Seuss on the loose in Miles City

Curtain goes up on 'Seussical Jr.' this weekend

The audience is invited to dive into the wacky and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss when the Barn Players, Inc. present this year’s children’s musical, “Seussical Jr.” 

Performances, each celebrating reading and children’s author Dr. Seuss, are scheduled for the Custer County District High School auditorium tomorrow at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Join Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and other characters from the imagination of Dr. Seuss as they come together in the musical. The production features a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

“Seussical Jr.” is produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International (www.MTI shows.com). Tickets cost $8 and are available in advance through the Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce at 511 Pleasant St. or by texting or calling (406) 951-0560.

Seating reservations and accessibility accommodations will be honored, but play attendees are asked to make advance arrangements by calling the above cell phone number. 

“Seussical Jr.” is the youth version of the successful Broadway production, “Seussical the Musical.”

Featuring 58 local children, “Seussical Jr.” brings together favorite Dr. Seuss characters on stage in two hours of nonstop silliness.

“Seussical Jr.” is directed by the veteran Barn team of Dan Hance and Hannah Nash, assisted by Melissa Giddis and Katie Keith. 

Nash said that the Barn’s all-youth productions are put on by students under age 18. “This show has a fairly younger cast that most,” said Hance. “The oldest is a freshman in high school.”

The Barn, the oldest amateur theater group in Montana, has been providing live theater in Miles City and the surrounding area since 1950.

“Dan and I have directed many of the Barn’s youth plays together and each year the children’s work ethic is always solid,” said Nash, “Even when the faces change, we are always impressed. The children memorize their lines, we don’t help, we don’t follow along, we don’t prompt. They always rise to the challenge.”

“This production has a little bit more music than previous shows we’ve done,” said Hance. “The kids had a lot more songs to memorize.”

Cast member Isak Rice, who plays JoJo the Who, said he likes being in the play. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I had a little trouble learning lines. It’s just timing sometimes. Other than that it’s really easy.”

“I’m excited about the play. I’m very happy. I’m going to audition for more plays,” he added.

“A lot of the kids in these productions have gone on to do shows in college and even paid work, which is guild work,” said Nash.

“Director Hannah has added vignettes between act changes and we were thankful we had a librarian to put them together,” said Hance. “She knows her Seuss.”

“The CCDHS Art Club students created Seussian sculptures, which will be on display and will be auctioned off,” added Nash. Dee Sutter, the club’s adviser, is coordinating the auction.

Nash said much of the proceeds from Barn productions are deposited into a Building Fund.

“This money will eventually help fund a permanent home for our theater group as well as other community and artistic endeavors,” Nash said.

“‘Seussical Jr.” is a fun show for all ages,” Hance said, noting kids as well as adults will be familiar with the characters.