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Published: 10/12/2006

Franciscan Center season opens with the hit musical 'Seussical'

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Shorey Walker as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical.
Shorey Walker as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical.
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To open its 22nd Theater Vision season, the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College turns to a national tour of a Broadway show.

Sort of.

TheatreworksUSA will bring a one-hour adaptation of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Seussical, based on the books of Dr. Seuss, to the Franciscan for four shows next week.

"Seussical is the biggest musical that Theatreworks has done," said Jule Horn, the Franciscan's arts education director. A dozen cast members will perform in a show that features Seuss' whimsical characters, including the Cat in the Hat, Horton the elephant, and Mayzie LaBird.

Theater Vision is a Lourdes College program that aims to introduce youngsters to live performances while linking to the curriculum of various schools. The shows are all presented by professional companies, often based in New York and Washington. Since its inception, it has entertained more than 450,000 people, Horn said.

"[The shows] have to be fun and entertaining, but they also have to have an educational value," she said. "We have people who come from an hour away to see them, and this is the only opportunity that some of the students have to see live theater."

Although the productions are geared toward school field trips, the public is welcome to attend if there is space available. The bulk of the shows, Seussical included, are scheduled at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on each of two days. Most often, Horn says, the 10 a.m. show is filled, but there is generally room at the afternoon performance.

Although Seussical could be fun for all ages, many of the shows in the Theater Vision season have a distinct age target, from Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is for preschoolers to early elementary pupils, to Othello, geared to high school students and adults. "We go from preschoolers through college in our 13 shows," Horn said.

Other highlights of the season are The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Freedom Train, and Junie B. Jones.

"Seussical," presented by TheatreworksUSA, is scheduled at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the auditorium of the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania. Tickets are $7. Information: 419-824-3986.

A national tour of Mel Brooks' The Producers comes to Lima Monday.

The show, based on Brooks' movie about a pair of con men who set out to produce a bomb on Broadway in order to write off the money they've scammed, opened on Broadway in 2001 and is still running. It won Tony Awards for, among others, best musical, best book of a musical, best score, and best actor for Nathan Lane.

Broadway in Lima! presents "The Producers" at 8 p.m. Monday in Crouse Performance Hall of the Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center, 7 Town Square, Lima. Tickets are $56. Information: 1-888-377-0641.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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