Horton is hearing a Who on the big screen at the Mamaroneck Playhouse this weekend, but less than a mile away, seniors at Mamaraneck High School have Horton, the Whos and the Cat in the Hat – in the stage musical “Seussical.”
It’s the senior musical, a Mamaroneck tradition, and the big, sensitive guy with those sensitive ears is played by Gabriel Rodriguez, who at the moment is sitting on a nest.
He’s promised to sit on the egg he’s been watching and he’s going to do it.
After all, he meant what he said and he said what he meant. This elephant’s faithful. One hundred percent.
Rodriguez says the musical is a coming together of the senior class that “transcends boundaries.”
“It’s for the audience and for our parents and all that, but it’s really for us,” he says, “because it’s a cool way to look around at all the people that you’ve been with … for that last time before you go off.”
He’s a member of Mamaroneck’s PACE program, Performing Arts Curriculum Experience, a four-year program that exposes students to all aspects of music, dance and theater, except big-book musicals like “Seussical.”
“Horton is someone who’s alone in the universe, which is one of my songs,” Rodriguez says. “It’s a musical, so everything he’s feeling is out there in a song.”
“This is kind of a freaky jungle where, I guess, breeding doesn’t play into anything,” he says. “There’s one elephant and he’s alone and he’s bigger than anyone else. And that’s how it’s always been. He’s just ‘that huge guy.’
“They’re not very accepting in the Jungle of Nool and they wouldn’t be his friend. ‘He’s far too big to be my friend.'”
Rodriguez likes what he’s been hearing from the cast, many of whom are in their first musical, under Cal Chiang, who retired from the school last year but returns to direct this show (and coach the boys’ tennis team).
“Everyone sounds really awesome and Mr. Chiang knows what to do to have everyone be moving and have it be a bright stage picture,” Rodriguez says.
Carly Hachey, 18, has had some plum roles – the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella,” Annie in “Annie” and Adelaide in “Guys & Dolls” – but they came when she was in elementary school.
This weekend, she’s back on the boards, playing Gertrude McFuzz, Horton’s sincere but frustrated love interest.
“I just love to perform,” she says. “I haven’t done it in such a long time.”
Her costume is something to see, she says. “I wear orange Converse sneakers, black-and-yellow tights, a pink tutu and a leotard with feathers and my hair’s going to be sticking out. No one’s going to notice me.
Kameron Smith plays the Cat in the Hat, the narrator who helps open the world of Dr. Seuss to a little Who named JoJo.
“My job is to test JoJo,” he says. “I throw in storms and snow and all these things to make it challenging for him to stay the tried-and-true thinker that he is. That’s my job.”
The songs – by Lynn Arens and Stephen Flaherty, are infectious, Smith says.
“‘Havin’ a Hunch,’ one of the songs I sing, is really, really catchy and, if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself singing it during the day, while you’re working, which is what I was doing today in class,” Smith says.
Years after he grew up with the book inspired by the character he plays, Smith is still learning from the Cat in the Hat.
“It’s kind of taught me how to mind my business, honestly,” he says with a laugh. “If you get yourself involved in too much, you kind of get yourself into trouble a lot. It’s also taught me to stay focused, because I do find myself daydreaming a wee bit in class and it does lead to trouble sometimes.”
Irvin Leon is in his first musical, playing Vlad Vladikoff, the eagle who torments Horton.
“It’s been a great experience to get to know what it takes to make a musical – the music, the dancing and the acting parts all combined,” he says.
“The monkeys hand me the clover where all the Whos live and I have to run away with it,” he explains. “I’m going to do it very ironic, satirical. Like, ‘Oops! I’m sorry! I dropped it. I have butter fingers. Sorry, I have to go.’ ”
This eagle might have been bitten by the acting bug.
“It would be a very nice experience to do this over and over again,” he says.
One hundred percent.
Where: Mamaroneck High School, 1000 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck.
When: 8 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Tickets: $12; $8 students.
With: Ana Badimon, Alison Becker, Liz Bell, Rachel Berger, Leigh Boorstein, Matt Burstyn, Jaclyn Campanelli, Will Carlyon, Julia Caro, Anna Carroll, Raquel Castro, Max Cliggott-Perlt, Elana Congress, Charlie Cronin, Ben Cruikshank, Carole Currey, Carly Defeis, Jeff Dobronyi, Sara Everhart, Ari Finard, Hannah Fleischman, Nick Florence, Jeremy Forsyth, Melanie Fox, Raissa Franco, Brian Gabel, Dayna Geldwert, Anne Giles, Vicki Goodman, Liza Gordon, Rachel Gordon, Nora Graubard, Charles Greenwald, Isabel Gregersen, Carly Hachey, Kathy Harwood, Jason Hellerstein, Willie Hermann, Katie Howard, Julia Kaplan, Amy Kirkham, Bianca Larrea, Mason Lee, Irvin Leon, Michael Lewen, Michael Levy, Alex Lubben, Sarah Lyon, Christina Melo, Elise McNally, Jamie Meyers, Alex Michaels, Emma Mintzer, Will Moore, Grace Novikoff, Hallie Pace, Vella Petrov, Marisa Phillips, Robin Porucznik, Louisa Pough, Kate Rainey, Betty Rathbone, Sarah Reibstein, Ben Roberts, Gabe Rodriguez, Leigh Rome, Eddy Rosen-Wallberg, Yuni Sameshima, Tom Saporito, Astrid Schanz-Garbassi, Eliza Scheffler, Willy Seife, Emily Selinger, Devon Serrano, Ellie Sher, Elise Sjostedt, Kameron Smith, Winnie Smith, Edan Soroker, Sarah Spangenberg, Julie Spielvogel, Lauren Strausser, Ruthie Tane, Emily Upton-Davis, Bella Valdez, Erika Valdez, Laura Vidler, Bryan Vargas, Sami Walters, Jonathan Williams, Emily Wilson, Elisha Yoon