The Grinch (Reed Sigmund) sets off to commit dastardly deeds of humbug in the Children’s Theatre Company production of Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Photo by Dan Norman.
The Grinch is back and he is a green, mean, anti-holiday machine. It has been a long time since I have seen Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas performed at the Children’s Theatre Company – so long that during 2018, I attended the wedding of the actor who played little Cindy Lu Who in the last production I saw. But there is nothing stale about this Grinch – even if he does look green.
This stage adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas features lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin, elegantly transforming the book to the stage medium. Director Peter C. Brosius combines fantastic and playful casting, enchanting scenery, and lyrical music to provide a boisterous and joyful production for both young and old.
Reed Sigmund is on spot as the grouchy old Grinch, providing just the right amount of pathos to make his eventual conversion believable. At the show that I saw, Sigmund jolted the audience with energy mid-show, moving offstage into the center of the audience to pick on audience members. He is supported by Dean Holt, who masterfully plays Old Max (the Grinch’s dog), giving just the right atmosphere of an old miner telling a tale of his youth. Against these veteran performers, relative newcomer Natalie Tran gives a refreshing performance as Young Max, who is forced to abet the Grinch’s evil doings.
The music in this show never acts as a filler and, instead, creates atmosphere and moves the story along. Victor Zupanc’s musical direction and Linda Talcott Lee’s choreography all work together with the wonderful ensemble cast to grab the audience from the first Whoville anthem to the show’s conclusion.
The scenic, costume and lighting design all contribute to transferring the audience to the fantastical world of Whoville. Tom Butsch’s scenic design fills the stage with color, whether it be a Main Street full of stores or a Whoville home. David Kaye Mickelsen’s bright and colorful costumes for the Whoville residents and Nancy Schertler’s lighting design both contribute to the bright and cheering Whoville even when the town is robbed blind.
Now for the real litmus: the grandchildren’s test. My grandchildren loved the show and left extremely stimulated. They talked about the show for days afterwards. Watching their imaginations soar was well worth the extra grandparent work caused by the over stimulation.
Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas plays at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN through January 6, 2018. Families can save money if they buy the Festive Four Pack for tickets that are being sold through December.
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