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Bemidji area cast members gather for 'Seussical'

Some of the Bemidji players for "Seussical" now at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse are smiling after leaving their first musical rehearsal at Headwaters School for Music and the Arts. From left to right are Libby Sorenson, Eric Benson, Chuck Deeter and Matthew Jedlicka. Missing from the photo are Jade Hunt from Bemidji and Emily Warden from Blackduck. Patt Rall | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI - It was only the first musical rehearsal for the cast of the show now on stage at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Matt Goinz, musical director, already had them singing in tune and on tempo.

Well, what else would one expect to see and hear from a cast that includes some faces familiar to Bemidji audiences?

Eric Benson, alum of the Bemidji State University vocal performance program, plays Horton the elephant, for his premiere performance for the playhouse.

Chuck Deeter, who has "done theater" for many groups in the area, plays the Grinch, Yertle the Turtle and General Genghis Kahn Schmitz, who wars against those who eat their bread with the butter side down.

"This is going to be a great show," said Deeter. "The music is incredible. Everyone in this town should go see it."

Libby Sorenson, who will be a sophomore at Bemidji High School this fall, is in the ensemble. Libby was last on stage for the Loon Opera Company performance of "Madama Butterfly" in June. Libby has acted in this musical before and said that this is one of her favorites.

Libby really enjoys working with Goinz. "He is passionate about his work, energetic and obviously loves what he is doing," she said.

Matthew Jedlicka, a senior at Blackduck High School, has played on the Chief stage before for the Paul Bunyan Playhouse in "Peter Pan" and "Raggedy Ann and Andy."

The 2000 musical, which played on Broadway and had "The Cat in the Hat" notables such as Rosie O'Donnell and Cathy Rigby, is loosely based upon the two Horton the Elephant books - the first one ("Horton Hatches the Egg") published in 1940 by Random House. The story line gathers characters from many of the Dr. Seuss books: "Horton Hears a Who!" "The Lorax," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Green Eggs and Ham" for starters.

Of course, "The Cat in the Hat" tells the story. The tunes are catchy, sometimes pretty like Horton's lullaby to lazy Mayzie's egg and always engaging.

A swing version of "Green Eggs and Ham" will have the audience bouncing in their seats.

This is a family friendly show for Dr. Seuss lovers of all ages.

It opened Wednesday night. Evening performances continue through Saturday, followed by a Sunday matinee and evening shows next Wednesday through Saturday