The Whimsical “Seussical the Musical” Makes its way to the Bama Theatre

27 Feb 2018 Colton Crowe
The ACT's Joey Lay (Horton the Elephant) rehearses a scene from "Seussical the Musical" with Maggie Butler (Gertrude McFuzz). The ACT's Joey Lay (Horton the Elephant) rehearses a scene from "Seussical the Musical" with Maggie Butler (Gertrude McFuzz). Colton Crowe

Do you remember the fun, colorful books by Dr. Seuss? Well, some of his characters, like the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, and more will be making their appearance in the Actor’s Charitable Theatre’s production of Seussical the Musical at the Bama Theatre in downtown Tuscaloosa, March 2-5.

Based on the children’s books by Dr. Seuss, Seussical the Musical is the story told by the Cat in the Hat of Horton the Elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing a small community known as the Whos. On his journey, he is faced with many other challenges as his story becomes intertwined with characters like the Sour Kangaroo, Mayzie La Bird, and the fearless Gertrude McFuzz. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, and community are tested but are restored in the end.

Maggie Butler, ACT newcomer and student at the University of Alabama, will be starring as Gertude McFuzz. She says she relates to the character on many levels.

“Gertrude is this sort of hopeless romantic that keeps on going despite her clumsiness and awkwardness,” Butler said.

Butler hopes that audiences will be able to relate to characters like Gertrude.

“I hope that when people come to see Seussical, they realize that friendship and imagination will overcome all the hate and wrong in the world,” she added.

Starring as Horton the Elephant is the artistic director of the Actor’s Charitable Theatre (ACT), Joey Lay. This is his second time playing the beloved elephant where he first appeared in Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre production of Seussical the Musical 10 years ago.

Lay says that this go-around as Horton is much different because of his role as a father where his two-year-old daughter will also be starring in the production.

“I see Horton like a dad who would do anything and sacrifice anything to protect those he loves,” Lay said. “It’s a beautiful story of love, sacrifice, and compassion. “

Like Lay, his wife, Alisha Lay, who is serving as both director and choreographer, is also familiar with Seussical the Musical, having choreographed it 10 years ago with Joey as Horton.

“Bringing Seussical back to life 10 years later, my goal was to take it to a completely different place,” Lay said.

According to Lay, she expects audiences to walk away feeling renewed and hopeful.

“I think the themes of Seussical are pertinent in any climate, but certainly right now,” Lay said. “These lessons of compassion, loyalty, and determination have even more levels of meaning now that I see them from a mother’s perspective.”

For this production, the ACT will be partnering with the charity Success by Six. This particular charity is associated with the United Way of West Alabama, and its main focus is to provide services and other resources to children who are at risk. For more information, please visit or call 205.345.6640.

Seussical the Musical will be performed on March 2 at 7:30pm, March 3 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, March 4 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm and March 5 at 7:30pm, with tickets ranging from $14 to $18. For more information or to order tickets go to or call 205.393.2800.

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