Actor Danny Taylor has learned a thing or two about playing the towering striped hat wearing feline trickster beloved by Dr. Seuss fans.
Based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss, a Chicago run of "The Cat in the Hat" starring Taylor in the title role was so successful on stage for the first half of 2013, Broadway in Chicago is giving the paws that earned so much applause another life on a new stage.
The popular play, originally produced by the National Theatre of Great Britain and adapted by Katie Mitchell, is a treasured new production created by the clever minds at Emerald City Theatre Company that played at the Apollo Theater Jan. 26 until May 19.
With the entire cast along for the ride, the next leg of performances, hosted by Broadway in Chicago at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, will run the entire summer from June 15 to Sept. 1.
"I say my fingerprints are all over this show, because I've been part of this fun experience since we began getting ready for the original run back in November," said Taylor, who graduated from Hope College in Michigan.
"This is a story about learning responsibility and it's perfect for anyone from age 0 and older, with surprises for adults as well."
The show runs about 45 minutes, which includes a "talk back time" with the cast following the 35 minute performance.
Taylor admits there are few ideas he still hopes will be incorporated to this new run.
"I've been trying to convince everyone there should be some moment in the show when my Cat sees a laser light and begins chasing it in circles," Taylor said.
"We'll see what happens. This could still find its way into a scene. It's 'Cat in the Hat,' so anything can happen."
From games and mischief to Thing One and Thing Two, Taylor's Cat brings all sorts of trouble to quiet and boring rainy day for Sally and her brother to have to explain to their mother.
"It's an interactive experience and I've learned from doing performances with young audiences what's thrilling, without being scary, when face to face in full costume," said Taylor, who previously played The Wicked Witch of the West on stage in "The Wizard of Oz."
"And we use our own students from our Emerald City Theatre summer camp programs to play the parts of Thing One and Thing Two."
He said since audiences are encouraged to arrive early and invited to be part of pre‐show activities, excitement levels are high by show's start.
"Broadway In Chicago is excited to continue their partnership with Emerald City Theatre. We love bringing families and young audiences to the Broadway Playhouse to enjoy and share theatrical memories together," said Eileen LaCario, vice president of Broadway In Chicago.