Seussical the musical interview

Seussical the musical celebrates all that is wonderful about Dr. Seuss and his books. We talk to Jordan Veloso, who plays JoJo in the show

Seussical the musical interview

What is it about Dr. Seuss that children love?
The world of Dr. Seuss is one that I think is loved as much by adults as by children. It’s such a fun, universal collection of stories with memorable characters, morals and jump-off-the-page illustrations. The rhyming of the stories also helps children to connect and have fun whilst reading them, discovering what else words can do. 

Which Dr. Seuss books are in the musical?
The main story in the musical is Horton Hears A Who, where Horton meets the “Who’s”, a village of people from Whoville who live on a spec of dust that Horton then places on a clover to look after, but none of the jungle animals believe him and.... I won’t tell you anymore! All this is narrated by The Cat In The Hat. Also Horton Hatches the Egg, McElligot’s Pool, Yurtel the Turtle, Green Eggs, I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew, Oh The Thinks You Can Think and even The Grinch appear in the show. So there’s a full combination of all the stories.

Where do the cast come from?
Most of us are all professional actors living in London, but are from all over the UK/world. I’m originally from the small island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, so I know exactly what it’s like to live on a small world, like Whoville!  

Is Seussical a fun production to work on?
One of the most fun productions I’ve ever worked on; how could you not have fun working on such a feel good show? As I mentioned earlier, it’s so good for adults as well as children. The story and characters are deep enough to really get into, but fun enough to have a great time with. 

Other than the UAE, where else are you touring?
We have three-week rehearsal period before heading off to a week in Bridlington in the north east of England, then onto Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE and then a week in Singapore with the show. We’re all very excited to share this story with such a variety of audiences. 

Is this the first time the production has been to the Middle East?
It is! Last year, the show went over to Hong Kong for a week after being in the West End for two years. This year will be the first time in the Middle East. 

In terms of audience, who’s everyone’s favourite character and why?
Everyone loves Horton the Elephant - the loveable, slow and picked-on protagonist. He asks the children for lots of help along the way, so they can really connect to his hard and emotional journey through the story. 

What about the cast, who is there favourite?
I think secretly we’d all love to play either Mayzie La Bird or the Sour Kangaroo, the two divas of the show who get some brilliant numbers and costumes. But I’m pretty sure that JoJo (my character) is 100 percent everyone’s favourite... Yep, definitely!

Did you read the Dr. Seuss books as a child? If so, who was your favourite character and why?
Funnily enough I didn’t, and I’ve already told my mum off for not introducing me to them from an early age. The wonderful thing about these stories is, I don’t feel I missed out on any magic because I can still see that now in Dr. Seuss’ writing. 

Do you have a favourite scene in the show?
I love McElligot’s pool, where JoJo jumps into his imagination and the whole stage becomes his thoughts; Sailing through the water, seeing all these wonderful ideas, even though actually he’s sat in his bathtub! 

What about your favourite line?
I get to shout a huge YOP! at the end of the show, I won’t tell you why I do it, or what it is for but that’s my favourite!  

How do you keep it fresh, when you’re performing the same scenes night after night?
When an actor gets a smaller tour or a gig compared to a year long contract, keeping it fresh isn’t really a problem personally, in fact we want to do it more and for longer than the contract! In our three weeks of rehearsal, we’ll find moments that we can connect to from personal feelings and emotions and use these to be able to connect to the story we’re telling every night. This technique, alongside having lots of fun and getting all the dances and songs in our muscle memory means we can play it as if it’s the first time everything is happening! 

Seussical the Musical. Tickets from Dhs135. Oct 29-30, various times. The Madinat Theatre, Jumeirah. (04 366 6546).

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