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Youth to perform musical 'Seussical, Jr.' April 8, 9

"Seussical Jr." is a creative, colorful children's musical full of heart and imagination. In this scene, the Cat in the Hat (Jason Dennis) quizzes Gertrude McFuzz (Kelsey Adolphson) about Horton the Elephant's (Jacob Froelich) strange claims about an entire world living on a clover. (Submitted photo)

All things Seussical make up a kids' musical! The songs will have you jivin' and the words, of course, are rhymin'!

"Seussical Jr." will be performed at the Park Rapids High School auditorium April 8-9. The all-youth, musical production is a special presentation of the Long Lake Theater Kids Academy, now in its fourth year.

The magical, musical extravaganza lovingly brings to life everyone's favorite Dr. Seuss characters and features the talents of 60 children from Park Rapids, Osage, Nevis, Menahga and Sebeka.

"Seussical Jr." is an adaptation of the Broadway hit by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

The story centers around Horton the Elephant (Jacob Froelich), who finds himself faced with a double challenge - not only must he protect his tiny friend Jojo (Olivia Fischer) and all the Whos in Whoville from a world of naysayers like Sour Kangaroo (Sarah Schultz) and Young Kangaroo (Ashely Sanson), but he must also guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird (Hannah Fischer).

Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz (Kelsey Adolphson) never loses faith in him and recognizes "his kind and his powerful heart." The mischievous Cat in the Hat (Jason Dennis) serves as narrator.

Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant in this colorful, energetic kids' show.

"Seussical Jr." is directed by Juliann Kjenaas, who brings her extensive teaching and directing experience to Long Lake Theater Kids Academy. Kjenaas has been the drama coach at Park Rapids Area High School for the past nine years. At Long Lake Theater, she was the director for "Nunsense," "Don't Hug Me," among others, and, most recently, "The Kitchen Witches."

"This has been a fantastical musical to work on," Kjenaas said. "I have a choreographer to die for [Denese Jokela] and a stage manager from heaven [Grace Burmester]. The kids have been outstanding to work with and are doing an amazing job.

"The music in this show is so catchy, you'll be singing it for days!" she added. "This theater experience is perfect for all ages, and if you and your kids have never been to the theater before this is the show to make your first!"

Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, April 8 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Park Rapids High School auditorium To make reservations, call 732-0099 or visit Tickets are also available at Beagle Books or at the door.