By Sarah Griego Guz
The curtain rose on Sea Crest’s “Seussical” as whimsical monkeys, kangaroos and birds with feather boa tails bounded across the stage to the tunes of “Biggest Blame Fool” and “Solla Sollew.”
The triumph of Friday’s final production was the culmination of three months of hard work by both middle and lower school students as well as the effort and dedication of parent and community volunteers.
On stage, seasoned veteran Kai Guevara shined as Horton, the sensitive elephant who hears a sound coming from a speck of dust.
Guevara along with Macy Chase, who played Jo Jo, the mayor’s daughter residing on said speck of dust, belted out “Alone in the Universe,” executing every note perfectly.
Among many other notable moments were the appearances of the whimsical Wickersham Brothers, a band of monkeys determined to swipe Horton’s speck.
Monkeys Connor Johnstone, Roman Miele and Guido Togliatti infused humor and a bit of acrobatics into the roles, inducing many a giggle and grin from the audience.
“I thought the performance was amazing,” said technical adviser Andrew Geller. “It was a nice experience doing it at the school, having everybody here. Caleb Goh and Marcus Cooper have prepared these kids extremely well.”
Geller, who has two children who have graduated from Sea Crest, considers the annual event to be a rite of passage for students.
Indeed, as the eighth-graders tearfully take their final bow on the middle school stage, elementary-age children are getting their first taste of the spotlight by participating in bit parts that contribute to the flavor of the show.
Johnny Brozovich is ready for his cue as sea crest School students put on a musical based on the work of Dr. Seuss
Middle-school pupils are given two options when it comes to the musical. Those who hope to feel the warm glow of the show’s spotlight can take a trimester-long exploration and are assigned a part and then set about preparing for the performance. Others can choose to work behind the scenes, constructing stage sets and crafting props or controlling the light and sound.
Lead light board operator Finn La Guardia is one of those kids. He learned how to effectively operate the light control panel.
On Thursday, he was preparing to put what he learned into practice.
“I was talking to Johnny over the headset,” he said, pointing to where fellow student Johnny Brozovich was safely perched on a scaffold. “It’s fun. All I really need to do is tell him when he needs to do the spotlights.
“I’ve really learned how to use the equipment a lot better,” he continued. “This is an older light board. The new one is a lot more complicated, so this one is pretty easy.”
“Finn La Guardia is doing a great job and is very engaged,” said Bo Putnam.
Behind the scenes, Andrew Geller, Bo Putnam, Marcus Cooper and Matthew Cerza work to make Sea Crest’s “Seussical” a success.
Putnam, who has a granddaughter in third grade at Sea Crest, volunteered to be the sound technician.
“Finn will be wearing a headset, the guy up there will be wearing a headset, and they’ll talk the entire show,” he continued. “Sometimes I pick up the phone and they’re jabbering. It’s fine because that’s how production works.”
La Guardia is no stranger to the stage. His mother, Greet Jasparert, is highly regarded in the local theater community and has produced her fair share of plays. For “Seussical,” Jasparet helped craft the set as well as advise on prop design.
And speaking of props, one of the highlights was the extra large helicopter hat worn by the Cat in the Hat, who served as a sort of emcee, effortlessly tying all the scenes together.
The contraption, consisting of a large propeller attached to a blue and red dome hat, had been created on the Innovation Lab’s 3-D printer by Kai Lin, a sixth-grader at Sea Crest School.
Sea Crest instructors Khalid Birdsong and Patrick Neary guided Lin and his fellow creators in the art of crafting props of all types.
As opening day neared, Putnam graciously donated a sizable chunk of his time to ensure the sound was up to par.
Putnam, who has worked as a sound technician for the Pescadero Art and Fun Festival and was on tour for eight years with Melvin Seals and Jerry Garcia Band, was instrumental in making sure all the hard work wasn’t lost due to subpar sound.
“I carved out the week and as we got into it,” said Putnam. “You have a little bit of a skill set and you want to help the kids.”
“The volunteers, kids and parents, everyone put in a lot of time, but, as you can see from tonight, it was well worth it,” said Geller after Friday’s final curtain call.