Yesterday, as most of you know, was Father’s Day. You may not know that it was also the day of the final performance of Central Mass OnStage‘s production of Seussical: The Musical. And all of this is relevant because, for me, it was also my first time seeing my father perform on stage – talk about a Father’s Day treat!
My father and I have always been fans of the theater – as an English major, of course the best things for me were always the intricacies of the plot lines, songs, script and basically just losing myself in a good story that happened to be right in front of my eyes for a change. My father, who has done a lot of woodworking, has always been fascinated with the set design and not too long ago, after years of saying, “I wonder how they built that,” he joined the ranks of Central Mass On Stage as a set designer. Meanwhile, I spent college getting my kicks in reviewing plays for my school newspaper and thus, we were both happy.
Then this year he really knocked my socks off – he told me he’d auditioned for Seussical a musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss, and he was going to be in the play! I’d never known acting held any appeal for him, so you can imagine I was surprised and elated! My father is a man who never ceases to amaze me, he’s proved to me countless times that anything is possible, with time and hard work. It always amazes me the things we can do when we put our minds to it (oh the thinks you can think) – and it really is never too late to try something you’ve always wanted to do (like approaching your long time crush of an elephant). So it was truly fitting that his acting debut be in Seussical, a musical which seemed to frequently announce that “anything’s possible” along with the general theme of learning to believe in yourself and the world around you.
Seussical was in a word, outstanding. The cast was incredible – from the big parts like the Cat in the Hat, played by Brian Scannell, to the little parts like young Paul Farrell who played a tiny elephant bird hatched by Horton the Elephant (Jim Catapano) for the bird, Mayzie (played by Donna Williams) at the tail end of the play. My favorite characters were probably Gertrude McFuzz (played by Stephanie Sarkisian) who really brought to life the story of Gertrude, which I only just recently began reading to my own son; and of course my father, who played a Who from the Whoville military who once dared to have an opinion.
The show tells a story of love, a story of war (over toast!), a story of families, and again, a story of believing. The beloved characters of Dr. Seuss came to life that afternoon to teach (or re-teach) me and the rest of the audience lessons in life with a classic Seuss-like humor and relive some of our favorite stories, and maybe some new ones, too. They made me laugh (a lot) and nearly made me cry a few times as well.
After the play I had a chance to meet some of the cast members and got a peek into the life behind the scenes of Central Mass OnStage. They are a great group of people with a real family oriented mentality. As their website will tell you, “the main goal of CMO is to have fun while providing the whole family with something they can do together… For over 25 years Central Mass Onstage has been bringing families of all shapes and sizes together.” They really are an incredible group of people, giving numerous opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds. I feel privileged in knowing them and proud of my father for being a part of such a great group of thespians.
Next up for CMO will be the production of Life With Father, which according to Wikipedia, “Clarence Day wrote humorously about his father, Clarence “Clare” Day senior to portray a rambunctious, overburdened Wall Street broker who demands that everything from his family should be just so. The more he rails against his staff, his cook, his wife, his horse, salesmen, holidays, his children and the inability of the world to live up to his impossible standards, the more comical and lovable he becomes to his own family who love him despite it all.”