Sunday, November 15, 2009

review - Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas The Musical

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
book & lyrics by Timothy Mason; music by Mel Marvin
directed by Matt August
Pantages Theatre
through January 3, 2010
What a pleasure to see a stage show that lives up to the book from which it was conceived! Sadly, the movie version of Grinch, starring an overbearing Jim Carrey was gaudy and overdone, but the stage version is sheer delight with some pretty superb singing.
The entire cast, with the exception of a listless John Larroquette as Old Max, is a treat to watch. Stefan Karl inhabits the Grinch ideally without pretense or fake overacting. His mannerisms, voice and reactions are all within control. He's great! Also terrific is James Royce Edwards as Young Max, whose energy and puppy demeanor made me want to take him home and cuddle him up to me. Kayley Stallings is adorable and sweet as Cindy-Lou Who (she's in the red cast; some younger roles, like this one, are double cast). Other Whos from Whoville worthy of mention are Danny Gurwin as Papa and Melinda Gilb as Mama. Larroquette is OK, but usually turns in a far more riveting performance. Donning a dogsuit is definitely not his thing. Yes, he's supposed to be old, but old dogs too can be surprisingly spunky and feisty.
John Lee Beatty's sets and Robert Morgan's costumes with their pinks and cartoonishly drawn whites and blacks would make Dr. Seuss proud. I cannot believe this show has not been recorded for CD. Loved "Who likes Christmas?" "It's the Thought That Counts", "One of a Kind" and "Now's the Time".
Karl and the actress who plays Cindy-Lou will tug at your heartstrings. And who can resist sentimentality at Christmastime? Shedding a tear or 2 is what brings out the humanity in all of us, even from mean ol' green Mr. Grinch!
5 out of 5 stars


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