Wendy Killeen | People

Seuss on the loose

Email|Print| Text size + By Wendy Killeen
November 18, 2007

Neverland Theatre celebrates its 18th season and 86th production with "Seussical: The Musical," today.

The show is based on the stories and characters of Dr. Seuss, with The Cat in the Hat serving as emcee.

The large cast includes Jack Moriarty as The Cat in the Hat, Kevin LaCount as Horton; and Anastas Varinos as Jo-Jo.

The show is directed by Neverland founder Andrew Diskes, with musical direction by Jose Perez, and choreography by Mariana Diskes. Neverland Theatre is based in Hamilton.

The performance begins at 4 p.m. at the Beverly Memorial Building Auditorium, 502 Cabot St., Beverly. Tickets are $20 for seating in the first six rows; $16.50 for regular seating. Call 978-948-7925 or visit Tickets are also available at the door within 30 minutes of show time.

WRITER REMEMBERED: The legacy of the late Virginia Lee Burton, a children's book author and illustrator and textile designer, is well known on Cape Ann, where she lived and worked. Now, word is spreading.

Burton is the subject of a new film documentary presented in Gloucester Saturday and on WGBH, Channel 44, on Dec. 30, 7 p.m.

"Virginia Lee Burton: A Sense of Place," by Christine Lundberg and Rawn Fulton, with music composed and performed by Steven Schoenberg, and narration by Lindsay Crouse, makes its world premiere at the Cape Ann Historical Museum Saturday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Burton's books, "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel," published in 1939, and the Caldecott Medal-winning "The Little House," from 1942, are still in print and enjoyed by early readers. Burton's illustrations and use of color, space, typeface, and design were a departure from the European picture books prevalent in the 20th century.

In 1941, Burton established Folly Cove Designers, a textile collective on Cape Ann. Based on Burton's theories, the textiles were recognized nationally and internationally for charting a new direction in American design and were included in major arts and crafts exhibitions of the 1940s and 1950s.

The collective disbanded a year after Burton's death in 1968, but its legacy lives on. The Cape Ann Historical Museum has a large collection of Folly Cove fabrics, clothing, wallpaper, and artifacts. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York also include Folly Cove fabrics in their textile collections.

Crouse, an Academy Award-nominated actress, summered on Cape Ann as a teenager and learned block printing from the Folly Cove designers.

Saturday's screenings are free, but reservations are required. Call 978-283-0455 or visit

RETURN TO OLDE SALEM: The Salem Theatre Company presents "The Crucible" today and next weekend.

The play, based on the Puritans of Salem Village during the witch hysteria of 1692, features a cast of 19 local actors, ranging in age from 12 to 76.

"I believe we have a cast of actors and designers that will help us do justice to this amazing story about failed justice in Salem more than 300 years ago," said John Fogle, director and president of the Salem Theatre Company board.

Performances are today, 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; and next Sunday, 7 p.m., at the First Church at Salem, 316 Essex St., Salem. Tickets are $18; $15 for senior citizens and students. Call 978-790-8546 or visit

AUTHOR'S CORNER: Judith Jones, who introduced Julia Child and other cookbook authors to America, visits Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport today, 4 p.m. Jones, 83, is a senior editor and vice president at Alfred A. Knopf, where she has worked since 1957. She also is coauthor of three books with her husband, Evan Jones. Her new book, "The Tenth Muse," recounts her experiences moving from bland American food to French cuisine during her postwar years in Paris. Last year, Jones was awarded the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. And this year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

IN LOCAL GALLERIES: Fifty colorful, imaginative, humorous, and elegant masks celebrate the visions of different artists and cultures in "Masks: Changing Faces," in Gallery 280 at the Children's Museum of Portsmouth, N.H., through Dec. 31. . . . The Saltbox Gallery Holiday Show at the Topsfield Fairgrounds wraps up today, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The show features the work of 19 artists who are members of the 19-year-old cooperative gallery in Topsfield. It includes paintings, jewelry, hand-carved birds, silk scarves, stained glass, and custom furniture. . . . Artists at the Bridge Gallery in Newburyport paint 30-minute portraits, priced from $50 to $75, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Susan Spellman will be at the easel today and next Sunday, while Andrea Holland Hart paints on Saturday and on Dec. 1. For a sitting appointment, call 978-457-0166.

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