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For this school, the action is 'Seussical'

In Dr. Seuss's magical world, anything is possible.

And this weekend, St. Michael the Archangel students in Streator are going to show audiences how true that is as they get ready to present "Seussical," the school's sixth production in as many years.

The cast and crew began tech week Monday, with the cast introduced to the sets for the first time.

"Up until today, they've been practicing and rehearsing in an empty gym with very few props if any," said director Darcy Mollo. "All of a sudden, we bring them in and they see the set. They just come together with excitement. It's delightful to watch them."

The set will look familiar to Dr. Seuss fans. St. Michael art teacher Kim Nettleingham, along with Mollo and assistant director Nancy Sedlacko, designed the sets.

"My source was Dr. Seuss books and I've got all the books at home, so whenever I need to look at trees or whatever, I pull them out," said Nettleingham. "I love the Dr. Seuss sets. It's just like making a giant coloring book and whenever you can use bright colors its fun."

This year's cast is the largest yet — 63 first through eighth grade St. Michael and CCD students. That's not all, though.

"We have student helpers in back," Nettleingham said. "Other kids who are nervous to act get involved behind the scenes, so the whole school helps out."

Some lead performers include Cooper Spears as the Cat in the Hat; Andrew Vogel as JoJo; Nick Yanek as Horton; Clair Vogel as Gertrude and Paul Durdan as The General.

"I think what stands out is the kids' voices," Mollo said. "We have been watching some of our kids develop their voices since the first musical we did six years ago. We are really enjoying being able to showcase their voices. We have some real talent at our school."

Mollo directed "Seussical Jr." four years ago at Community Players of Streator. This year, the musical version seemed the perfect answer to what the directors and cast were looking for.

"We have a really good group of boys interested in being in a musical, but they don't want to do "princess" stuff so we spent some time looking for something they would be interested in," Mollo said. "It's just a really fun show that everyone can participate and no one has to worry about a princess theme."

While Mollo has been at the helm since the school began producing shows, she gives credit to the team that makes it all possible, including voice coaches, Sedlacko, choreographer Jill Marconi and costume designer Maria York. In addition, there are numerous volunteers that work the lighting and music and manage the sets.

"Maria does our costumes every year," Mollo shared. "All the bird girl dresses were dresses being eliminated from the racks at Engle Lane. They were all former prom dresses that were at the time cute but were not anymore. All the girls were horrified. When Maria brought them out it was fun to see the girls faces and how excited they were to wear them. It was so cute to see that transformation. Maria is amazing."

In previous years, the school offered a dinner on Saturday night, but has eliminated that option this year. Instead, concessions will be available, and will play off Dr. Seuss's books.

Show times are 7 p.m., Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 25. Intermission will be extended by 10 to 15 minutes.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $8 for children and free for kids ages 5 and under. They are available online at stmichael-streator.org, or in the school or parish office.

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