BWW Review: Steal Away to See THE GRINCH at Winspear Opera House
The AT&T Performing Arts Center continues its 2017-2018 Broadway Series with a fun, family-friendly holiday musical that may just make your heart grow three sizes. The story is familiar - following the classic children's book as well as animated and live-action movie versions. But the musical itself is unique. By combining elements of each of the previous versions of the story and adding its own surprises, Dr. Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL tells the tale in a whole new way. This 2017 production is directed by Matt August, with music composed by Mel Marvin and book/lyrics by Timothy Mason.
Phillip Bryan plays the Grinch - with both his costume and his persona reminiscent of Jim Carrey's characterization of the grumpy green guy in the 2000 film. He immediately wins over the audience with this larger-than-life performance, despite being a rather despicable character. Bryan shares the spotlight with Bob Lauder (Old Max) and Andreas Wyder (Young Max). Lauder, as the grown-up dog reminiscing on his adventures in Whoville, delivers on the deep baritone notes that are necessary for any performance of You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. His counterpart, Wyder, keeps the show moving quickly as he literally vibrates with canine energy (Follow Wyder's behind-the-scenes PUPPY TALES Vlog here).
Ensemble numbers provide plenty of entertainment for the eyes, with slightly less content for the ears. Several chorus numbers packed with high-pitched lyrics may prove difficult to understand. (Though the general message of the songs is clear, especially with a story as familiar as this one.) The cast of Whos have costumes which seem primarily inspired by the book - with the black, white, pink, and red color scheme dominating the stage. As the most prominently featured Who, Avery Sell (Cindy-Lou Who), is 100% precious and authentic in her performance as the young girl who has a lot to teach the adults in her life about kindness and tolerance.
Highlights from the show include magical jokes, a versatile set and props that all appear to be straight out of Seuss' book, and awesome moments of audience participation. The musical is fast-paced, with a relatively short running time and no intermission. A definite must-see for families with young children. The constant action and humor will keep even the more hesitant young theatergoers engaged. With tickets starting at $25, don't miss the chance to introduce this Christmas classic to your kids in a whole new way. Show runs through December 17th, with plenty of family-friendly showtimes to choose from. Tickets available at: http://www.attpac.org/on-sale/2017/grinch/