Monday, November 28, 2011

The Old Globe's HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

Steve Blanchard and Logan Lipton
Photos by Henry DiRocco

One of the events that never fails to put me in the holiday spirit is the Old Globe’s annual production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! This is the 14th year in a row for the family classic about everyone’s favorite green man with a heart “two sizes too small,” and this year there’s a new Grinch in town. Steve Blanchard takes on the role for the first time and gives a new interpretation that finds him grumpier and more curmudgeonly than Grinches of late. Oh, the comedic shtick is still there, but this Grinch definitely emphasizes the moody, menacing side of the character as he schemes to ruin the Whos’ Christmas once and for all. He even sings with a growl.

Effective as the performance was, I still missed the slippery eel poutiness and decadent charm I’ve seen in the character before. No matter. However he’s portrayed, the Grinch is still the perfect antagonist for the Whos down in Whoville, who never lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. And though he starts as the villain, the Grinch proves that given the right influence, everyone has the ability to change, for as creator Theodore Geisel says, “…it’s not how you start out that counts. It’s what you are at the finish.”

His trusty sidekick Max the dog is played once again by Logan Lipton who captures the happy-go-lucky spirit of man’s best friend. Whether he’s chasing his tale, sprawling out on his tummy, or doing a soft-shoe with the Grinch, he’s as adorable as ever.

Cindy Lou Who (Caitlin McAuliffe and Remy Margaret Corbin alternating in the role) is the endearing little girl who cracks open the heart of the Grinch, and an adorable array of sugary sweet Whos keep the lively on-stage energy at a high pitch throughout the 75-minute intermission-less show. Always one to make me chuckle is the lovable – and a little bit dotty – Grandma Who, played by returning San Diego favorite, Amanda Naughton.

Amanda Naughton, Kelsey Venter,
Geno Carr and Phil Johnson

Directed by James Vasquez, the Globe’s Grinch is a festive affair with the animated feel of a story book brought to life. Its black and white pages are splashed with generous pinks and reds designed by John Lee Beatty with quirky costumes that match by Robert Morgan.

Always a favorite, this is one holiday musical that will bring a smile to every member of the family. Make sure its on your Christmas list.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas runs through December 31. Click Here for tickets and more information.


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