AU Theatre’s ‘Seussical’ Features University Students, Faculty And Community Youth

AU Theatre’s ‘Seussical’ Features University Students, Faculty And Community Youth

1/19/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University Department of Theatre presents its final main stage show for the 2017-2018 season with “Seussical,” the musical based on the works of Dr. Seuss. With music and lyrics by the award-winning team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, the Ashland production is directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Dr. Teresa Durbin-Ames with musical direction by guest artist Brian Nabors, director of Choral Activities for Shelby City Schools. 

With 30 in the cast including 19 university students, an AU history professor and 10 community youth, performances are slated for Feb. 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. along with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 18, in Hugo Young Theatre. 

One of the most performed shows in America, “Seussical” is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza for the whole family. All of the favorite Dr. Seuss characters are brought to life, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination – Jojo. 

With the season theme of “Building Bridges,” AU Theatre is striving to provide opportunities to better understand ourselves and others with performances that encourage dialogue about challenges in the world today. “Seussical” does this by weaving a story of friendship, loyalty and love. Despite all odds, the characters band together to save others and restore peace and unity. The story tells us the power of being unique, and the importance of fighting for your beliefs as stated by Horton, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

The Cat in the Hat, played by freshman Emily Schordock (Westlake), guides us through the story as we meet senior Jake Riley (Wooster) as Horton the Elephant, juniors Maya Rickard (Wooster) as Gertrude MacFuzz and Kathleen Thompson Parker (Ashland) as Sour Kangaroo, along with freshmen Macy Campbell (Genoa) and Gabriella Carr (Pickerington) as Jojo and Mayzie LaBird, respectively. 

AU Professor of History Dr. John Moser joins the cast as General Gengus Khan Schmitz, while freshman Tristan Peterman (Canton), Ethan Tingler (Roseville) and Dave Tomlinson (Sagamore Hills) play The Wickersham Brothers, and Jenny Fleck (Findlay), Chelle Hannah Frye (Danville) and Mia Kardotzke (Clyde) are the Bird Girls. 

Mr. and Mrs Mayor are portrayed by freshman Alyssa Srail (Medina) and sophomore Morgan Tinnirello (Middleburg Heights), respectively; while freshman Will Taylor (Fairborn) plays Vlad Vladikoff, Yertle the Turtle and Grinch. Taylor is joined by fellow freshmen Eric Breeden (Medina) and AnnMarie Hill (Mansfield) along with seniors Jessica Dupee (Wellington) and Megan Harvey (Medina) to round-out the chorus of jungle citizens.

Joining the university cast members, 10 area youth will play the roles of Community Whos. Ranging from third through eighth graders, the Community Whos include Richland County resident Rowyn Osborne; and Ashland residents Aaliyah Andreson, Perry Kral and Samantha Steinhauser, who attend Ashland Middle School, Bryce Gray, Rebecca Matz and Ethan Rhine from Taft and Reagan Elementary Schools, along with Abigail Pascarella, Andrew Pascarella and Landon Flint from St. Edward School.   

AU Theatre is proud to host returning guest designers Kimberly Powers (scenic) and Daniel Hobbs (costume). An AU Theatre alumna, Powers, Class of 2001, returns for the second time in as many years with sophomore Ivey Buffenmyer (Ashland) as her assistant designer. Regionally, Powers has designed scenery for Orlando Repertory Theatre (FL), Theatre by the Sea (RI), Northern Stage (VT), and Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (OK), TheatreSquared (AR), among many others. She has been the Resident Set Designer for Ocean State Theatre Company’s inaugural season and for Ohio Light Opera, as well as the first Design Assistant at The Denver Center Theatre Company. Kimberly has also been a freelance scenic artist since 2000 and has worked professionally as a props master, event designer and coordinator, graphic designer, and exhibit designer. She has also taught in the Theatre Departments at Coastal Carolina University, Colby College and The University of Tulsa and is a proud member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. 

Hobbs returns after designing for Almost, Maine and The Autumn Garden for Ashland's 2016-2017 season. He is a freelance costume and scenic designer currently based in NYC. He earned his MFA in production design from Michigan State University, where he collaborated on several world premiere shows. His recent credits include 45 Plays for 45 Presidents for NextStop Theatre in Washington D.C., as well as Anything GoesH.M.S. PinaforeThe Lady of the Slipper, and The Student Prince for the Ohio Light Opera's 2017 season. 

Other production designers include AU Theatre Technical Director J. Michael Desper as the  sound designer; Production Manager Patricia Lanious as the lighting designer along with senior Seth Morrison (Millersburg) as the associate designer; and Katie Zarecki, the guest choreographer. Alumnus Justin Bilewicz is the costume studio manager, and sophomores Nik Demers (Shelby) and Alejandro Ridolfi (Middleburg Heights) are the stage manager and assistant stage manager, respectively. 

Tickets for the performances are: $12 for adult; $10 for senior citizens, AU faculty, staff and alumni; $8 for groups of 10 or more, $5 for children and non-AU students, and $2 for Ashland University students with ID. Patrons are reminded that all ticket holders are invited to the opening night reception with the cast and crew immediately following the Friday, Feb. 16 performance.

To purchase tickets, call the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m.; or purchase online 24/7 at For more information about the department of theatre, visit, find us on Facebook at or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.                                                                                ###