By Miss Gertrude McFuzz (Jessie Levin)
Seussical, Jr. was our very first school musical, and it was exciting, challenging and a lot of fun, but what the audience didn’t see was what happened behind the scenes, what the cast, crew and our amazing director Mrs. Peltz went through to make this show truly possible.
First the whole school had to read the script in class to see what parts we wanted and what the show was about. Then we moved into the auditions. We all got to choose who we wanted to audition for; the character choices were as wide as Jojo’s thinks. When you auditioned you had to get up in front of your class and say a line or so from that character. Most people were super nervous and couldn’t decide who they wanted to audition for, or if they wanted to audition in the first place. Personally, it was a little nerve racking; what were your classmates going to think, what if I mess up or chicken out? However tons of people did it anyway; actually, pretty much half the school.
Jessie Levin (second Gertrude from the right) is a seventh grader at MS8
Next was our first step into the long journey of making the show. We had rehearsals during music class and during chorus on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We got to take home scripts and practice at home, but most people just sang it because it was so catchy and fun. Next Mrs. Peltz and other helpers worked on the sets. Step one was to just draw the picture in pencil, then outline it in sharpie, then paint it and paint it and paint it. One time I stayed after school to help out and I looked around and thought to myself “There’s not that much stuff left to paint,” but Mrs. Peltz had thing after thing to paint and outline and more. We had to make sure everything was painted and ready to go on stage.
Mrs. Peltz’s husband Mr. Peltz made these special lights to fit our auditorium at PS8. He shipped them all the way from sunny Florida! He even made gels to put over the lights so that each scene could have a different color. The students got to work with the lights, I was so jealous; it looked like so much fun!
The costumes were one of my favorite parts; each character had a certain theme you had to get yourself. It was so much fun talking to everyone about what their costume was going to look like. The makeup was great too. Mrs. Peltz had heard that most face paint was bad for your skin, so she bought a special onethat was better for us to put on our faces. The characters each had a list of what they needed to put on and every one did it their way. It really showed how each person pursued their character in their own way.
Everyone in the cast made a recording of all the songs that were in the show which we sang to during the show. People got to play different parts and it made the show seem more like it was our school and not like we were singing along to a professional cast recording.
Our first shows were for the lower school at PS8. We went on a Friday in the morning and put our costumes and makeup on. It was such a buzz of excitement and nervousness and joy during the show. As I was preforming, I watched all the kids as they were mesmerized by the many colors and songs. It was great to see someone enjoying it as much as I was.
Our final shows for the parents were just as much of a buzz as the first two. We all came in our costumes and did our makeup and got ready. At first it felt just like the other shows but when we got into places I realized that it was not the same, we were actually preforming for our family and friends in a show that each and everyone of us put our hearts into. It felt like the show had joined our school together.
As you can see, the Seussical experience was not just another school play, it was a project that the whole school worked on together to make happen.
Photo Credits to David Levin