OA: Children audition for upcoming ‘Seussical Jr.’
Jaxon Monroe, 6, might have the advantage here — he did Shakespeare as a kindergartner.
“Seussical Jr.” has nothin’ on that.
“He’s just excited to be part of something fun like this,” said his mom, Connie Monroe, at the recent auditions for Creative Avenue’s production of “Seussical Jr.”
Monroe watched her son through the studio window. When his directors/teachers weren’t looking, Jaxon made funny faces at his giggling baby sister, who was with his mother.
“Seussical Jr.” won’t be on stage until spring, but the directors must start preparing early if they’re going to teach all the kids all the songs plus the choreography.
“You know who Dr. Seuss is, riggghttt?” Kelly Asuka, musical director, asked of the more than 30 kids ages 5 to 17 at the auditions.
“Yes!” the kids replied, nodding their heads vigorously and raising their hands in the air.
“Dr. Seuss stories are kinda crazy,” Asuka said.
The kids screamed, “Right!”
Everyone warmed up their voices by singing “Happy Birthday” five different ways: loud, quiet, high pitched so on and so forth, and they mimicked the sound of police sirens.
Then they sang the line “Oh, the things you can think when you think about Seuss,” with a lot of emphasis on the Seuss.
After singing in smaller groups, each child stood in front of the class and said their name, age, what school they go to and their favorite color.
Occasionally, a nervous first-grader froze on the name of their school or forgot to say that they like the color ocean blue or lime green or hot pink.
As each spoke, director and choreographer Dana Schmidt, in a very loving sort of way, said things such as, “Good, now will you take that sticker off your forehead” or “stand still, put your hands down to your side.”
Right before one girl was about to say her name, Jaxon squished up his nose and said, “I smell something.” He was hushed and got away with it, as only a little boy wearing a shirt with a giant cobra on it can do.
Jaxon had also practiced his singing and dance moves, apparently.
Jaxon didn’t just “5-6-7-8 step, touch, step, touch, circle, circle, circle” as the instructor told the group to do.
He stepped, circled and then dropped to a push up or slid across the floor in a karate pose.
Jaxon’s enthusiasm for the audition was right up there with 8-year-old Gillian Aker’s.
“I’ve been in tons of plays before,” she said after the audition. “I’d like to play JoJo. It’s such a fun experience being a different type of person than you are.”
In the past at Creative Avenues, Gillian was in “Peter Pan” and played Mowgli in “The Jungle Book.”
“I tend to hurt myself,” Gillian later confessed. “Sometimes I can be really active. I like chasing boys.”
Girls out numbered the boys four to one at the audition.
Gillian’s older sister, Maria Nappi, 14, also auditioned for “Seussical Jr.”
“It’s neat to see my kids do this,” said the girls’ mother, Amy Carmichael.
The audition ended with the directors reminding everyone of the rules.
No. 1: Each child must be picked up by a parent.
No. 2: No gum.
No. 3: Keep hands to yourself.
A hand shot up, and a girl asked, “Can we do gymnastics?”