Musical Mission Tour brings Seussical Jr. to Scranton area youth
DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- It's a long way to Scranton from Indiana.
"It's been a real change of scenery, that's for sure, going from flatlands to mountains in 10 hours," said Ethan Yoder, who plays Horton the Elephant.
But to a group of 40 teenagers... it's worth it.
"I don't have words for it. I get to give love to these children doing something that I love," said Jarynn Sampson, who plays The Sour Kangaroo.
The Musical Mission Tour, made up of middle and high school students from South Bend, has a strong mission: bringing musical theatre to kids who may not otherwise experience it.
"We really like to spread the love and the joy and the happiness and just give them something really fun and fantastical and out of this world for just an afternoon," said Natalie Rarick, who plays Mayzie La Bird.
"It's for underprivileged kids or kids that may not have the chance to go see a Broadway show," said Sampson.
And they do it for free, all week.
Thursday they performed Seussical Jr. to kids at the Greater Scranton Area YMCA.
"It's like Christmas when I give someone a gift. It just feels like they deserve it," said Jack Keilman, who plays Cat in the Hat.
It's a bright show with an even brighter message.
"One of the lines is 'a person's a person no matter how small' or, 'oh the things you can think' and so it's talking about how you can express yourself and how anything's possible," said Sampson.
And for the young actors there's nothing more impactful than performing art.
"It teaches a lot of valuable life lessons like cooperation and teamwork, and it also helps build self confidence," said Yoder.
"In theatre, like a character, you can be whatever you want," said Jasmine White, who plays JoJo.
"It's a really great way to educate people," said Sampson.
"You feel so connected and special and I know all of us have had experiences with kids who've come up to us after a show. One little girl came up to Gabby and said this is the first time she's seen a show," said Rarick.
To get here it took a lot of fundraising and sponsorships - to continue a mission even beyond performance.
"We also volunteer in the area, so we've served at the regional food bank (Weinberg), we worked at United Neighborhood Centers," said Gabby Besse, who plays Gertrude McFuzz.
And as they round out their week of shows, they hope they've left a bit of magic behind.
"I hope that they know they have a voice and anyone in this world can make it to whatever they want to be. And I hope that they know that they're worth it," said Sampson.
While their musical mission is done for the week, the trip isn't over quite yet.
The group will head to New York City on Friday for a bit of Broadway before traveling back to Indiana.