With Horton Hears A Who on the big screen it seemed the perfect time to look at a live action Horton, along with other Dr. Seuss characters, that populated the 2000-01 musical Seussical the Musical. Among the show’s creators were Monty Python’s Eric Idle and along with Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, they created a rich re-telling of Seuss stories.
Horton was the primary focus, but there was also material from The Cat in the Hat (the Cat was actually the narrator), Butter Battle Book, a touch of Grinch plus others. The music and lyrics were done by Ahrens and Flaherty, hot off their 1999 Tony for Ragtime’s score (not to mention the Tony nominated Once on this Island) and combined snappy Seuss word combination, but also their own knack for writing a good show tune.
The show was a delight, but it was fraught with trouble dating back to it’s pre-Broadway tryouts where the critics ravaged it. It went through re-writes, re-stagings, show doctors and a lot of bad press and it didn’t stop once the show opened. It survived from November 2000 to May 2001, closing after it only got one Tony Award nomination (for Kevin Chamberlin, who played Horton). There was a rotating cast as well that tried to boost the production, including Rosie O’Donnell and Cathy Rigby who had stints as the Cat in the Hat.
I saw the show three times during its run. I found it to be a wonderful time with the solid score (I have several tracks on my iPod) and great performance by Chamberlin.
Here’s a visit to the Jungle of Nool, courtesy of the 2000 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Enjoy!