A musical that was a little like a visit to the circus, a wacky adventure and a fantasy story with cosmic overtones — all rolled into one — was previewed Thursday at the University of Oklahoma.
“Seussical the Musical” was also a little bit like a rollercoaster ride, performed in less than 90 minutes with no intermission, at OU’s Rupel J. Jones Theatre, 563 Elm Ave.
But if the production sometimes seemed to be trying to do too much in too short a time, it did succeed in delivering a touching as well as adventurous “story of friendship for the young and the young at heart.”
Also contributing to its effectiveness were kaleidoscopic projections, colorful backdrops and costumes, and delightful song-and-dance numbers, performed with great energy by OU cast members.
Jamie Goldman got the manic ball rolling in the musical by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, based on the stories of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel, bringing just the right madcap flourish to the “Cat in the Hat.”
In his eye-catching striped topper, Goldman led the company, and a boy named JoJo, well played by fifth grader Campbell Walker Fields, in a paean to the imagination called “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!”
Heartfelt and understated, by contrast, was Brett Uram as Horton, who finds the People of Who living on a tiny planet in a piece of clover, and takes over a flighty bird’s job of sitting on an egg in her nest in a tree.
Stolid and slow-moving rather than charismatic, Uram got across Horton’s steadfast, elephant-like loyalty, while singing that we’re “Alone in the Universe” and “A person’s a person no matter how small.