Tomorrow, March 2nd, would have been Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss‘s, 108th birthday. Though Geisel died in 1991, he still manages to maintain cultural relevancy in 2012. Universal Studios’ 3-D, CGI interpretation of his environmentally concious 1971 book “The Lorax” is currently playing in theaters around the country, his books still top children’s best-seller lists and there are dozens of theatrical adaptations of the Seuss-themed Broadway musical “Seussical” being produced all over the country by independent theater groups. The National Education Association even honored Geisel by adopting his birthday as the annual Read Across America Day.
Here’s an excerpt from the original, animated version of “The Lorax.”
Many of us were raised on his books and parents continue to read Dr. Seuss books to their children on a regular basis. I know I do. There’s just something about the playful, surreal world that Dr. Seuss creates that’s irresistible and he still manages to spark my imagination, even with books I’ve read a thousand times. It’s exciting to see that same excitement and curiosity when I read his books to my son.
The Cinefamily in Los Angeles is celebrating Seuss’ birthday this Saturday, March 3rd with “Seussapalooza!” showing vintage, 16mm animations of his most beloved characters like The Cat in the Hat and the Sneetches. In addition to the animation, they’ll be screening the only feature-length, live-action film that Dr. Seuss lent his hand to: “The 5,000 Fingers of Doctor T” (1953).
And for the planners out there, we also have a few upcoming events that promise to take audiences into the weird and wondrous world of Dr. Seuss:
Friday, March 9 I MTC’s Horton Hears a Who Loomis, California A mini version of Dr. Seuss’ beloved book and an introduction to McLaughlin Theatre Company’s main stage production of Seussical the Musical coming this April.
Saturday, May 12 I The Lorax & Sneetches and Other Stories Auburn, Washington Book-It All Over has been given the rare opportunity to bring Dr. Seuss to life. Join them on a fanciful journey where they’ll explore our responsibility to our environment and one another through Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax and The Sneetches and Other Stories.” In “The Lorax,” Dr. Seuss implores us to take care of our planet. We meet the fuzzy yellow Lorax who warns against the taking of the Truffula Trees. In the end, the future of the land rests in the hands of one little boy who holds the last remaining Truffula Tree seed. In “The Sneetches and Other Stories,” we meet the loveable Sneetches and their encounter with Sylvester McMonkey McBean, the Fix-it-up Chappie, and learn about the pointlessness of prejudice.
Friday, June 8 I Seussical Seattle, Washington Written by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, “Seussical” brings to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie, and a little boy with a big imagination Jojo. We journey with the colorful characters as they transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos. The story centers around Horton the Elephant, who finds himself faced with a double challenge – not only must he protect his tiny friend Jojo (and all the invisible Whos) from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him, the only one who recognizes “his kind and his powerful heart.” Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant, in a story that makes you laugh and cry. Tickets for this event will go on sale March 9, 2012!