Seussical the Musical | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Performing Arts Review

Seussical the Musical


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Seussical the Musical, Cadillac Palace Theatre. You know you're in trouble when the funniest parts of a musical based on the verse of Dr. Seuss have nothing to do with the source. Gymnast-singer Cathy Rigby, star of this touring production, gets laughs by spraying viewers with liquid string, leaping into the laps of box-seat patrons, and spoofing those awful "Can you hear me now?" commercials. She also bursts into Peter Pan-style flight--a nod to her marvelous performance several years back in a much better family extravaganza.

Written by composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens, who conceived the show with Monty Python's Eric Idle, Seussical the Musical is a cluttered compendium of characters invented by children's author-illustrator Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), including the Cat in the Hat (Rigby), Horton the egg-hatching elephant, scrawny-tailed Gertrude McFuzz, Yertle the Turtle, and the green-bearded Grinch in a cameo appearance. The effect recalls a Disney-style theme park populated by cartoon icons with nothing in common except their creator.

Especially in the current political climate, there's real value in a family show that advocates nonconformism, denigrates militaristic jingoism (embodied in General Genghis Kahn Schmitz), and preaches that a person's a person no matter how small, things could get worse (and probably will), so think how lucky you are. But despite such healthy wisdom, this is a lumbering, strangely joyless affair; you're better off staying home and reading the books.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment