By Alia Arafeh
Los Gatos Youth Theater (LGYT) is running Raymond J. Fisher Middle School’s spring musical this year. Seussical combines different Dr. Seuss books into a cohesive story that includes many iconic characters, including Horton from Horton Hears a Who, The Cat in the Hat, and the Sour Kangaroos. With 55 students split into the Bird Cast and the Elephant Cast and over 15 crew members, putting the show together is a collaborative and time-consuming process for LGYT’s Artistic Director Heather Stokes, but she is looking forward to the kids getting to finally perform after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic.
Stokes worked to put on the show – her third time directing Seussical, and her 21st year with Fisher Middle School – and also holds private music lessons in addition to directing. The former Broadway star is in charge of everything, from allocating tasks to different parent volunteers, picking the production, casting roles, and more. As she explained, “everything you see on stage, I am in charge of.” Working along with Stokes, stage director Patrick Gammon, a student at Santa Clara University; LGHS’s own Sonali Muthukrishnan, the assistant director; and Samara Yellin, choreographer and senior at Archbishop Mitty High School, facilitate rehearsals and help the students learn their parts. While Yellin is the current choreographer, Wendy Meyer, the dance teacher at Fisher, created the choreography for the show’s original production.
Each cast performs three times, with the Bird Cast performing Friday, Mar. 25 at 7 PM, Saturday, Mar. 26 at 4 PM, and Sunday, Mar. 27 at 1 PM. The Elephant cast performs Thursday, Mar. 24 at 7 PM and Saturday, March 26 at both 1 PM and 7:30 PM.
Stokes explained the hardships of returning to showbiz following two years of the pandemic: “Coming back from a pandemic and it being the first show in two years, the kids were really tentative, so this experience is different than any other year.” She pointed out that “their presence is much smaller than usual, so [it has] been a new challenge to get everyone out of their shells.” Despite this, the students are excited to be performing and everyone involved cherishes the opportunity to be able to put on a musical.
The spring musical is not the only opportunity for passionate thespians to participate in their craft. LGYT puts on two summer shows and several camps, this year including the Sound of Music for kids aged 7 to 14 and Freaky Friday, for those aged 14 to 19. More information about how to register for these shows and about the camps held by LGYT can be found at lgyt.net.
Fisher Middle School students are excited to perform their musical, and they have been working hard at auditions and rehearsals since January. Be sure to stop by for a performance and support actors and actresses and LGYT.