Chicago Theater and Tour Review: HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL (Cadillac Palace Theatre)

by Lawrence Bommer on December 6, 2012

in Theater-Chicago,Theater-New York,Tours

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A DOCTORED WHO

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is only 90 minutes long—not much more time than it would take to watch the beloved animation and read the book by the late Dr. Seuss. Big League Productions’ touring production of a 2006 Broadway offering contains Jack O’Brien’s staging faithfully reprised by Matt August), resulting in a suitable stylization of the beloved holiday chestnut. Robert Morgan’s costumes for the relentlessly cheerful, ditheringly addlepated residents of Whoville could have stepped out of the storybook. The score, by book and lyricist Timothy Mason and composer Mel Marvin, is serviceable to a tale we want to remember rather than confront. (It also contains the original favorites, “Welcome Christmas” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” lyrics by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, music by Albert Hague.)

Lawrence Bommer’s Stage and Cinema review of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical’ Cadillac Theatre Broadway in Chicago

The enrichment from this production, now playing at the Cadillac Theatre, springs from a tad more attention bestowed upon the improbable friendship that arises between Stefan Karl’s gnarly, crowd-hating Grinch and Jenna Iacono’s adorable Cindy-Lou Who. She’s clearly softened up the emerald curmudgeon (a cross between Sasquatch and a very greedy and selfish little brat) even before Grinch’s discovery that he couldn’t steal Christmas. She kills this green “Sandy Claus” with unsought kindness, making him give back the loot he evacuated from a hundred Who chimneys.

Lawrence Bommer’s Stage and Cinema review of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical’ Cadillac Theatre Broadway in Chicago

Though his hatred of Christmas is repeated when it ought to be argued, the Grinch undergoes some harmless psychological probing (happily, we never suffer flashbacks to his childhood as in the Jim Carey film version): The ballad “One of a Kind” makes it clear that living on a mountain and exploiting a dog named Max (the younger version played by Seth Bazacas, the older Max, who also narrates, by Bob Lauder) gives him a toxic case of loneliness as much as one of false entitlement and renegade misanthropy. Happily, nothing gets over-explained here, which is always the kiss of death to Dr. Seuss. John DeLuca’s sprightly choreography is suitably two-dimensional for what, happily, is a well-animated musical that never outstays its welcome.

Lawrence Bommer’s Stage and Cinema review of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical’ Cadillac Theatre Broadway in Chicago

photos courtesy of Broadway in Chicago

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical
presented by Broadway in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre
scheduled to end on December 16, 2012
for tickets call 800-775-2000 or visit http://www.BroadwayinChicago.com

continues on tour to Madison Square Garden and Detroit Opera House
through December 30, 2012
for tickets, visit http://www.grinchmusical.com/buy-tickets

for info on this and other Chicago Theater, visit http://www.TheatreinChicago.com

Lawrence Bommer’s Stage and Cinema review of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical’ Cadillac Theatre Broadway in Chicago

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