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Home arrow Reviews arrow Reviews By Scott arrow Reviews By Scott arrow The Grinch comes to life in brilliant living color at Bass Hall
The Grinch comes to life in brilliant living color at Bass Hall PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Scott Lewis   
Nov 20, 2013 at 08:40 PM

My sister and her husband recently moved back to Texas with their not so long ago adopted ten year old daughter.  In the past three months I have relished the role of  “Fun Uncle”, spending many weekends taking her on adventures all over the Metroplex.  Not having kids of my own I don’t understand or desire to comprehend boundaries or limits thus most of what we do together rarely includes the word no.

Elizabeth (oops, she wants to be called Liz now), loves the Grinch so when news of the Broadway Musical’s North Texas Stop was announced I knew we would attend.  On the way to dinner we make a quick stop for green tights (for her) to show some solidarity with the Grinch.

Dr. Seuss’ 1957 Classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas“ tells the tale of the Grinch who hates Christmas so much he is determined with the help of his dog Max to destroy it.  In the end the Grinch discovers that Christmas is bigger than the commercialism it has become and just maybe that is what he hates.

As I shopped the day after Halloween the stores were busy putting up all their Christmas displays and announcing their Black Friday sales would now start on Thursday Evening.  I think that we have forgotten that there is so much more to Christmas than the presents and the tree, those are all bonuses but Christmas is or should be about family and community.  The Grinch learns this lesson and I think it is a lesson more relevant today than in 1957.

Imagining Seuss’ Grinch coming to life on stage was a challenge for me.  Seuss and his illustrator’s pen did not know the limits of the stage so I was unsure about the translation from the simple illustrations of the book to the stage.

Originally written for the Broadways stage by Timothy Mason with music by Mel Marvin what really makes this musical interesting are John Lee Beatty’s sets and Robert Morgan’s costumes.  Stretching a children’s storybook into a ninety minute musical is a monumental task and this Grinch succeeds in some places in others it does not.

The music is mostly forgettable with the exception of the incredibly fun “One of a Kind” which the Grinch certainly is.  Of course “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” is performed but is also reprised as a sing-a-long with fun and clever staging.

Grinch is definitely a show for the young.  The sets bring Seuss’s classic children’s book to life.  The brightly colored costumes against the mostly black and white backdrops really shine the focus on the amazing costumes and brilliant make-up.   When the Grinch comes to the feast of roast beast the snowing on the stage is expanded to cover the audience which led to many small hands reaching for the sky to catch a few flakes.  Iit is the wide eyed fascination and excitement of the children that made this show such fun for me

Bob Lauder as Old Max, the Grinch’s dog is a great guide into the world of the Grinch and his rendition of “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” was spot on.  Andreas Wyder as Young Max is great fun as the Grinch’s sidekick and his voice really shines in the “One of a Kind” reprise.

The role of Cindy Lou Who is played by two young actresses and the connection between the young Cindy Lou and the Grinch is heartwarming.  Stefan Karl as the Grinch is perfection.  While I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing work done by the make-up and costume people it is where he takes it that makes this show.   He really has become the Grinch and his connection with the audience young and old is undeniable.   You will find yourself with your kids so glad that the Grinch came around and joined the Who’s down in Whoville for the Christmas Feast.  The Grinch is definitely a must see for those with kids 3-12.

The Grinch runs 95 minutes without intermission through Sunday, November 24th at Bass Hall in Fort Worth.  Tickets are $22.00-82.50.  There are great deals across the street at the closing Barnes and Noble (I got a fantastic edition of The Grinch Storybook that included a CD of the story read by Walter Matthau for $11.)  Soon this space will be a Cheesecake Factory.

A trip downtown Fort Worth is always a good time. There is much to do before and after the show, all within walking distance.  Coming Soon to the Bass comic icon Bob Newhart does his stand up December 7th and Broadway returns to the Bass February 11th with Ghost the Musical.

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