“Seussical, Jr.,” a renaissance for youth theatre

Mason Holliday played Mayzie, surrounded by “Bad girls” Maddie Kummer, Sydnie Main, Sena Zellers, Shelby Steele and Mikayla Cardile.

It was director Laurie Zellers’ ultimate dream to one day produce Seussical Jr. and her dream came true last week as more than young actors gave two performances last weekend in the Meeker High School auditorium.
MEEKER I Meeker theater patrons of “Seussical, Jr.’s” Friday and Saturday performances were treated to one of the finest and most delightful performing arts productions ever given in Meeker. Director Laurie Zellers commented that “Seussical, Jr.,” is among the most complex and challenging musical productions for young performers due to the number of nearly continuous and sequential songs, and rapid transitions from scene to scene, as well as the adaptability and versatility required of young actors in a very large cast of unique and classical characters.”
Mason Holliday played Mayzie, surrounded by “Bad girls” Maddie Kummer, Sydnie Main, Sena Zellers, Shelby Steele and Mikayla Cardile.
Zellers indicated that “Seussical, Jr.,” was inspired by the fabled Dr. Seuss characters, and the musical is among “the most widely presented performances by youth theatre groups.”
Zellers, whose vision resulted in creating a venue for community youth theatre in Meeker in 2010, said that her “ultimate dream was to one day produce ‘Seussical, Jr.’” And so this dream has become a stellar reality and portends even greater performing arts productions in future years.
Zellers shared lavish praise for the youth cast, volunteer crew, parents, MHS Drama Club members, as well as for the support of the ERBM Recreation and Park District Center Stage Youth Theatrical Group (CSYTG). The production featured the return of many seasoned veteran thespians from prior performances of “Annie, Jr.,” and from Walt Disney’s “Cinderella Kids.” Joining a large company of more than 50 experienced as well as first time cast members were many talented and younger aspiring stars who displayed remarkable talents and accomplished singing voices to bring this delightful musical to reality.
Zellers went on to say that “a high quality professionally given production of this scope is simply not possible without many long hours of rehearsal, coaching, mentoring by directors and strict attention to timing and detail.”
Moreover, the technical support required of the production was also very high caliber. Sound design and presentation were professionally provided by Matt Holliday and Gary Zellers using the new 12-channel wireless microphone system and mixers. Special ultraviolet lighting for the underwater dream scene elicited many “oohs and ahs” as audience members watched glowing bubbles, fluorescent fish and seaweed seemingly rise out of the stage in animated motion. Lighting was provided by Ohana Mataia, Leah Pool and designed by Bob Amick. Costume design and construction as well as musical direction were brilliantly created by Shana Holliday. Technical assistants included J.C. Henderson, Kevin Amack, Kim Kummer, Sherry Adams, Sally Etherton, Laura Cardile, Emily Eliasen, Samantha Patterson and Cidney Gardner.
At the cast party, accolades were freely shared with young cast members. One of the most fitting compliments (attributed to famed Scouting leader James Francis “Buck” Burshears in describing the exemplary professional performance of the youthful cast and crew) was: “You do not have to wait to grow up to be great, you can be, and are great right now!”
Director Zellers stated, “The importance of performing arts in education should not be underestimated. While traditional academic disciplines of science, math, composition and communication are essential, numerous studies have shown that students engaged in the performing arts (e.g., theatre, drama, music, fine arts) are more likely to achieve greatly in traditional academics, than those who do not, so should be equally encouraged and supported as a part of the academic experience of students.”
As the fifth largest economic engine in Colorado, Creative Industries offer many career possibilities and avocational life-long pursuits and enhance eligibility for admission to higher education opportunities. The Meeker Arts and Cultural Council congratulates Laurie Zellers and her amazing cast and crew of “Seussical, Jr.,” on this stellar achievement.