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South Jordan Journal

Paradigm Schools to present colorful world of “Seussical” in November

Oct 01, 2022 08:30PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

The world of Cat in the Hat and friends will come alive at Paradigm Schools this November.

“Seussical the Musical” will be performed in the round at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17-19 and again on Nov. 21 at Paradigm Schools, 11577 S. 3600 West. There also will be a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for students or $30 for families.

A “Green Eggs and Ham” photo opportunity with cast members will be held on Saturday. Additional details will be posted on the school website,

“This is our only big production this year and it’s a blast,” said the show’s theatre director and musical director, Alyse Shattuck. “We're using our pit orchestra and students from both the high school and the prep school. It’s going to be a show with all colors everywhere. We’ll have everything from gentle animals to circus animals; there will be singing birds, dancing monkeys and the Cat in the Hat and a rolling bathtub. It's fun, it's energetic, it's all music and a real extravaganza that the whole family can enjoy.”

“Seussical” is a musical comedy based on the many stories of Dr. Seuss, with most of its plot centering around familiar characters including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and JoJo from the stories, “Horton Hears a Who!,” “Gertrude McFuzz,” “Horton Hatches the Egg” and other childhood favorites.

The plot follows the kind-hearted elephant, Horton, who decides to protect JoJo and the colony of Whoville, which is the size of a speck of dust, while at the same time hatching an abandoned egg left to his care by the lazy Mayzie la Bird. While Horton tries to convince the other animals of the existence of the Whos, he is ridiculed and put on trial for insanity. His loyal neighbor, Gertrude McFuzz, believes in him, revealing a story of friendship, loyalty and love as well as the importance of fighting for one’s beliefs.

“I feel we have enough students to perform ‘Seussical’ and I wanted to use the prep school after doing ‘Cinderella’ with them last year,” Shattuck said about the decision to perform this musical. “It has such a big appeal for families. When we have families and people in our community come, it makes such a difference in the audience and for our performers.”

Since Pardigm is a small school compared to the comprehensive public high schools, Shattuck said students get more involved in learning all aspects of theatre.

“They end up helping with props, they help with the lights. We have a big set building day and they all come. It really gets to be an immersive experience where they get to see all the elements; that’s fantastic and makes a big difference in what we're doing,” she said. “They’re getting an education, not just a show. They do learn about ensemble acting and also about being generous to the other people in the show. They’re on stage learning proper vocal technique, dance technique, how to stay healthy, how to manage the time that comes with being involved in a production in addition to balancing their schoolwork and other activities.”

Joining Shattuck is choreographer Stephanie Cole, costumer Lacie Horman, tech supervisor Keith Debono and set designer Sara Rasmussen. The musical conductor is Daniel Burt.

While most of the main cast of 22 students is in her musical theater production class, some are other students who want to be a part of the show. Many of the Whos are seventh- and eighth-grade students from the prep school.

Since this performance will be performed in the round, Shattuck plans to have her pit orchestra of about 35 students on stage, while her thespians will take the central part of the auditorium-gymnasium.

“We plan to have it be a three tier, or what we’re calling it, a wedding cake, set in the middle so the audience will have the performance all around them,” she said.  “I’m really excited about the possibility of doing things in the round. We were discussing how we were going to do it with the set designer and the lighting crew today.”

About a dozen students are involved in the tech crew, bringing the total to about 90 students involved this year, close to the 111 students who performed “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” recently. 

Amongst the other shows she has directed the past seven years at Paradigm include “James and the Giant Peach,” “The King and I,” “Once on this Island” and the video production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” during COVID-19.

“I teach mostly Spanish, but I do have a degree in music with a vocal emphasis and I've been involved in high school theater for almost 20 years. When the opportunity came for me to direct the musicals, I jumped on it because it is something that I just love to do so much,” she said. “It's a lot of fun. The biggest thing for me is just to watch the kids, my actors catch the vision. When I see that first moment, it feels so good and that is way more fun than being on stage. That's the best part.”