The holiday season approaches, so it must be time once again for that lovable grouch called “Grinch” to attempt to steal Christmas from us. He can’t succeed, as we know, but it’s oh, so much fun watching him try.
The Children’s Theatre Company was packed with bouncing youngsters of all ages on Friday for their opening of the musical by Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin based on Dr. Seuss’s Christmas favorite, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
For this production, company member Reed Sigmund is transformed into the green, hairy creature. Sigmund romps and rants, drums his long, furry fingers, barks at his sweet dog, Max, and simply delighted the young audience Friday night who loved his every growl and gesture.
As good as this veteran is, he met his match in Natalie Tran playing Cindy-Lou Who. Tiny – very tiny – as she was, Tran commanded every scene she was in with ease and charm. Her pitch perfect voice singing in “Santa for a Day” could make anybody’s heart feel a little bigger.
All the familiar Who’s are there, in wonderful candy-colored fuzzy costumes by David Kay Mickelsen. The enchanting set recreates the familiar snow-laden trees and mountaintop, and the flying sleigh scene really is a bit of the ol’ Children’s Theatre magic. As gorgeous as the set was, it left just barely enough room for the full cast of adults and children to execute simple choreography. However, it was plenty of room for the cleverly choreographed antics of the Grinch and young Max, played by an endearing Brandon Brooks.
Denise Prosek directs a live pit orchestra, which I love to hear. There’s no comparison with recorded.
Part of the appeal of Dr. Seuss’s books is the rhythm of the rhyming lines, which was barely recognizable in H. Adam Harris’s interpretation of Old Max. Harris is a fine actor, but this pairing didn’t work quite as it should, and I doubt that many found Old Max as the elderly version of Young Max particularly believable. However, they’re both likable, and the narration works. More to the point,
CTC’s “Grinch” is sparkling and sweet.
Just the right thing for a holiday treat!
(It can’t be helped.) “The Grinch” runs through December 30.