How does one know the holidays are coming? We begin with the act of reading the classic book by Dr. Seuss to the little ones before bedtime. Then, we all sit around the TV to enjoy the half hour special narrated by Boris Karloff. The Ron Howard movie with Jim Carrey portraying the main character is also an option. On top of all that… Atlanta gets to enjoy a live interpretation of the story at the fabulous Fox Theater this year. If you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about that squirmy green guy, with a tiny heart, who tries to ruin Christmas for everyone, The Grinch.
Now my second born, the Viking Princess, is a Christmas baby. With each birthday I have to try and distinguish her special day against heavy handed commercialism and the overwhelming holiday spirit that occur this time of year. My tough little gal gets a little lost in the decorations and it’s hard to sing Happy Birthday when Ho Ho Ho’s blare everywhere you go. So imagine how excited we all got when we found out The Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta series was bringing us our favorite holiday classic. My petite, almost three year old has been talking about it since August.
The musical, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, originated at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. It was directed by Jack O’Brien, with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason. The original score was created by Mel Marvin with choreography by John Deluca. Opening in 1998, it has run every Christmas Season since. It made its way to Broadway in 2006. This time created and conceived by O’Brien and directed by Matt August. This production is the first Broadway musical to offer 12 performances a week. In the first week of December 2006, the musical topped the Broadway Box Office gross profits, ending Wicked’s infamous streak that had lasted 100 weeks.
It is all we hoped and dreamed for. Stefan Karl, who is best known as Robbie Rotten from the Nickelodeon series LazyTown, gives an iconic performance as Mr. Grinch. His perpetually moving fingers, drooping shoulders and turned down mouth draw the audience into his narrative. His funny dialogue and ever changing inflexion keep us, young and old alike, engaged until curtain call.
What makes this production new and improved is that it’s told from the perspective of Max, the devoted little canine that carries out the Grinch’s plan. Only, now, he is old reflecting upon that fateful day. The sets are delicious and look like they have jumped out of the original illustrations, with the licorice whip shading Seuss is known for. The color onstage is introduced by the costumes and props. Whoville and the Whos are bathed in pink and red like cotton candy, which exaggerates the sick toxic green associated with our main character.
This weekend, Nov. 29th– Dec. 4th, Atlanta gets to enjoy a spoonful of Seuss magic. We can enjoy a traditional story, funny hairdos, impressive melodies and music featuring the songs we know and love. Like a sing-a-long version of, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. We see the antagonist whose heart is “two sizes too small”, transform into a protagonist when he discovers there is much more to Christmas than getting presents. The show is heart-warming with a moral to boot.
There is no better way to jump start the holiday spirit or just do something extraordinary for a little special someone, than to go down to The Fox Theater and see How the Grinch Stole Christmas.