CG artists bring colorful world of Seuss to life

Lights, camera, action…or is it really that simple? The actors and actresses in Cary-Grove musicals can make the shows seem effortless, which makes it easy to overlook the hard work from everyone else involved.

The invisible team with the most visible impact is the set design crew, which won an award from Broadway in Chicago last year for their work. They set a high bar with Evita and this year’s Seussical promises no less of a show than before.

Art teacher Mrs.Guss has been the art director for all CG musicals since the 2006 version of Seussical. The work she oversees is one of the major aspects in making sure the show is of the highest quality. While Mr. Schiestel and his tech crew team build the props, she and her small group of students begin to work their magic.

The group based all of their designs on Suess’s books to stay true to his style. They also used Pinterest to find ideas for how to translate them to the stage.

“The easy part is the outlining with the black lines,” Mrs. Guss said of painting the set. “The hard part is the little separate pieces.”

Another difficulty is the time frame. The musical has several intricate time-consuming smaller props that have to be painted and completed before the deadline. Working under pressure is part of the job description, and no one handles it better than Mrs. Guss and her group of artists.

Set design may not be for everyone, but it gives young artists valuable experience in an artistic field that has stood the test of time. Popular musicals, such as Hamilton, Be More Chill, and Dear Evan Hansen are hugely profitable and employ large staffs.

Set design still exists as a viable occupation to this day. Artists are able to find careers in production, and Mrs. Guss said CG musicals are no exception.

Because the process is so laborious, most people opt out of set production and design. Mrs. Guss doesn’t deny that it can be hard work, but also describes how rewarding it can be.

“You have to truly love your work,” she said. “You have to enjoy the end result, because once the show is done its gone.”

Those happiest participating know to enjoy their work even if it can be tedious. They learn to love what they do because their work may only be shown for a few productions. The joy is in the process, they learn. Because if there is no joy, then there is no point to the process.