. It is what Seuss is all about and it is a driving force in our production.”

While Dr. Seuss’s books were wild with color and whimsical illustrations, he also encouraged his readers to have an active imagination and dive into his world.

As they head into the final bit of rehearsal and begin to tie in all the technical and performance elements, musical theatre student Emily Royer, who plays Gertrude McFuzz in the upcoming production, shares her excitement.

“I am so excited to put the whole show together,” Royer said. “Our cast has worked so hard and we are so ready to add the other technical elements. The set and costumes are incredible and I can’t wait to add everything.”

Gertrude McFuzz is a bird with a one-feathered tail who is “beak over feet” in love with Horton, and spends much of the show trying to get him to notice her through various acts of love and desperation.

Royer said playing out the antics between these two characters in songs was one of the most enjoyable parts of putting on the show.

“I love performing ‘Notice Me Horton,’” Royer said. “Gertrude loves Horton so much that the thing she wants most in the world is for him to simply see her, and that comes to light during this song. The lyrics are so sweet and easy to connect to.”

The score, as Royer said, is very sweet, relatable and incredibly witty.

“Seussical is almost completely [told through song],” Royer said. “There are small patches of dialogue here and there but for the most part the incredible music of Stephen Flaherty and the super smart lyrics of Lynn Arenas supports and drives this entire production.”

DeGeorge said this is an event that will be very well received by audiences.

“I’m excited for [the] audience to experience CCM’s ‘Seussical.’ It is like no other I have ever seen,” DeGeorge said. “Our goal with our production was [to] embody the spirit of Seuss without imitating the look of the illustrations.”

Don’t be the “Biggest Blame Fool in the Jungle of Nool” and come see this Seussified adventure as it swings into the Patricia Corbett Theater from Oct. 19-Oct. 29.


Anne Simendinger has been with The News Record since 2017 as a staff reporter, digital producer, and life and arts editor. She is the Cincinnati senior editor for BroadwayWorld and the Scripps Howard Communication Intern for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.