The Cat at APU

by Nicole Chin '08, Photos by Jill MacKinney '05

Who is a talking, mischievous black cat with a big red and white stripped hat? Yes, that’s right, The Cat in the Hat. In children’s books, he is every parent’s nightmare, but in Seussical, he serves as the musical's narrator. Directed by Bart McHenry, MFA, Seussical, or better explained as Dr. Seuss’s timeless rhymes set to music, is the jubilant tale of young Jojo, played by Theatre Arts coordinator Brian Mercer’s sixth grade son, Nick. The story follows the relationship between Jojo and Horton the Elephant, played by Travis Costell ’05.

The stage is decorated with neon colors and book covers from many of Dr. Seuss’s masterpieces. The opening act features all forty onstage members in brightly covered Seussical T-shirts. Seussical is filled with dancing, romance, black lights, a hero, and of course, The Cat in the Hat. Sean Robinson’05 who plays the cat, creates the friendly environment that Seuss inspired as soon as he appears onstage with his wit, humor, and endearing smile.

Throughout the entire production, Horton the Elephant guards the universe of Who, which resides on a speck of dust on a clover. Inside Who is little Jojo at military boarding school; both he and Horton feel that they are “alone in the universe” and the two quickly become friends. In the jungle where Horton lives, he is soon bombarded by the neighboring animals and constantly teased. His only true friend is Jojo.

Horton’s love for Who is displayed continuously throughout the production, a key lyric being “a person’s a person no matter how small.” With a heart as big as he is, Horton displays a character that McHenry believes Seuss incorporated in all of his books. McHenry reflects, “Overall, his stories show children that when you open your mind and use your kind and powerful heart, anything’s possible.”

Seussical continues at APU's West Campus Black Box Theatre April 1-2,7-9,and 14-16. For tickets and more information, or a calendar of upcoming shows, visit or call at (626) 815-5035, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.