Oh, the Shows They'll Show! 

New Berkeley company thinks of the children

Cobbling together Dr. Seuss classics from Horton Hears a Who! to Green Eggs and Ham into a hodgepodge musical extravaganza, Ragtime and Once on This Island cocreators' Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Seussical the Musical bombed on Broadway back in 2000. Its run stretched to six months only by celebrity stunts such as Rosie O'Donnell taking over the master of ceremonies role of Cat in the Hat from originator David Shiner for a couple of weeks. That hasn't stopped it from a successful second life in small theaters across the country, such as a Contra Costa Christian Theatre production in Walnut Creek just this spring. Now it's the debut offering of Berkeley Playhouse, a professional company geared toward kid-friendly musicals, newly founded by Elizabeth McKoy of children's musical theater troupe Imagination Players. Directed by the Shotgun Players' Kimberly Dooley at Shotgun's shack the Ashby Stage, the Berkeley Playhouse production features Bill Olson as that darned Cat, Brian Herndon as Horton the elephant, Thomas Lynch as General Schmniz, and Julie Kurtz as Mayzie the bird. The company plans to follow it up in February with Rockin' Midsummer, a '50s rock version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Suessical plays Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m., November 8 through December 2 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. Tickets $18-$23, available at 510-665-5565 or BerkeleyPlayhouse.org

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