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Branksome Hall News

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think: Branksome Hall presents Seussical

Fall 2022 marked the start of Branksome Hall’s first fully in-person school year since 2019. Many beloved school events that were paused due to the pandemic have resumed, including the popular Grades 7–12 fall theatre production. On November 30 and December 1, 2022, Branksome’s talented Senior & Middle School thespians and musicians performed Seussical the Musical, a show that brings the beloved stories of Horton Hears a Who and Horton Lays an Egg by Dr. Seuss to life on the big stage. 
In the musical’s story, The Cat in the Hat tells the tale of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust that contains the Whos, a group of tiny, intelligent creatures. Horton faces a double challenge: not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and even a trial, the powers of friendship, loyalty, community and family emerge triumphant. 
The community excitedly gathered at Meridian Arts Centre to watch as the dedicated team of students and teachers put on an unforgettable show. Seussical’s Musical Director, Adam Despinic, shared what it was like seeing the actors and orchestra work together onstage: “After many rehearsals, it felt amazing to see so many students working together to deliver a stellar performance. I am so proud of how they were able to adjust to each other and communicate the musical's message as one.” 
Angela David, Instructional Leader of the Arts at Branksome Hall, expressed her pride in the work the students put into making Seussical: “I was so impressed by our Branksome Hall students' professionalism and passion. Everyone in the pit, on stage and backstage collaborated with others, and many new friendships blossomed.”
From the second week of September to the day of the show’s premiere, Seussical members prepared for the musical’s performances. Students and faculty attended rehearsals early in the morning, after school and even on weekends. “The Branksome Hall Arts community pulled together to put on an ‘Amayzing’ show and should take a tremendous amount of pride in all they were able to accomplish in only 12 weeks. Without their passion, commitment and hard work, Seussical would not have been possible,” remarked Amy Helsby, the show’s Director. “It was truly an ensemble performance—both on and off the stage—and I really enjoyed watching the older students mentor the younger ones, developing bonds as a 'stage family.' Seeing them take ownership for their roles by performing with such confidence and conviction was really special.”
The orchestra was especially impressive. The 18 Senior School musicians rehearsed tirelessly as they learned a plethora of arrangements, most never having heard the songs before their participation in Seussical. “The pit-orchestra musicians not only learned all of their very difficult notes, rhythms and musical intentions, but they created a musical community where they supported each other and grew together,” noted Mr. Despinic.
Mariana Aitken, the musical’s Choreographer, praised the actors’ dedication to learning Seussical’s many dance numbers: “The effort and commitment the students put into learning their dances was phenomenal to see, as many of them were not dancers to begin with.” With Seussical’s odd rhythms and irregular beats, learning a full show’s worth of steps was no easy feat.
With the curtain now closed and the 2022 fall theatre season coming to an end, Branksome Hall congratulates all of the talented members of the Seussical team. While the community yearns for an encore performance, remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
We wish to acknowledge this land on which Branksome operates. For thousands of years, it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work and go to school on this land.

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