Thursday, November 15, 2018

Children's Theatre Company's How The Grinch Stole Christmas Remains a Classic + Give to the Max Day 2019

Sometimes things are even better the second time around. 


Photo by Dan Norman

Anyone who knows me even mildly well knows that I am not a re-visitor of pretty much anything. Movies, books, plays - I am almost always a one and done. There are so many new-to-me pieces of art out there that I haven't experienced yet (and want to!) that it always feels a little silly to spend time revisiting something I am already familiar with.

Photo by Dan Norman

I made an exception this year for Children's Theatre Company's (CTC) How The Grinch Stole Christmas (click here for my original review), and I'm here to tell you: it was #worthit. No one does Dr. Seuss like CTC and this was just the thing I needed to usher myself into the holiday season and get in the mood for Give to the Max Day.

Photo by Dan Norman

I won't recap the plot because 1) I'm pretty certain everyone knows it already and 2) you can just read my original review for a full re-hash. I will say that the full charm of this production remains intact one year later, thanks to the return of the superb cast and all of the delightful tricks that make this such a charming stage show. Reed Sigmund continues to be a marvel as the Grinch, with a low leering growl and thoroughly expressive face that perfectly embody this iconic character. The best part is watching his total mastery of the children in the audience, many of whom were well under 10 years old; Sigmund is a wizard at captivating their usually short attention spans, and you could have heard a pin drop as the show progressed. He had those kids laughing, gasping and playing games at the drop of a hat. He's so good, in fact, that he makes this performance look easy. I'm here to tell you that it's not easy at all, and major kudos to his expertise (and his partner in crime Dean Holt, who narrates the show with finesse as the Grinch's dog Max) in spreading the magic of live theater to new generations of kids every single night.

Photo by Dan Norman

The delightful special effects (let's be honest - the best part of any show like this) are back this year too and they tickled me just as much the second time around. The scene where the Grinch steals the Who's Christmas trappings is worth the price of your ticket alone - between the hilarious sports sketches, lighting effects, and incredibly creative ways of stuffing presents up the chimney (that include magnets and bouncy balls), it's one of the most iconic scenes I've seen in ages and certain to delight audience members of any age. Congrats to Peter Brosius for directing this show with such vision and finesse (and to choreographer Linda Talcott Lee for providing some nail biting choreography that carries a Jim Carrey physicality to it, one of the highest compliments I can give).

Photo by Dan Norman

My favorite part about seeing How The Grinch Stole Christmas this year was taking my parents, both of whom are educators who have a deep love for Dr. Seuss and had never been to CTC. Watching their pure delight in the excellence of this production and joy at the full engagement of the auditorium filled with young kids was all the holiday cheer I needed to raise my spirits. Dr. Seuss's stories resonate because they (and especially the morals they share) are truly timeless, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas is perhaps the most timeless of them all. With all of the chaos surrounding us these days it's always appropriate to remind ourselves of the importance of gratitude, joy and treating others with kindness and respect. And grown-ups: let this story be a lesson to you of the soul sucking powers of extreme negativity. Things are stressful for all of us right now, but don't be *that guy* ruining everyone else's seasonal cheer just because you're having a bad day. Grab an extra cup of eggnog, take a walk, and do a little extra act of kindness for your fellow humans to snap yourself out of it. After all, as Dr. Seuss himself says:

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!

For more information about How The Grinch Stole Christmas and to buy tickets (either as a fabulous gift or a well-deserved #treatyoself moment), click on this link. Make sure to use the code INFLUENCER for 20% off of your tickets if you order before December 1!  A little fine print for those: Limit of 5 tickets per purchase. Not valid on preview performances. Not valid on VIP, Price Level C, previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other offer.  All sales are final, no refunds or exchanges.  Other restrictions and fees may apply.  Discounts are not transferrable.

Photo by Dan Norman

And before you go - today is Give to the Max Day! This is such a great opportunity to maximize any charitable donations you're making this year. There are tons of worthy arts and theater organizations that can be found by clicking here. For my shameless personal plug: please consider donating to Aeon, a group helping to fight homelessness here in the Twin Cities. I'm a member of their Young Professionals board and have my very own fundraising page up - click here to help me raise funds to keep more of our neighbors in housing through the cold winter that's coming upon us. 

Photo by Dan Norman