Friday, December 4, 2009

The Old Globe's GRINCH is a Winner

I have been officially “grinched.” Yes, I saw the live stage version of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for the very first time and it was absolutely delightful from beginning to end. The Old Globe in San Diego has produced this Christmas musical favorite for the past twelve years and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than with everyone’s favorite green one-of-a-kind bad guy.

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This Grinch, played by Jeff Skowron, is a character. He swaggers. He oozes. He’s funny. He can do a soft shoe with a top hat and cane and make you believe he was born for the spotlight. And he can also stop you when you least expect it and bring you to tears, for this Grinch is also charming and full of surprises. It’s a true transformation that reminds us just what the season is all about.
The story is told by the Grinch’s old dog Max (Martin Van Treuren) as he passes through Whoville one last time. He remembers himself as a young pup (played by a lovable Logan Lipton) and invites the audience into the world of the Whos down in Whoville, who love Christmas and all that it stands for. From there it’s the familiar story we’ve all grown to love.

The choral harmonies of the opening number, “Welcome Christmas” (Fah Who Doraze), are beautifully sung by the Who ensemble, and everyone is dressed in story book pink, red and white. The set itself looks like it has jumped right out of the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. You’ll find plenty of laughs in the story (book and lyrics are by Timothy Mason and music is by Mel Marvin), some unexpected moments like tiny Who puppets singing carols in the town, and a large dose of heart in the form of Cindy Lou Who (double cast as Shea Starrs Sibe and Anna Bahen).

Director Benjamin Endsley Klein and musical director John Samorian bring out the best in their talented cast, which also includes Steve Gunderson as Papa Who, Anne Fraser Thomas as Mama Who, Kurt Norby as Grandpa Who, Eileen Bowman as Grandma Who, and a large ensemble of characters making up the citizens of Whoville. They shine throughout, and especially in a comically fun shopping number called “It’s The Thought That Counts.”

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! will run through December 27. Tickets can be purchased online at www.theoldglobe.org/, by phone at 619-23-GLOBE or by visiting the Box Office.

Tickets are also available for Grinch Family Day, an engaging family celebration for children of all ages that takes place on Sunday, December 20 from 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The event includes an afternoon of crafts, games, treats and merriment on the Globe’s Copley Plaza and tickets to a live performance of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in the Old Globe Theatre at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. All proceeds support the Globe’s education and community programs for young people. For tickets to Grinch Family Day, contact the Globe Box Office at 619-23-GLOBE.

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