Horton Hears a Who in Hoke Auditorium

April 03, 2017

The CIU Players Perform “Seussical the Musical”

By Janai Tedder

CIU Student Writer

Columbia International University’s Hoke Auditorium was transformed into the world of Dr. Seuss as the CIU players performed “Seussical the Musical.” The spring performance brought to life favorite Seuss characters including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and the Whos of Whoville.

Directed by Henslee Chastain and Jordan Hobbs, The Cat in the Hat tells the imaginative story of Horton, an elephant, who discovers a speck of dust containing the Whos. One particular Who, Jojo, is sent off to military school for thinking too many “thinks.” While Horton is trying to save the Whos, he is also left with the protection of Mayzie’s egg. Despite ridicule, kidnapping and a trial, Horton’s neighbor, Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. 

“We really hope we were able to make imaginative world of Dr. Seuss come alive for our audience,” Hobbs said.

Senior Caroline Crabtree’s favorite character was The Cat in the Hat played by Michael Lanier.

I thought he did a great job at embodying the eccentricity and expression Dr. Seuss has in his books. It was so fun to watch on stage,” Crabtree said.

“The music was great,” junior Grant Shaver said. “I really loved how the music brought out the character’s personalities.”

The cast enjoyed working together and seeing one another perfect individual performances through practice.

“It’s been fun to get to know some of the cast who I’ve never really spent time with before,” Lanier said. “The cast was full of friendly, kind people who are awesome to hang out with.”

For freshman Laura Camplejohn, who sang in the ensemble, this was her first time in a musical. She’s glad director Henslee Chastain and stage manager Jessica Minor persuaded her to audition.

“I’m so thankful they convinced me to try out,” Camplejohn said. “They both encouraged me throughout rehearsals and gave me a lot of confidence.”

However, the play was not without its challenges for the Players. For junior Brandon Bodie, who played Horton, paying attention to the small details was challenging.

“It forced me to be extra attentive and multitask throughout the performance,” Bodie said. “Anytime I was offstage, I was also singing to add depth to the ensemble as well as helping as a stagehand to move set pieces around.”

For Chastain, the experience is one she will always remember.

“Being the director has been humbling, exciting, emotional and fulfilling,” Chastain said. “It has been a unique, creative experience to see my visions come alive on stage and I will forever cherish it.”

Find out more about campus life at CIU. Contact us at (800) 777-2227, yesciu@ciu.edu. You can apply today!