Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat
Delightful summer show for kids young and old to enjoy
|Emerald City Theatre i/a/w Broadway in Chicago presents|
|Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat|
Review by Lawrence Bommer
This is a solid, hour-long charmer, deftly and imaginatively retold to delight even the surliest toddler: Emerald City Theatre’s Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat celebrates the title character’s delightful visit to two bored children – Little Sally (Giselle Vaughn) and Boy (Michael Richardson) – on a dreary, rainy day. A kind of cheeky brat in his own right, Danny Taylor’s playful feline regales the kids with games galore. The playful puss throws up imaginary balls that – thanks to wizard sound effects – get bigger each time they’re thrown. Aided by artful animation, Cat makes the siblings write on walls. They fly kites and indulge in a foot-stomping clap-along with help from the enraptured audience. The deft Cat even does an elaborate balancing act straight out of the book’s famous illustrations, where he dangles all kinds of things from his four busy paws. All this silliness erupts despite the parental-like protests of Erik Strebig’s very judgemental Fish, a grown-up surrogate who the Cat finally puts in his place (without eating!). But even this control-freak invertebrate manages to have fun.
Aiding in the anarchy are merry tricksters Things One and Two (twins Liam and Lily Dahlborn on opening morning). Rug rats in their own right, they expand on Cat’s shenanigans. But, since the show’s theme is responsibility, Cat and his hench-children clean up the mess they’ve made. Little Sally and Boy’s parents need never know about their kids’ wonderful indoor adventures on a soggy afternoon.
Immediately after the show, Cat leads the kids in some interactive games, then signs autographs in the lobby. Nickelodeon or Disney aside, there’s nothing virtual here—no SpongeBob created from pixels. This is real-life theater, an actuality that kids should love forever and never take for granted.
Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat continues through September 1st at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut (map), with performances Saturdays and Sundays at 10am. Tickets are $16-$22, and are available by phone (800-775-2000) or online through Ticketmaster.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at EmeraldCityTheatre.com. (Running time: One hour, including post-show pranks and an autograph session with the Cat himself!)
Photos by Tom McGrath
Michael Richardson (Boy), Danny Taylor (Cat), Erik Strebig (Goldfish), Giselle Vaughn (Little Sally), Liam Dahlborn, Lily Dahlborn, Avery Moss, Jordan Rice, Rachel Spahn, Lily Townsend (Things One and Two)
behind the scenes
Ernie Nolan (director), Robert S. Kuhn (scenic design), D.J. Reed (costume design, prop design), Christian Gero (sound design), Jeff Glass (light design), Navi Afshar (stage manager), Tom McGrath (photos)