BWW Review: Marvelous Memories Arrive with CTC's HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

BWW Review: Marvelous Memories Arrive with CTC's HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
CTC"S The Grinch
Photo Credit: Kaitlin Randolph

Where will a holiday memory be made this season? Somewhere near Whoville staged at Children's Theatre Company (CTC)? The illustrious CTC opened their musical extravaganza' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" penned by the iconic Dr. Seuss beginning in 1994, and reprises the production from last season. While Theo Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, created the story in 1957, CTC envisioned a production to touch any young heart despite the actual chronological age. The production's book and lyrics by Timothy Mason together with music by Mel Marvin continue to delight audiences these past 20 years since the musical's inception--and all the memories the production has created in that span of time through the years.

In the lavish CTC production, the Grinch's old dog Max, remembers his time at the top of the mountain above Whoville when he lived with the Grinch--and how the Grinch for 53 years despised the Who's jolly Christmas cheer. Dean Holt plays a grand "old dog," fondly remembering the memory of his home high above Whoville, and the one night that changed his and the grumpy Grinch's life. While Max relates the story through Dr. Seuss's imaginative verse, the young Max enters, a charming Natalie Tran. Tran's Max, a lovable and winsome companion connects to the audience's affection and connection from the moment she appears on stage.

Reed Sigmund embodies the Grinch persona, and has played this distinctive character four times along with his 19 year history with CTC. Dressed in electric green fur, and growling with complaints, the Grinch relates his despair over another holiday celebration. By the end of the performance, he descends sitting inside a huge wreath surrounded by lights to laughter in the audience after the Grinch miserably and irreverently tries to stop Christmas from arriving in Whoville. At times during the performance, Mr. Grinch strolls through the audience hurling impertinent remarks to those in their seats while making mayhem. Great thrills grow memories in the seats when the children giggle and laugh throughout the evening.

In another stellar performance, Cindy Lou Who Audrey Mojica debuts in this CTC role. She caresses her ballad "Santa for a Day" when she sings to the Grinch disguised as Santa. Her sincere affection for the lonely, "one of a kind" creature centers the change in the character's heart, and challenges the audience with her unconditional caring for the lonely grinch.

Director Peter C. Brosius provides a complete musical package for the company .The entire "Grinch" acting ensemble dressed in candy colored costumes under designer David Kay Mickelson provides a treat for the eyes and melodies for the ears. Indeed, another "character' in the production becomes the sum total of these professional technical achievements--from Scenic Designer Tom Butsch's sumptuous screen back drop where the Grinch flies his sleigh to Whoville, Max leading the way, or the lighting changes throughout the two acts achieved by Marcy Sherman. Each element creates this imaginary Whoville for audiences while Linda Talcott Lee's dances these familiar characters into the audience's memories. The eight piece orchestra fills the theater with the now memorable songs under Music Director Victor Zupanc worthy of this great holiday tradition first commissioned by CTC.

How easy to see the theater become a place where holiday events become treasured traditions. All evidenced by the children dressed in their winter finery wishing to have their picture taken in front of the theater's Christmas tree in the lobby upstairs. When Cindy Lou Who sings to the Grinch, "You and I belong, heart and heart together," every heart in the audience grows a size bigger that evening.

Somedays, sometimes, one person, merely one person, can change another person's heart, and might grow their heart several sizes in one moment. If the audience can embrace Cindy Lou Who, and perhaps smile at someone, carry a package for another person, ask someone they meet how they feel, or how their day is going, open a door, really care about just one other person on any given day, this one person might be the Cindy Lou Who to change a heart.

This Grinch, and how he eventually celebrates with the entire Whoville to carve the roast beast, reminds everyone that one person does make a difference, could change a life in this upcoming holiday season that will create another holiday memory. While Old Dog Max leaves the scene of his memories, CTC theater challenges their audiences to reminisce marvelous childhood holiday memories. Then, after attending the delightful and spectacular "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," remember one voice has the power to continually change the world. Grow one heart three gargantuan sizes this holiday season.

Children Theatre Company presents their original production How The Grinch Stole Christmas through January 6. For further information or tickets, please contact www.childrenstheatre.org.

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From This Author Peggy Sue Dunigan

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