Yeah yeah yeah, I know. You're not supposed to even think of Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. Bah humbug to that, I say. Sounds like your heart may just be a little too small.
There's an easy way to fix that. Go see Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical and your heart will grow three sizes. It is charming; it is delightful; you will laugh with the joy of a child. You'll know you're doing that last bit right because you'll have plenty of examples all around you.
For Grinch purists, never fear. I grew up with the classic book and movie. I haven't even seen the Jim Carey version because I didn't want my memories to be tainted. In this musical, however, Shuler Hensley's Grinch is brilliant, with just the right mixture of Grinch-y attitude and interaction with the audience.
The Whos, and especially little Cindy-Lou Who (Presley Ryan), are particularly endearing. From the costumes, to the mannerisms in their choreography, to the cheerful singing, you wonder how in the world anybody, even someone with a tiny tiny heart, could refuse their charm. Ryan sounds like she could be standing in for the Annie production down the street, with a clear, sweet tone that makes you want to pick her up and hug her.
Old Max, played by Ken Land, narrates the tale. While he doesn't quite mimic the voice of the narrator from the movie, there's no jarring disonance and his twists work well. Young Max, played by Aleksa Kurbalija, fromps and plays around the stage like a young puppy with the grace of a seasoned dancer. Figure that one out, eh?
The show is ninety minutes without intermission. With all the kids in the audience (young and old alike), don't expect a staid visit to the theater. Instead, expect a raucous, giggling production filled with Noise Noise Noise Noise Noise!
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, runs through November 29 at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N State St, Chicago, IL. Tickets run $35 to $85 with discounted tickets available through Goldstar.