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Approximate run time: 2 hours, including a 15-minute intermission
Run time and other details are subject to change during rehearsal process.

Children’s Theatre Company and The Old Globe in partnership with The Old Vic Present
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax
Based on the book The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Adapted for the stage by David Greig
Music and lyrics by Charlie Fink
Directed by Max Webster
Choreography by Drew McOnie
Music Direction by Victor Zupanc
Puppet Direction by Finn Caldwell for Gyre & Gimble
Scenic and Costume Design by Rob Howell
A U.S. Premiere by Children’s Theatre Company
Best enjoyed by everyone

The silky soft tufts of the Truffula Trees are the perfect stuffs to knit the perfect Thneeds. But the first chop, chop of the perilous ax, begins the powerful tale of Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. When the last tree of the forest falls, was it worth losing paradise for nothing at all? The most beloved environmental tale of all time, The Lorax will have you singing in Seussian rhyme!

About The Old Globe
The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 80 years. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bright Star, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

About The Old Vic
The Old Vic, under Artistic Director Matthew Warchus, is a place that encourages a new love of theatre, as well as offering a refreshing experience to those who keep coming back for more. It is a theatre steeped in tradition yet still innovating and making history today through a huge variety of output on and off stage which grabs the imagination of the broadest range of people. The Old Vic works with over 10,000 people of all ages and backgrounds each year to unlock creative intelligence through school projects, employability schemes and community engagement.

Performance Description

Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is a musical performed by a large cast with a live orchestra. Set, costumes, and props are elaborate. This production was created in collaboration with the Dr. Seuss Estate and The Old Vic in London, England.

This production takes place on the United Health Group Stage and seats up to 745 people.

Approximate run time: 2 hours including intermission
Run time and other details are subject to change during rehearsal process.

Plot Synopsis

written by Elissa Adams, Director of New Play Development
Edited by Kristina Miller, Senior Audience Services Manager
Be warned: This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers.

A crowd enters the stage and tells the audience about The Once Happy Once-ler, a reclusive man who lives on a dark street in town. In front of his house is a crumbling statue, at the base of which is written the word “Unless.” The crowd pleads with The Once-ler to explain the mystery behind the word. He begins to tell them his story...

When The Once-ler was young, he lived with his family, who owned a moof-muffering mill. They dug moof out of the ground and sold it. It was steady work but never made much money. The young Once-ler never fit in with his family or his moof-muffering neighbors. He was always dreaming up fantastic inventions and wondering if there was something more to life that mining moof. When the day comes that his family is finally very tired of his questions and general dreaminess, they send him off into the world to make his own way. The Once-ler strikes out on his own, full of optimism, taking with him only a set of knitting needles given to him by his granny. After traveling for a long while, The Once-ler sees a beautiful bird fly overhead and decides to follow it. The Swomee Swan leads him into a beautiful valley populated by extraordinary colorful trees. The Once-ler is enchanted by the beauty of the trees, and struck by the softness and lightness of their tufts; he begins to knit a tuft that has blown off the tree (using his granny's knitting needles) into a fantastic fabric/shape he calls a thneed. Wanting to reach the tufts at the very top of one of the trees, The Once-ler chops the tree down. Instantly, there appears a strange orange creature—The Lorax. The Lorax is the protector of the beautiful valley and, in particular, of the trees, which The Once-ler learns are called Truffula Trees. He demands that The Once-ler stop chopping the Truffula trees down. The Once-ler explains to The Lorax that his future depends on being able to make and sell the thneeds he makes from the Truffula tufts. The Lorax gives The Once-ler a tour of the beautiful valley, showing him that it is a perfectly sustained ecosystem of plants and animals and that The Once-ler, should he choose to stay in the valley, will have everything he needs and therefore no reason to chop down Truffula trees and make thneeds. The Once-ler is won over. He decides to stay in the valley and soon he and The Lorax are great friends.

One day, when The Lorax has to leave the valley to go care for other Truffula trees, The Once-ler promises to stay and protect the Truffula trees in the beautiful valley which has been renamed “Once-ler’s Nook.” But soon, a business man comes to the valley and buys The Once-ler’s thneed. The Once-ler convinces himself that he can make money and still take care of the trees; what harm can come of harvesting a few tufts? But, pretty soon, the thneed business begins to grow, and The Once-ler's family moves to the beautiful valley and sets up a thneed knitting factory. More and more Truffula trees are chopped down.

When The Lorax climbs into a tree to enjoy a beautiful sunrise, he sees the devastation that has occurred in the beautiful valley—hardly any trees are left! The Lorax is infuriated and saddened and confronts the now-rich Once-ler. The Once-ler promises The Lorax that he will set up a protected place where no more Truffula trees will be chopped down. But, as the market for thneeds expands and The Once-ler gets caught up in the acclaim he receives for having become such an important business man, he sacrifices the trees he promised The Lorax he would save.

One night, The Lorax and the animals who once made their home in the beautiful valley sneak into the thneed factory to protest The Once-ler's giant thneed operation. The Lorax has even called environmental inspectors to show them the pollution from The Once-ler’s factory. However, The Lorax is no match for the sneakiness of The Onceler or the TV crews and crowds who have come to report on The Once-ler's great enterprise. The Once-ler manages to convince all the people around him that they have no need for nature, just as he did himself. The Lorax disappears, and we soon find out that in the expansion of the thneed business, there is a massive Truffula tree shortage. The Once-ler’s family, now rich from their venture, leaves The Once-ler behind, taking all his money. At that very moment, left alone in his office, The Once-ler finally hears the sickening chop-chop of an axe as the last Truffula tree of the forest is cut down.

The Once-ler, left alone and with nothing, hikes into the valley in search of his friend, The Lorax. He finds The Lorax packing up to leave, after all the animals – Swomee Swans, Barbaloot Bears, and Humming Fish – have left in search of a new home. There are no more animals and no more trees for The Lorax to take care of. Sitting with The Lorax, The Once-ler begins to see for himself the havoc he has wreaked just as The Lorax disappears.

Unable to bear what he has done to his friend and to the beautiful valley he once loved, and no longer able to run his business without any Truffula trees, The Once-ler becomes the recluse we met at the beginning of the play. As he finishes telling his story to the crowd, one of them, a child, asks if it would help to plant a seed. The Once-ler says it would be no use—every seed needs a Lorax to protect it and help it grow—but sends a seed down anyway. The child plants the seed and sits by it through the night. The next morning, a small shoot appears – a very small shoot of a new Truffula tree! The crowd rushes to find The Once-ler and the child, who resolve to both be a Lorax and protect the little tree, because unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Content Advisories: (subject to change as the production goes into rehearsal)

Language: 2 out of 5 
Silly and made up language in the style of Dr. Seuss. "Hell" and "Jerk" as well as bathroom humor are used.

Themes and Situations: 2 out of 5 
All of the truffula trees are cut down. A swan dies. Animals get sick. Once-ler uses the word flask but releals a thermos. 

Violence & Scariness: 3 out of 5 
The Once-ler is seen as only glowing eyes and green hands. The Super Ax Hacker is large and can be intimidating. It is driven by dancers wearing masks who can be intimidating. Once-ler pushes Lorax. Animals hit Once-ler with signs. Once-ler slaps a narrator twice. 

Sensory Advisories: 3 out of 5
The Super Ax Hacker looks like a giant motorcycle that is used to chop down trees. It drives towards the audience and the headlight is shown into the audience. Actors come into the audience. Puppet birds fly above the audience. Once-ler throws a handful of candy into the audience. Stobe lights, sirens and heavy fog are used. Tree chopping, factory noises and musical numbers can be loud. 

Potentially Anxious Moments: 3 out of 5 
Trees are chopped down by the Super Ax Hacker, the Once-ler appears as glowing eyes and green hands.

Student Matinee Pricing
Curriculum Connections     Educator Resources and References













Curriculum Connections

Cardinal Directions & Maps

City Planning

Critical Thinking

Economics- Supply & Demand

Engineering & Inventions

Goal Setting

Industrial Revolution

Literature & Adaptation

Peaceful Protest & Protest Songs

Plant Growth & Photosynthesis

Rhyme & Rhythm






































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Speaking & Listening





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Benchmark 1, Benchmark 2, Benchmark 3.2

Artistic Process: Create or Make
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