Director TIm Moore, bottom, and Butch Hodgins and Keith Boatner, top, install a new curtain at the historic Ellis Theater in preperation for “Seussical the Musical.”
Director TIm Moore, bottom, and Butch Hodgins and Keith Boatner, top, install a new curtain at the historic Ellis Theater in preperation for “Seussical the Musical.”
A cast of 65, including many children, will present "Seussical the Musical" next week in the historic Ellis Theater.

The musical will be presented April 2-6.

Performances on Wednesday through Saturday will begin at 7 p.m. There will be 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

This will be director Tim Moore's fifth musical presentation for the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Arts Council. He has previously directed "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sound of Music," "Annie" and "A Christmas Carol."

"It's going to be great," he said excitedly.

"Seussical the Musical" is based on the books of Dr. Seuss, mainly "Horton Hears a Who," "Horton Hatches the Egg" and "The One Feather Tail of Gertrude McFuzz."

The idea to do "Seussical" was not Moore's, the director noted.

He recalled that in 2013 he was approached by several people to direct "Seussical."

"I told them I would only do it if they helped with 'Best Little Christmas Pageant Ever,'" he said. "They agreed."

Moore noted that normally the Arts Council presents a children's play before a musical to raise funds to pay for royalties. Royalties for "Seussical" were about $3,200.

After paying the royalties, planning got underway and the first step was casting.

The cast, made up of mostly adults, also features 20 children who will be playing Whovillians.

Moore said casting for the play was a little difficult as the play had to be slightly expanded to accommodate all those who tried out.

"I've never been one to turn down anyone that auditions," Moore said. "I want to give everyone an opportunity."

Once the cast was decided upon, Moore had to get the costumes together.

The director noted that most Arts Council productions use homemade costumes.

In fact, he only recalled renting costumes for the main characters in "The Wizard of Oz" and for the nuns in "The Sound of Music."

"Instead [of ordering] we utilize local businesses like Jerome Tank Season 2 Season and Dirt Cheap to put the costumes together," he said.

Moore said that the most elaborate costumes belong to the Sour Kangaroo, from "Horton Hears a Who," and the tails for Gertrude McFuzz, from "The One Feather Tail of Gertrude McFuzz," and Mayzie la Bird, from "Horton Hatches the Egg."

"To really understand the costumes you'll need to come watch the show," he said.

The show itself runs through about 10 to 15 Seuss books, Moore said.

"If you don't like one [book] then wait for the next," he said.

The live performances based on Seuss' works are complemented by music and singing from the cast.

"Seussical" will feature 25 musical numbers.

While he doesn't have a favorite number, Moore said he enjoys the opening and final numbers the most.

"I like them because I love harmony," he said. "All my favorite numbers have a lot of harmony. It stirs up the kid in me."

Moore noted that past musicals only used a piano to provide musical accompaniment. This time there will be an entire orchestra, he said.

Besides a piano there will be a trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and drums, each played by a local student.

The orchestra will be directed by Moore.

Since announcing that they would be presenting "Seussical," Moore said the council has tried various ways to promote it.

"The original idea was to do it in early March around Dr. Seuss' birthday but we couldn't get the schedule to work out," he said.

Instead Moore has had several of the actors make appearances around Philadelphia in full costume.

Aaron Tucker, who plays The Cat in the Hat, appeared at area schools and at the public library on March 3 as part of the annual Dr. Seuss Day celebration. He read to over 60 children.

"Aaron has really become the spokesman for the play, appearing in various places as the cat," Moore said.

On Monday, Tucker, as the Cat, along with Kinsey Goldman as Horton, Jennifer Prince as Mayzie and Andrea Moore as Gertrude appeared before the Neshoba Central Parent-Teacher Organization. They sang several songs from the musical.

Tickets are $5 on Wednesday, which is family fun night. On Thursday through Sunday tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.