BWW Review: DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL at New Orleans' Saenger Theatre
By now, most of us are familiar with the story of the Grinch: grumpy, small-hearted monster seeks to destroy Christmas, and finds himself getting swept up in the holiday spirit. But let me assure you, watching the movie from your sofa is nothing like seeing the story on stage.
With my ten-year-old cousin in tow, we decided to embrace the season as much as we could. Preceded by a leisurely stroll in the Roosevelt with hot chocolate, we could feel Christmas in the air as we stepped into the Saenger. It helped that there was a vibrantly colored wreath waiting for us on stage.
Speaking of colors, that's the selling point of this musical. Dr. Seuss' storybook comes to life on the stage, in a way that feels almost literal, from the sketch-marks on the set pieces to the Grinch's mean, green demean...or. (I think it's safe to say that I should leave the rhyming to Dr. Seuss.)
The cast is tremendous. From the moment that his greenness livens up the stage, Philip Bryan dazzles as the Grinch. Stomping around the stage singing that he's "one of a kind," you can't take your eyes off of him. Equally delightful is Danielle Guilbot as the precious Cindy-Lou Who, a character whom you can't help but love.
While you'll be singing along to your favorite Who tunes, there is one notable difference in the show that, to me, seemed a bit jarring. As we sat waiting for the show, my cousin asked, "Will there be a narrator?" Her question was quickly answered as Old Max took the stage.
We learn that Old Max is leaving, and we frequently get reminders about his younger, spryer days in the form of his character counterpart, Young Max. Basically, we can assume he's dying, which can put a damper on all the good fun, if you think about it too hard. Still, this does add something new to the plot we know so well, which is something I appreciated.
All in all, this musical did not disappoint. Hearing the theatre resound with small children singing along to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" was magical, and I hope that this musical comes back around next year. As they say in Whoville, "Fahoo fores, dahoo dores, welcome Christmas!"