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Cast Spotlight: Mikayla Snelson and Joe Guyton

Mikayla Snelson

Fredericksburg, VA—Nearly everyone knows at least one Who—the fictional characters created by Theodore Geisel, not the band—and the town of Whoville, made famous in the Dr. Seuss book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Little Cindy Lou Who, with her wide-eyed innocence and distinctive updo, is as recognizable as the titular character, The Grinch. It appears neither have left Whoville, and are coming to Courtland High School next weekend with the rest of the Whos.


Mikayla Snelson steps into the role of Cindy Lou Who, bringing a naturally innocent joy to the role.

“I'm excited to be Cindy Lou Who and getting to dress up,” she said. “I can't wait to see all my friends in their costumes, too.”


Though she wasn't familiar with Seussical Jr. as a musical, Snelson is no stranger to the STEP VA stage. Over the years, she has participated in numerous summer sessions offered by the 501(c)3 that “empowers people with disabilities and their families through creative expression and sensory exploration.” Last year she made the leap to the big stage as a member of the Peanuts Gang in “You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”


She returned to the musical again this year because, in many ways, it offers all of Snelson's favorite things about the organization all wrapped up in one experience.


“I love to sing and dance, plus I get to see my STEP VA friends,” she explained, adding that her favorite songs in the show are “It's Possible” and “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think.”

Playing the role of the Grinch is “Big Joe” Guyton. Standing nearly six feet tall, he dwarfs the petite Snelson, giving the duo a truly Grinch/Who feel when they share the stage.

Guyton's favorite song in the play is “Green Eggs and Ham” but he was thrilled to get the role of the Grinch.


Joe Guyton

“I get to try to steal Christmas!” he explained, with a bit of mischief in his grin. Guyton has a personality to match his frame but is far from hard-hearted like the character he plays. He is, as his cast mates say, “a bright light in a dark room.”


A long-time STEP VA veteran, Guyton has been involved with the organization since its inception 10 years ago, and has been involved in all four of the spring musicals.


He was the lead role—Tim Croakee—in the original musical, “A Special Covid 19,” written by STEP VA veteran Noah Finch, and played the warthog Pumbaa in Disney's “The Lion King, Kids!”


Last year, he was a member of the Snoopy Gang, playing Grandpa Snoopy as well as the baseball coach.

Being on stage at this level is old hat to Guyton; but while STEP VA's Cindy Lou Who has some experience to draw from, she's still learning to work through the jitters most performers get at some point.


“I'm excited and nervous,” Snelson admitted. “I love talking to people but there's going to be a lot of people there to see us. I'm just hoping I can remember everything I'm supposed to do.”

Come by Courtland High School on April 13 at 6 p.m., or April 14, at 3 p.m., and see if Guyton is successful in his Christmas-thieving endeavors or if Snelson is able to prevent him from ruining the day. CLICK HERE for tickets or visit www.stepva.org.

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STEP VA, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides sensory-based theater and arts programs for individuals with disabilities. Its vision is to transform the world by offering each individual the opportunity to flourish in the community.

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