July 17, 2023

College interns pull double duty during Seussical the Musical

Theatre production of Seussical the Musical

Working as set designers, builders, and painters during the day and playing major roles in the Summer Theatre production of Seussical the Musical held Friday through Sunday inside the Robert Brown Theatre, college interns pulled double duty to make the Musical a success.

Cowley College student Amilia Baca was in charge of set design, Patrick Burgess-Clark handled lighting design, Peyton Williams was in charge of sound design, Alicia Hunter and Gwyneth Abrams handled costume design, and Micah Whitely was in charge of prop design.

Ark City’s Brynlea Watkins did the choreography. State Fair College’s Amolie Stoermer handled makeup design. The remaining college interns worked as carpenters, painters, etc. 

Students managed all aspects of show creation, from costuming to scenic design to lighting and even choreography. The interns worked with community members to help practice lines, music, and choreography. 

“It was a lot of work for them, but they did it amazingly,” said Jason Huffman, production director. “They were mentors and great role models for the community members in the show.” 

All the colorful creations from the world of Dr. Seuss were on display. The Musical was performed as part of the Cowley Summer Theatre, which is a collaboration of Cowley College and the V.J. Wilkins Foundation.

Seussical the Musical brought together interns from Cowley College (Arkansas City, KS), the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha, WI), and State Fair Community College (Sedalia, MO).

“We received tons of compliments every evening from parents and community members on how great it was to have summer theatre in Ark City and to have productions that include children,” Huffman said. “For me personally, it was amazing to be in charge of directing a production. It was my first show that I have been able to direct since coming to Cowley College. I have directed lots of shows before moving to Ark City, and it was exciting for Seussical to be my first show in the area. Seussical was a perfect choice for the second show for Cowley Summer Theatre; it had amazing roles for our college interns to shine and many roles for the community, and we feel it was hugely successful.”

Huffman hopes that Cowley can continue summer theatre because he considers the College to have one of the strongest community college theatre programs in Kansas. 

“Making theatre available for the community and children helps the college continue serving the community and helps Cowley Theatre to grow our patron base which should turn into larger attendance numbers for our productions and help our recruiting,” Huffman said. “Summer Theatre helps set ourselves apart from everyone else even more.”

A total of 28 students created the world of Dr. Seuss with a deadline of five weeks to put together a show from start to finish; Seventeen were community members who volunteered their evenings to juggle, tap, and parade across the stage, and 11 were collegiate interns as part of Cowley Summer Theatre.
Seussical the Musical began with a familiar red-and-white-striped hat and a curious cat. The Whos of Whoville, including the Grinch, reside on a clover under the watchful eye of Horton the Elephant. With music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, co-conceived by Ahrens, Flaherty, and Eric Idle, Dr. Seuss characters like Gertrude McFuzz and Mayzie La Bird help and hindered Horton in a wacky extravaganza of Circus McGurkus proportions. 

Seussical the Musical was presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). MTI also supplies all authorized performance materials.

Cast List:

Cat in the Hat                    Xavier Huffman*
Jojo                                     Evan Quiett*
Horton                                Colton Smith*
Gertrude                             Gwyneth Abrams*
Mayzie                                Alicia Hunter*
Bird Girl 1                           Amollie Stoermer*
Bird Girl 2                           Kaleyah Evans+
Bird Girl 3                           Shelby Biddle+
Bird Girl 4                           Alice Paton+
Sour Kangaroo                  Brynlea Watkins*
Young Kangaroo               Luxe Espino+
Wickersham  1                  Cambria McKinzie+
Wickersham  2                   Catriona McKinzie+
Wickersham  3                   Charlie McKinzie+
Wickersham  4                    Zoey McNulty+
Jungle Citizen/Hunch        Alejandra Mendez+
Jungle Citizen/Hunch        Cara Cales+
Cadet/Circus Member       Journey Dykes+
Cadet/Circus Member       Felicity Dykes+
Yertle/Grinch/General        Micah Whitley*
Mr. Mayor                             Ethan Courter*
Mrs. Mayor                           Reese Pappan+
Who/Circus Member          Zoe Kerwood+
Who/Circus Member          Aria Ripley+
Who/Circus Member          Hadleigh Smyel+
* - Denotes College Intern
+ - Denotes Community Member
Creative Team
Nick Albrecht – Cowley Summer Theatre Artistic Director
Jason Huffman – Director, Technical Director, Projection Design
MJ Harper – Music Director
Brynlea Watkins – Choreographer
Gwyneth Abrams – Costume Design
Alicia Hunter – Costume Design
Amolie Stoermer – Makeup/Hair Design, Costumes
Michah Whitely – Props
Xavier Huffman – Set construction, Paint crew
Colton Smith – Set Construction, Props, Paint crew
Ethan Courter – Set Construction, Props, Paint crew
Amilia Baca – Scenic Design, Paint Design, Stage Manager
Peyton Williams – Sound Design & sound Board Op, Props, Paint Crew, Set Construction
Patrick Burgess-Clark – Lighting Design, Fly Rail Op, Set Construction, Paint Crew

Rama Peroo | Director of Institutional Communication
Cowley College
125 S. 2nd Street
Arkansas City, KS 67005