YHS Drama Club brings classic Dr. Seuss stories to the stage

‘Seussical: The Musical’ kicks off this week with five dates


The Yelm High School Drama Club’s spring musical explores a journey from the Jungle of Nool near the River Waloo to the town of Whoville. 

The club’s first production of the year is “Seussical The Musical,” a musical comedy featuring the works of Dr. Seuss.

Led by teacher and first-year director Dale Sharp, the drama club has been preparing for “Seussical” since November. Before their first show, Friday, Feb. 23, students will perform 30-minute previews of the musical at the DoDEA conference and at various elementary schools in the district. The cast is made up of more than 30 students, with more than 12 working backstage on the production side.

Sharp chose “Seussical: The Musical” for his first production as the director because he wanted a show that would entertain the entire community, particularly elementary students. YHS is home to the only full-fledged theater program in the district, he said.

“I wanted to pick something that brought the arts to the elementary schools. I think that having the arts, and especially theater for the youth, is something so magical and transformative,” Sharp said.

Adrian Roberto, who plays Horton the Elephant, and Alex Goodrich, who plays the Cat in the Hat, are not only two of the leads in the show but are also nationally recognized theater students. For the first time, YHS competed at the state thespian conference, and Roberto and Goodrich qualified nationally for the International Thespian Society and will compete at the Washington State Thespian Festival in Ellensburg on March 15.

“This show has really helped me with the movement and really learning how to perform. I’ve learned a lot about that from Dale,” Roberto said.

Mackenzie Cornwall, who plays Gertrude McFuzz, said she has loved “Seussical: The Musical” since she was about 3 years old and is working with her third different director since joining the drama club.

“It’s really cool to see how much this program has grown through the changing directors. There’s a lot of people I was talking to who didn’t get the role they wanted but love the role they got and are glad they were put there,” Cornwall said. “Dale is very compassionate with every person. You know that he knows the right thing to do.”

Sharp said directing has been a challenge after spending a couple of years as an assistant, but “Seussical,” a show in which he performed in high school and college, has allowed him to grow with his students.

“It is very scary, but you can’t grow without a little bit of fear or stepping into the uncomfortable zone,” Sharp said. “I’m always willing to step into that zone because it pushes myself, and it teaches the kids that it’s OK to take risks and grow.”

Sharp added that he took risks in his casting for the show, choosing students based on their heart and passion, sometimes over their vocal abilities showcased in the auditions.

“It oftentimes is very hard to pick a person who maybe doesn’t have the most beautiful voice at that time, but when you see that heart and the passion, and if it connects to my vision of what I see a character to be, I took that risk because I wanted somebody to believe in them like I was believed in by my high school teacher,” he said.

“Seussical: The Musical” is an opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy a light-hearted production full of imagination and comedy. The cast, however, also wants the community to know of Yelm’s rich collection of talent.

“It’s amazing that we have the stage and the platform to showcase the talent here,” Roberto said. “Yelm as a town should look our way because we are coming.”

The musical will open at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 23, at Yelm High School, with doors opening for seating at 6:30 p.m. Additional performances begin at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, Thursday, Feb. 29, Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2. The Saturday performances also feature matinees that begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students, military and seniors.

To purchase tickets, visit https://gofan.co/app/school/WA23372.