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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
Mean, green Grinch is back (for fun)!
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Mean, green Grinch is back (for fun)!

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE
CHRISTMAS, THE MUSICAL
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
Through December 7


'You are a mean one, Mr. Grinch.' So begins one of the most beloved holiday songs in the Christmas repertoire. The classic holiday book by Dr. Seuss has taken a new life on the stage and the green evil that hates all to do with Christmas is playing for a couple more days at the Paramount Theatre for the holidays.

The story is familiar to anyone over the age of five years old. The people of Whoville gather together in preparation for the quickly approaching Christmas. From far above atop a mountain, the green evil Grinch watches with complete loathing and contempt. With only his faithful dog Max for company, the creature with 'a heart two sizes too small' decides on descending into the town on Christmas Eve dressed as Santa Claus. Under the shadow of night, he plots to steal the presents, the decorations and everything to do with the holiday thus eliminating Christmas celebrations all together and ruining the day for the Whos down in Whoville. When the young Cindy Lou Who surprises the Grinch, he finds that it is his own icy interior that melts instead.

The lead of the show is Stefán Karl. His voice is deep and rolling making it perfect for the mean, green creature. His facial expressions are pure cartoon and his body movements are living animation making him the perfect fit for the role. The second lead is Max, the Grinch's loyal dog companion. As the older dog Max (Bob Lauder) narrates the show as told by him in flashbacks. As a younger 'pup' (Andrew Wyder) Max shows the enthusiasm and excitement of being caught in the holiday season and torn by his master's voice - the Grinch's evil plans to steal Christmas.

The Grinch musical has been expanded - as one can imagine - from the original book and cartoon. There are new songs added in (music by Mel Marvin and book/lyrics by Timothy Mason) to help flesh out the characters. They do what songs in a musical are supposed to do; they further the storyline and add a musical simplicity to the characters. There's nothing too memorable here, but the songs are sweet and pleasant and definitely fit the musical's mood.

John Lee Beatty who, I'm sure, must have carefully studied the original drawings designs the sets. The backgrounds and costumes (designed by Robert Morgan) are all in the lines of original Dr. Suess doodles with odd rounded costumes and angled trees and houses. It definitely helps to set the mood and brings a smile to the faces of those who notice.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the musical is a fun sweet alternative to holiday stage choices. It's the only stage production officially authorized by the Seuss estate, and it's presented well. It's only (roughly) 90-minutes without any intermission, and even has a sing-a-long to the holiday classic title song. For children, it's a fun presentation with fun songs and live-animated characters and costumes. For adults, it's a tiny bit of nostalgia presented in a new way.



How the Grinch Stole Christmas began as a book by the children's author Theodor 'Dr. Seuss' Geisel in 1957. Written in rhyming verse the book was published by Random House with illustrations by the author. Criticizing the commercialism of the Christmas holiday the book was transformed into the iconic animated television special in 1966 with Boris Karloff providing the voice of The Grinch. The book and cartoon was expanded to a full-length feature film in 2000 starring Jim Carey as the green creature out to steal Christmas. With several earlier mountings, the stage production reached New York in 2006 for a limited holiday performance schedule, and repeated itself for the 2007 Broadway season.

In 2012 the School Library Journal declared it one of the 100 'Top Picture Books' of all time.

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Seattle Men's Chorus holiday concert
THE TRADITION CONTINUES

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