Seussical is a musical based on the debuted on Broadway in 2000. The play's story is a rather complex amalgamation of many of Seuss's most famous books. After an unsuccessful Broadway run, the production spawned two US National Tours and has become a favorite for community and regional theatres. There is also a reduced version called "Seussical JR.", which is meant for younger performers. On June 10, 2005, the musical got a tv special on June 17, 2005, produced by Marc Platt.
This synopsis describes the 2003 tour starring Cathy Rigby.
- Act I
Horton hears a strange noise coming from a speck of dust, and decides there must be someone on it. He rescues the speck and places it on a clover ("Horton Hears a Who") and decides to guard it. Led by the at-first-villain Sour Kangaroo, the other animals in the jungle mock him mercilessly, except for Gertude McFuzz, Horton's next door neighbor, who admires his compassion and begins to fall in love with him ("Biggest Blame Fool"). Horton soon discovers the dust speck is in fact a planet covered with microscopic people called Whos. They introduce themselves and their community (such as their yearly Christmas pageant based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and explain their predicament. In addition to being unable to control where their dust speck flies, they are on the brink of war and all of their beautiful Truffula Trees (from The Lorax) have been cut down ("Here on Who"). Horton's resolve to guard the dust speck is strengthened.
At this point, the Cat in the Hat abruptly pushes the boy from the beginning into the story; he becomes Jojo, the son of the Mayor of Whoville. No sooner does he enter than he is roughly scolded by his parents: he has inadvertently been causing trouble at school by thinking (or rather, having Thinks), disrupting the class and horrifying the teachers. Jojo is sent to "take [a] bath and go to bed/And think some normal Thinks instead," but the Cat soon persuades him to "have a think in the tub." Jojo imagines the tub is McElligot's Pool ("It's Possible"), distracting himself and accidentally flooding the Mayor's living room. The Mayor and his wife wonder what they should do about their son ("How to Raise a Child"). After receiving a brochure from the Cat, they decide to send him to military school, under the supervision and persuasion of General Genghis Khan Schmitz (A character in I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew), who is preparing to go to war with those who eat their bread butter side down (as in The Butter Battle Book) ("The Military").
Meanwhile, Horton has been guarding the clover for "over a week", getting ridiculed by the Citizens of the Jungle. He then thinks about how no matter what others may say or do, he still has his dreams for adventure and a friend. He decides to chat with the Whos, and Jojo responds. They chat and discover they have found a friend in one another ("Alone in the Universe"). Jojo goes to sleep, only to be woken up by the Cat in the Hat. The Cat asks him what should happen next, and Jojo decides to focus on Getrude. Her feelings for Horton are stronger than ever, but she fears he doesn't notice her because her tail consists only of "one droopy-droop feather" ("The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz"). At the advice of Mayzie La Bird, whose tail is enormous and dazzling, Gertrude, goes to Doctor Dake by the Lake (played by the Cat), who prescribes her pills to make her tail grow ("Amayzing Mayzie/Amayzing Gertrude "). Gertrude is so excited by the dramatic and immediate results of the pills that she overdoses.
Horton is ambushed by a group of ne'er-do-well monkeys called the Wickersham Brothers ("Monkey Around") who steal the clover and run off with it. Horton gives chase, until the monkeys give the clover to a black-bottomed eagle named Vlad Vladikoff. Horton continues to chase the clover, until Vlad Vladikoff drops it into a large patch of identical clovers, 'one hundred miles wide' ("Chasing the Whos"). The Cat in the Hat abruptly freezes the action and delivers an ironically cheery tune to the audience ("How Lucky You Are"). Horton begins to look for the clover, hoping that the Whos are still alive, when Gertrude, who has followed Horton all this distance, catches up with him. Her tail is now gorgeous, if impractically large. She tries to catch his attention, but he is too busy looking for the Whos to notice her ("Notice Me, Horton"). She retreats to take more pills while he continues searching. After searching 2,999,999 clovers, Horton loses hope, and he sees Mayzie La Bird high in a nest. Apparently, she was in Fort Worth, when she met a nightingale named Tweet McFirth. After 'three weeks of bliss', Tweet left her with an egg. Mayzie then persuades Horton to give up on the search for the Whos and sit on her egg while she goes off for a vacation. Horton reluctantly agrees, and Mayzie flies off ("How Lucky You Are (Mayzie's Reprise)"). Horton waits on the egg for months, until finally he is captured by hunters. Gertrude makes an attempt to go after Horton, but the size and weight of her new tail prevents her from flying. The Cat in the Hat, backed by the full company, sings "Horton Sits on the Egg" to finish off Act I.
- Act II
At the top of the act, Horton is transported to New York City and auctioned off to a man from the circus (If I Ran the Circus) ("Egg, Nest, and Tree"). After going on the road and "sitting on the egg for 51 weeks, sitting here while people have paid to take peeks," Horton meets up with Mayzie again, and tries to give the egg back to her. She selfishly insists that he keep it as a rather dubious gift, wishes him a sarcastic good luck when it hatches, and leaves. Horton, betrayed and alone, sorrowfully remembers how no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't save the Whos, or poor Jojo. Realizing that the egg also is alone without its mother, and he is the only one who can help it. With a brave determination, declares that he'll do better than try, and protect the little egg with everything he has ("Alone in the Universe (Reprise)"). Then he sings the egg a lullaby about a magical world called Solla Sollew. At the same time, Jojo, the Mayor, and the Mayor's Wife, lost in the clover field, reflect on recent events, wishing they could all be in Solla Sollew as well ("Solla Sollew").
The Battle of Butter finally commences. Jojo rebels against General Schmitz and abandons the army. He hands in his sword and hat and unwittingly runs out onto a minefield, vanishing in an explosion. The General assumes that Jojo died in the explosion, and heads back to Whoville to deliver the sad news to his family. The Cat reveals to the audience that Jojo did, in fact, survive, but Jojo quickly discovers that he's lost, and doesn't know where to turn. After being confronted by the Cat and the Hunches (Hunches in Bunches), Jojo finds his way home by the power of his Thinks ("Havin' a Hunch").
Meanwhile, Gertrude sneaks into the circus where Horton is kept at night and frees him. She explains the troubles she went through to reach him, including getting all but one of her tail feathers plucked out to allow her to fly, and finally confesses her love for him ("All for You"). What's more, she found Horton's clover, as well! Horton is delighted to find the Whos alive and well, but the happy ending has not arrived yet: the evil Sour Kangaroo suddenly appears and with the Wickersham Brothers, kidnaps Horton. Horton is dragged back to the Jungle of Nool and put on trial for "talking to a speck, disturbing the peace, and loitering...on an egg." The Cat plays the bailiff, and Judge Yertle the Turtle presides over the case. Gertrude and Horton make a stand at the case, but the verdict is obvious from the beginning: Horton is remanded to the "Nool Asylum for the Criminally Insane," and the clover is to be boiled in a kettle of beezlenut oil. Horton, aghast, encourages the Whos to make as much noise as they can, to prove they exist. Their efforts initially seem futile, until Jojo comes up with a new word, "YOPP," his shouting of which reverberates throughout the world and finally makes the Whos heard ("The People Versus Horton the Elephant"). The court acquits Horton, and the Sour Kangaroo ends her wicked ways and decides to do her part in protecting the clover. On Who, Jojo is celebrated for his achievement, to be honored as Thinker Non-Stop.
Suddenly, the egg hatches: to everyone's surprise, a tiny flying Elephant-Bird comes out. Horton panics, realizing he can't handle flying progeny, and asks Gertrude what he should do. She responds, "I have wings, yes I can fly...you teach him earth, and I will teach him sky." They agree to raise the child together. The Cat in the Hat appears one final time to sum things up to close the show ("Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! (Reprise)"). The scene dissolves, leaving only Jojo, now just a boy again, and the strange hat from the top of show. He walks up to the hat, and pulls it over his head. Blackout. The curtain call is accompanied by a final number set to a verse of Green Eggs and Ham.
- Act 1
- Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!—The Cat in the Hat and The Company
- Our Story Begins—The Cat in the Hat
- Horton Hears a Who—Bird Girls, Horton the Elephant and Citizens of the Jungle of Nool
- Biggest Blame Fool—Sour Kangaroo, Horton the Elephant, Wickersham Brothers, Bird Girls, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie LaBird, Citizens of the Jungle of Nool and The Cat in the Hat
- Here on Who—The Mayor of Whoville, Mrs. Mayor, The Grinch, Whos and Horton the Elephant
- A Day for the Cat in the Hat—The Cat in the Hat, JoJo and Cat's Helpers
- It's Possible (In McElligot's Pool)—JoJo, The Cat in the Hat and Fish
- How to Raise a Child—The Mayor of Whoville and Mrs. Mayor
- The Military—General Genghis Khan Schmitz, The Mayor of Whoville, Mrs. Mayor, JoJo and Cadets
- Alone in the Universe—Horton the Elephant and JoJo
- The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz—Gertrude McFuzz
- Amazing Mayzie—Mayzie LaBird, Gertrude McFuzz and Bird Girls
- Amazing Gertrude—Gertrude McFuzz, The Cat in the Hat and Bird Girls
- Monkey Around—Wickersham Brothers, Horton the Elephant, Vlad Vladikoff
- Chasing the Whos—Horton the Elephant, Sour Kangaroo, Bird Girls, Wickersham Brothers, The Cat in the Hat, Vlad Vladikoff and Whos
- How Lucky You Are—The Cat in the Hat and Whos
- Notice Me, Horton—Gertrude McFuzz and Horton the Elephant
- How Lucky You Are (Reprise)—Mayzie LaBird, Horton the Elephant and The Cat in the Hat
- Horton Sits on the Egg: Act I Finale—Full Company
- Act 2
- How Lucky You Are (Reprise)—The Cat in the Hat
- Our Story Resumes—The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, The Mayor of Whoville, Mrs. Mayor, JoJo, General Genghis Khan Schmitz, Cadets, Gertrude McFuzz and Bird Girls
- Egg, Nest, and Tree—Sour Kangaroo, Bird Girls, Wickersham Brothers, The Cat in the Hat, Cat's Helpers and Hunters
- The Circus McGurkus—The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant and The Circus McGurkus Animals and Performers
- The Circus on Tour—Horton the Elephant
- Mayzie in Palm Beach—Mayzie LaBird, The Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant
- Solla Sollew—Horton the Elephant, The Circus McGurkus Animals and Performers, The Mayor of Whoville, Mrs. Mayor and JoJo
- The Whos' Christmas Pageant—The Grinch and Whos
- A Message from the Front—General Genghis Khan Schmitz, The Mayor of Whoville, Mrs. Mayor and Cadets
- Alone in the Universe (Reprise)—JoJo and Horton the Elephant
- Havin' a Hunch—The Cat in the Hat, JoJo and Hunches
- The Lorax Song—JoJo, The Once-ler, The Lorax (removed from the show)
- All for You—Gertrude McFuzz and Bird Girls
- The People Versus Horton the Elephant—Horton the Elephant, Sour Kangaroo, Wickersham Brothers, Marshal of the Court, Judge Yertle the Turtle, Bird Girls, Gertrude McFuzz, The Mayor of Whoville, Mrs. Mayor, JoJo, Whos and The Cat in the Hat
- Finale / Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!—Full Company
- Curtain Call / Green Eggs and Ham—Full Company
A shorter, one-act version of the musical was made for younger audiences, and has become popular (along with the full version) among both amateur and professional theater groups. The military subplot was removed, taking General Schmitz, the Butter Battle scene, "The Military", "A Message From The Front", "Havin' a Hunch", and over 30 seconds of "Here on Who" with it. Also, a line in the "Here on Who" song is taken out. Some more songs have been taken out ("A Day for the Cat in the Hat", "How Lucky You Are", "The Circus On Tour", The Whos' Christmas Pageant") and added in to add time ("Biggest Blame Playoff"). Any songs with reprises would start its cycle with the first (or only) reprise of it. "A Day for the Cat in the Hat" has been replaced with a reprise of "Oh, the Thinks You Can Think". "How to Raise a Child" has been moved before the "It's Possible" segment. Songs that are long such as (the already mentioned) "Here on Who", "All for You", "Chasing the Whos", and "Solla Sollew" have been cut down. The Grinch's lines were also mostly cut, however, he has one remaining solo line in "Here on Who." Most productions are performed in two acts instead of one.
The Lorax Scene
After "Havin' a Hunch", JoJo would stumble upon a dark room in which a phone would be placed, the Cat leaving him. A song would then be sung called "The Lorax Song". JoJo would pick up the phone, and a voice would sing the beginning of The Lorax. This would take JoJo to the shack of the Once-ler. Once-ler then sings the rest of the book as choral voices echo behind him, being a darker song than the others. The song ends as the book does. The truffula trees have been cut down, and the Once-ler gives JoJo a truffula seed. He learns that "No matter how small you are now... The future's in your hands...". This is seen as a chance for him to gain courage, which makes him scream "YOPP" to save the Whos later on in the musical.
If the sequence had been kept in the original Broadway production, Eddie Korbich would have played the Once-ler, while Alice Playten would have played The Lorax. This sequence is the longest song written for the musical, at 10 minutes and 36 seconds. As of 2013, MTI has offered the sequence as an independent "mini-musical", advertising it on the back of Seussical librettos and scripts.