If run-of-the-mill holiday fare has got you down, perhaps what you need is a bit of a pick-me-up courtesy of Dr. Seuss. If that’s the case, you’re in luck: Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences is putting the good Doctor’s creations onstage with “Seussical.” The Cat in the Hat (George Keating) and Horton the Elephant (Michael Aaron Lindner) are the central characters in this show. Along with a handful of other wild and weird individuals, they are thrown together in a mishmash of colorful stories set to music.
The basis for this musical adventure derives from “Horton Hears a Who!” Lindner, a quite sizable actor in a pair of overalls and a floppy hat, embodies Horton’s struggle as a nice guy wanting to do the right thing who nevertheless gets pushed around and taken advantage of. In addition to discovering a world on a mote of dust, he also finds himself caring for an abandoned nest and its egg.
In this rendition, Mayzie (Stephanie Binetti) is a blue bird in a cascading dress of long, flowing feathers. Binetti makes the most of the outfit and the outrageous lyrics that she is provided. Her solo that convinces Horton to take the egg into his care is one of the best moments of the entire show.
Jeff Kmiec’s set and prop design work in concert with Greg Hofmann’s lighting transform the Marriott Theatre’s in-the-round venue into a whimsical world. With no walls to work with, much of the set is hung from the ceiling with some elements extending over the entire audience, bringing the action even closer to the viewers.
At the performance I attended, the audience was approximately three-quarters children. They were clearly enjoying themselves. I noted, with joy, that the adults were also having a blast. “Seussical” has truly multi-generational appeal. It represents a welcome break from standard holiday fare all while catering to the nostalgia that goes along with the season. (Christopher Kidder-Mostrom)
Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, (847)634-0200, marriotttheatre.com, $15-$17. Through December 30.