In the spirit of whimsy, my small gift to you,
I have wrapped up my thoughts in a Seuss-like review.
I arrived at the National in a whirlwind of traffic
And was greeted forthwith by a colorful graphic:
The playhouse was there, with marquee a-glow
Heralding a furred one, the star of the show.
The Grinch is in town, just blocks from Trump’s bower,
But this time his aim is not Christmas to sour.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a musical now,
To lift up our hearts with tuneful know-how.
A popular kids’ book, with Grinch and with Who’s,
Has been put on the stage – how could it lose?
The book’s been expanded by one Timothy Mason
With clever new jokes that had my heart racin’.
Mel Marvin made tunes, some atonal, some jazzy,
But the songs fit the show, which was just about snazzy.
If you thought the old songs, from TV would be missing,
You’re wrong, for they knew the Who’s would be hissing
If “”You’re A Mean One” and “Welcome Christmas” were gone.
The new songs were catchy, like “Who Likes Christmas?”
None of them, slogged, or were boring or listless.
Speaking of singing, and acting, and dancing,
The actors were ready to do more than prancing.
Dressed in Who-costumes, all sizes and shapes,
Their clothing was perfect, down to the drapes.
Wardrobed as such, their performing, I’d say,
The whole Who-cast earned a rousing Who-ray!
Philip Bryan, for starters, filled the green suit
Of the Grinch, he reigned as the leading galoot.
Wearing green fur, with a malleable face,
His wily old Grinch took charge of the place.
With style and with skill, his voice boomed like thunder.
He was excellent at clowning, his Grinch was a wonder.
As for his pooch, the sweet dog named Max,
There were two in this tale, and those are the facts.
Young Max, just a pup, the Grinch’s sleigh rider,
Was played with panache by Andreas Wyder.
Wyder, you see, performed with a sparkle
As the “Green One’s” fur-baby, his bark’ll
melt any snow in your heart;
The same with the older Max part.
Bob Lauder, a kindly nar’ator, it’s true
Guided the audience the entire show through.
From Whoville, I must heap praise on the girl
Cindy Lou Who, now that tot was a pearl!
Julia Rose (DiPiazza, last name)
Could one day rise up to greater acclaim.
Cindy Lou, tiny Who, charmed the Grinch’s hard heart
This moppet was skillful how she played her Who-part.
When Miss DiPiazza performed with the Grinch
You could tell when his heart swelled up more than an inch.
The story, the songs, the performers – the lot –
Spread Christmas Who cheer and they spread it a lot.
The show was enhanced by artistical vision,
With Seuss-ified sets that accomplished their mission.
Beatty, Morgan, and Collins – what a team!
Designers triumphant, this trio created a Dr. Seuss dream:
The village with snowbanks, the costumes and lighting
Their work was inspired, the show more exciting.
By the end of the show, a familiar old tale,
The DC’ers who sat there, the young and the frail,
Cheered while snowfall dropped on their faces
And just about everyone jumped up at their places.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas brought the house down,
With jubilant cheers, and nary frown.
Is the show worth your nickel, your bus fare, your time?
To affirm, I say yes, that’s my reason and rhyme.
One small, un-Seussian note: the role of Cindy Lou Who is alternated between Julia Rose DiPiazza and Danielle Guilbot. DiPiazza took the role on press night.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas . Book and Lyrics by Timothy Mason . Music by Mel Marvin . Additional music and lyrics by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss. Based on the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss . Director: Matt August . Featuring: Philip Bryan. Bob Lauder. Andreas Wyder. Barbara Bayes. Vincent DiPeri. Julia Rose DiPiazza. Rayna Farr. Bella Fraker. Danielle Guilbot. Brian Rooney. Melissa Weisbach. Original Production Conception and Direction: Jack O’Brien . Original Choreography: John DeLuca . Co-choreography: Bob Richard . Set Designer: John Lee Beatty . Lighting Designer: Pat Collins . Costume Designer: Robert Morgan . Sound Designer: Ed Chapman . 2016 national tour by Big League Theatricals and Running Subway Productions at the National Theatre . Reviewed by Jeff Walker.