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“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” echoed the words around Orlando’s Dr. Phillip’s Center for the Performing Arts last night as Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical made its debut. Frankly, it’s hard not to sympathize with the Grinch these days as the Christmas period now starts earlier and earlier in the year. Finding a way to stop Christmas coming is something that a lot of people may find palatable as the grumpy character worked his magic in trying to prevent the festive period descending on the cheerful and optimistic community of Whoville.. or was it Wholando?
The Grinch first appeared in the 1957 story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and was probably made more popular when Jim Carey was cast as the main character in the 2000 comedy film. This performance, though, featured a superlative Grinch performance from Stefan Karl (pictured above) who simply commanded attention from the audience who really wanted to hate him but just couldn’t find it in themselves.
The narrator for the play was the Grinch’s dog, Max, who remembered the depressing Christmas when his master threatened to destroy everything with his “I Hate Christmas” mantra. Max is cleverly split into old dog Max, played excellently by Bob Lauder (pictured above), together with the enjoyable Matt Weinstein’s young dog Max as they pranced around the John Lee Beatty set design that thankfully was adapted from the original book. Robert Morgan’s costumes are expertly crafted to add to the fun and the production benefits from some neat touches while the orchestra under the direction of Steve Cuevas plays flawlessly.
The highlight of the show though, is the interaction of the Grinch with the children in the audience. “They’re everywhere” improvises the Grinch as the kids implore him to utter the sacred words “Merry Christmas.” Amusing as that was, some of the adults in the show need to learn from their children and understand that it is not acceptable to arrive 30+ minutes late then use their cell phones while others decided to depart as and when they pleased. For heaven’s sake, if you’re going to ask children to sit still for 90 minutes then the least we can expect is the adults to show an example.
If you’d like to re-discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life on stage you have until 13th December to do so. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office or by visiting the Box Office at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or between noon and 4 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are also available by calling 844.513.2014 or online at drphillipscenter.org.