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South Jordan Journal

South Jordan Elementary to share message of friendship, community in 'Seussical the Musical, Jr.'

Feb 23, 2022 06:38PM ● By Julie Slama

South Jordan Elementary cast members will perform in bright, colorful costumes in “Seussical the Musical, Jr.,” which will be performed in the round. (Photo courtesy of Diane Witt-Roper/South Jordan Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Thirty-nine South Jordan Elementary students know a little bit about Whoville as they share the story of friendship, loyalty and love in their performance of “Seussical the Musical, Jr.”

The musical will be performed at 6:30 p.m., March 2-3 and at 7:30, March 4 at South Jordan Elementary, 11205 S. Black Cherry Way. It is under the direction of second grade teacher Alan LaFleur, with music by Beverley Taylor Sorenson music specialist Nancy Hopkin and costumes, set design and choreography assistance by Diane Witt-Roper. The family-friendly show is free with a run time of about 75 minutes.

“This is a show that Alan has wanted to do for years,” Witt-Roper said. “He loves Dr. Seuss and it’s just great that we’re doing it during Dr. Seuss’ birthday. It’s a message about bringing community together and we’re super excited to do it this year.”

The storyline brings in favorite Dr. Seuss characters as the Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Horton the Elephant, who discovers a speck of dust that is home to tiny people called the Whos. He is loyal in protecting them and in guarding an abandoned egg that has been left in his care by Mayzie La Bird. While facing ridicule and danger, his friend Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him and together, they welcome everyone into their community.

Rehearsals began after school in December for the show that will be presented in the round. It’s the first time South Jordan Elementary students are performing in the round.

“The students will be performing on a four-foot platform as well as on the stairs to the stage and all around the theater, so everyone should be able to see no matter where you sit,” Witt-Roper said. “It’s going to be fun with bright colors and special, unique costumes for every participant.”

Performing in the round will give students, some who have performed on stage before and some who are new to theater, an extra challenge in addition to reading and memorizing their lines.

“We’re learning it’s not just face front or left stage or right stage. It’s encompassing every aspect of the whole entire room,” Witt-Roper said. “It’s a different format and kids are learning there’s a different way of doing the similar activity.”

She said that performing in the round brings in math and science “because they’re singing, turning, dancing, running, and still keeping their chins up and knowing where their focal point of projection is. The kids know their back is to the audience for these few measures, then they’re turning to face this part of the audience.”

Another part of being involved in the cast is learning commitment and persistence in taking care of themselves to stay cast. This year, the show is not double cast.

“I think these times really lend themselves to putting in the hard work and effort, but also making sure that you’re able to participate because we don’t have another character to help step in for them this year,” Witt-Roper said. “We’re living in different times, and we want the students to be proactive in doing their best to stay healthy. We want the students to have this experience.”

In mid-January, when school was taught virtually, Witt-Roper said the cast was disappointed.

“They were so bummed and wanted to come to school at least for play practice,” she said. “They really missed it and we're so glad to be back and are excited to be able to perform.”

This is the ninth year South Jordan Elementary has performed a musical. Other productions have included “Mary Poppins,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Wizard of Oz.”