General Genghis Khan Schmitz
Another highlight was John Campbell’s General Schmitz, military school commander fresh from the “Battle of Butter” whose mere acting talent would have been enough, but his comedic delivery and command of the vocal drill deserve a special salute.
I recently had the chance to join the cast of an already rehearsing production of Seussical, produced by Temecula Fine Arts Network, and wonderfully directed by Brittany Smith Campbell, (no relation). I was just finishing up Urinetown, at the Barn Stage Company, and didn’t think that I would have a enough time to catch up with the rest of the Seussical cast. Thankfully, the role offered of General Genghis Khan Schmitz, wasn’t a large role in the show, but it was a good, fun, and funny role to play.
Coming into the rehearsal, it was clear to me that most of the cast knew their songs and their choreography pretty well, and that I was really going to have to catch up. At the same time, my character was only in a handful of scenes. so I concentrated on what I needed to do to be as good as I could be in those scenes.
The Military Academy is the song that I sing in the show, and it shows General Schmitz to be confident, full of bluster, and a leader of military cadets. His task is to see if he can transform Jojo, wonderfully performed by Sean Barnett, and the central character in Seussical, from a day dreaming boy, whose imagination runs wild, into a decisive, and well-disciplined young fighting man. It’s a very funny scene, since the nature of Dr. Seuss’s characters are all very colorful, and more than a little over the top. So I had fun with it.
Later in the show General Schmitz leads Jojo, and the other military cadets into the Butter Battle, where Jojo decides that he doesn’t want to be a part of this war, and decides to run away from his patrol, into a minefield, where General Schmitz thinks Jojo has died. This causes General Schmitz to re-evaluate what he’s been doing, teaching kids about fighting, and war, especially when he has to tell Jojo’s parents, in Whoville, about Jojo’s death in the minefield. It’s not a long scene, but it does show some transition in the character of General Schmitz, and in its way, is a little thought-provoking.
I knew nothing about Seussical, before being cast in the show. I had never seen the show before, but I found it to be a sweet, colorful, funny, and pleasantly quirky, musical. Like a Dr. Seuss book. The cast was a wonderful group of people to belong to, and I had a good time.