By Michele Dotson  Dotson.michele@minthilltimes.com

The cast of Seussical the Musical from Independence High School.

The cast of Seussical the Musical from Independence High School.

Seussical the Musical opens January 31
The Independence High School theater program continues its rebuilding process by presenting Seussical the Musical. This fun, fast-paced musical is based on the books of Dr. Seuss. According to theater teacher Paula Baldwin, it has become a favorite with schools and community theaters.
“We chose the show because it has been very popular with many of the theatre companies in the area,” says Baldwin. “It’s light and fun for all ages.”
Baldwin, who has been at Independence for three years, continues to rebuild a drama program that had all but ceased to exist.
Although there had been a string of drama teachers over the years, there had been not been a musical produced at the school for 12 years until Baldwin took the helm and breathed life back into the program.
Revenue from the past two musicals; first Grease, then last year’s Footloose, has given Baldwin some working capital to upgrade outdated or non-existent equipment.
“The theatre department is fully self-supporting and the musical is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” says Baldwin. “We are working to purchase LED lights for the auditorium and various upgrades to the space.”
Additionally, Mint Hill Community Church, a satellite location for Concord First Assembly Church, holds Sunday services in the auditorium and has given the drama program the use of some of its equipment, including comfortable, cushioned chairs which are greatly appreciated by the audience.
Baldwin and two talented co-workers are responsible for the entire process.
“Patricia McTigue and I are Co-Directors for the show,” says Baldwin. “She’s also the choreographer. Chorus and French teacher Kristine Neale is the music director.”
Auditions for the show were held in October and the cast began rehearsing twice a week, then every day in late November.
Sophomore Carlos Marquis has the lead role playing Horton, the Elephant, and senior Hannah Coffman is playing the Cat in the Hat.
The 40 plus cast members each paid a fee in order to rent costumes from professional designer Jamey Varnadore, considered by Baldwin to the best in Charlotte.
“The show is all music and dance with no book scenes which is different from most musicals, and has required additional rehearsal time, but the students are doing a wonderful job,” says Baldwin. “They are looking forward to getting into those costumes later this week.”
Sets are usually made by the cast, but this year they will be using the set from Concord First Assembly, where McTigue did the show a few years ago.
Seussical runs January 30-February 1 at 7:00 pm, and Sunday, February 2 at 2:30 at the Independence High School auditorium.
Tickets are $7.00 at the door.