photo: Joan Marcus
There's a new Seussical in town that aims to please the peek-a-boo set, and it does: unlike the original Broadway flop of seven years ago, this production (from TheatreWorksUSA) makes a fair amount of demands on a kid's imagination. An open box is a bathtub, a blue blanket is the bathwater overflowing, and so on. Using a revised book that cuts a handful of musical numbers and trims away a subplot or two, this production clocks in at an intermissionless eighty minutes, which is just about right to hold the attention of New York's littlest theatregoers. Anyone older than that will notice that the musical doesn't have much distinctively Seussian flavor - it's especially disappointing that the songs rarely approximate the wonderfully catchy rhythms of the books. (It needs to be said, also, that this production uses pre-recorded music) Still, the cast (of twelve, ambitious by TheatreWorksUSA standards) is eager to please and succeeds at performing for children without condascending to them, and the production is energetic and imaginative enough to ensure that kids will have a good time. Parents do have at least one reason to be happy: all tickets are free of charge, distributed at the box office one hour prior to each performance.