An upcoming Thomson High School dinner theater presentation can be described as a play combining the wit of Dr. Seuss with the genius of Shakespeare, said Musical Theater Coordinator Janet Bailey.
The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet scheduled May 5 at 7 p.m. at the high school, is a funny reworking of the tragic Shakespearean love story that features rhyming couplets and creative wordplay in the style of Dr. Seuss.
Teacher Janet Bailey directs performers during practice Monday.
"The entire musical theater class is involved. And Zach Ansley is directing it. He has taken the ball and run with it," Ms. Bailey said.
A senior planning to study music at Augusta State this fall, Zach has embraced the challenge.
"It's going well. It's very funny, and it flows well," he said.
"I try to keep everyone happy. That's a tough job," said Zach, who has studied the script extensively, so he knows every line the young actors speak.
The role of Romeo, played by sophomore Jacob Powers, "is a lot of fun."
"It's different from the traditional version, but it's interesting because of the sheer goofiness of it all," he said, noting the two opposing families in the play are represented by shirts marked with big X's and O's.
The role of Juliet is a departure for sophomore Kimberly Adkins, who is accustomed to more serious roles.
"Juliet is a lot like me - ditzy and obsessive," she said.
Torrey Boyd, a junior, plays the role of Tybalt, a cousin to Lady Capulet.
"It's fun, it's free, it's expressive," said Torrey, an experienced actor.
Michael Howard sings during practice.
Junior Courtney Hampton guides the audience through the production with the prologue as well as the alternate ending, another twist to the classic version of Romeo and Juliet.
"I set the scene with a relaxed, funny demeanor," said Courtney, who has appeared in musicals both last year and this year.
During the dinner theater, audience members can dine on a catered meal of poppy seed chicken and several side items while listening to some Shakespearean songs presented by the Thomson Singers, members of the chorus class at the school.
Though student involvement is heavy, teachers have joined the effort, too, and some will be appearing in the play while others have volunteered to be servers during the meal.
Written by Peter Bloedel, the play calls for bright, colorful props in the style of Dr. Seuss, but also features some traditional Shakespearean items like classic hats, Ms. Bailey said.
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $12-14 for special seats and are available at the high school.