Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Photos: Ian Suarez (DPCftPA)
I've always been a huge fan of the holiday season, and the Grinch is probably my most beloved Christmas icon. For as long as I can remember, the Grinch has been an annual tradition in my home - probably yours too - and for just as long, I've gotten a bit teary-eyed every time that Grinchy sneer disintegrates and cardiac expansion kicks in. It's a beautiful sentiment, and it always warms my heart. Even the Grinch can't deny the miracle of Christmas. 

I have to admit - I've been feeling a wee bit Grinchy this holiday season myself. It's a foreign thing to me, and I don't like it one bit. My daughter and I made it a girls' night to catch the debut of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on December 8, and I confess that I was rooting for the Grinch's bad side to somehow prevail. I had visions of him plucking every last ounce of edibility out of that roast beast. Don't judge - you've had those days too. 
The first thing to know about this performance is that it's not quite the same ol' song and dance. Speaking of song and dance... well, I'm getting ahead of myself, but yes, the music is a prime example. This traveling stage show has a few curve balls in store for those who think they know the tale of the Grinch. For starters, the story is narrated by an aged Max. You'll remember Max as the Grinch's doe-eyed pup companion. 
The events leading up to the Grinch's inspired transformation unfold as Max looks back on his life. Naturally, this means that Max is verbal, and yes... it adds a whole new dimension to the story. If you ever wondered just how Max felt about the Grinch's antics, I'd have to imagine this hits the nail on the head. The addition of a Jiminy Cricket-esque personality was exceptionally clever and charming.

Speaking of charming, the Grinch was quite endearing in an original Cabaret-style musical performance. One of a kind, indeed!

This was only one of the all-new, original songs on the Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical soundtrack. Each was just as whimsical as a Seuss fan would expect. I think I'll be singing "Whatchamawho" for the next month at least, so there's a bonus earworm in the show for those who appreciate an infectious ditty. Of course, there are just some things that had to remain the same...

I would be completely negligent if I failed to mention the fantastically enchanting Whos of Whoville. Their happy, bustling holiday hustles just melted my heart. Even I, in my foul mood, couldn't support the Grinch's ill-will against this delightfully adorable clan. Cindy Lou Who was just so perfectly cast and exactly the bold little spitfire spark of youthful hope and wisdom that generations have come to adore in various incarnations. 
There really is no bad way to present a story that is simply this brilliant. And there really is no way to watch this tale unfold without experiencing a little cardiac expansion yourself. I still welled up with tears when the Grinch's gruff exterior cracked, but this time around, I was sharing a moment with that fuzzy green Christmas icon, in a beautiful theater, with snow sprinkling down on me. I guess you could say there was an extra dose of magic in my Grinch experience this year. I think I may have found a new annual Christmas tradition. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical has officially raised the bar on my favorite holiday tale. 

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is appearing at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts through December 13. Purchase tickets now.