Review: DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical at Providence Performing Arts Center

Production runs through December 3rd

By: Nov. 29, 2023
Review: DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical at Providence Performing Arts Center
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     There's just something about the story of the Grinch that hits home every year and Providence Performing Arts Center's production of Dr. Seuss' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical hit all the right heartstrings for people and families alike.

     The original story, first published in 1957, was created based on Seuss' hatred of how Christmas was getting so commercialized(if he could only see it now!).  The first draft of the musical was written in 1994, first produced in 1998 but took Broadway by storm in 2006, breaking Broadway records during its holiday engagements. 

     The Musical starts off with Old Max, Grinch's favorite whipping boy, played wonderfully by Bob Lauder(who could play a damn good Santa too), who narrates the musical, reminiscing about that Christmas night with the Grinch when everything changed.  Lauder's version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", which included Young Max, played by Alberto Luis Blanco O.V., could certainly rival the original 1966 cartoon version, sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.

     The Grinch is played masterfully by Anthony Cataldo, who combined the curmudgeonly grump with a hint of humbleness, always engaging the audience while keeping them laughing out loud.  After sitting through the bright lights, dancing and singing of the Who Kids and Citizens of Whoville with "What Cha Ma Who" and "Welcome Christmas", Grinch turns to the audience and pans "I want to stop this and you wonder why?"

     Cindy-Lou Who, played by Vivian Atencio, was a refreshing burst of energy, mastering "Santa for a Day"  and joined the Grinch and Young Max for the poignant "One of a Kind", with the Grinch grimacing "Oh no, it's a ballad!"

     HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical has a lot of special treats within it, from singing puppets made to look like the Whoville kids(look for the one that's a haunting version of Cindy-Lou Who) to Broadway's first wheelchair user to perform in a Broadway National Tour, Meredith Aleigha Wells.  Well's scenes were super-heartwarming and Wells fit in so well with the musical dance numbers.   Other stand-outs included an incredibly funny Andy Hansen as Grandpa Who and the wonderful voice of Sarah Milnamow as Mama Who on "It's the Thought that Counts" and "Now's The Time".

     This 85-minute musical with no intermission is the perfect holiday treat for the entire family, combining the songs and lines you grew up with from the original Grinch cartoon along with wonderful newer songs that become instant classics like "I Hate Christmas Eve" or "Who Likes Christmas?"

     It's been one of those years for many of us and there's nothing like losing yourself in a colorful and talent-rich production that reminds you where we should all be focused on these days.  Take a friend or the entire family(even in Grinch pajama pants like the family in front of us!) and put reality aside for a bit and celebrate the wonderful season ahead!




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