You better watch out: Santa may be coming to town, but that gnarly green Grinch is here already, with fingernails out to there, nothing but bad to say about Christmas and a special hatred for those Whos down in Whoville.
The 15th annual rendering of “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” barged into The Old Globe and has set up shop through Dec. 29. James Vásquez directs and restages the choreography, as he has since 2003.
After the green monster threatens to confiscate audience cell phones, the Grinch’s elderly canine companion Old Max (Steve Gunderson) comes on to narrate the story of his mean ol’ boss whose “heart was two sizes too small.”
Old Max takes us back to the snowy, lonely Mount Crumpit above Whoville where the Grinch (Steve Blanchard) lives in a cave with Young Max (Jason Edward Cook), loudly moaning about all the joy and good will circulating like the common cold down in Whoville.
This year, the Grinch puts into operation his “wonderful, awful” idea to eliminate Christmas forever with a devious plan to steal all the Christmas presents, reasoning that surely that’s what the season is all about.
The Grinch runs a reconnaissance mission to Whoville first, to scope out the gift sites. He doesn’t figure on meeting the annoyingly friendly natives, who invite him to the roast beast feast the next day. Little do they suspect his nefarious intent.
In the end, of course, the Grinch’s nasty plan is thwarted by love, joy and the Christmas spirit in the form of little Cindy-Lou Who (double cast and played adorably if not always with perfect diction or intonation by Caitlin McAuliffe at this performance).
The main supporting cast is played with reliable panache by “Grinch” veterans Geno Carr, Kelsey Venter, Phil Johnson and Amanda Naughton; together with the large, lovable ensemble and the fine Charlie Reuter-led “who-chestra,” the now-familiar songs by Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason sound as good as ever.
Bravo (again) to set designer John Lee Beatty, costumer Robert Morgan, as well as Pat Collins and Paul Peterson, lighting and sound designers, respectively. Joshua Rosenblum’s vocal arrangements and incidental music are fine, as is the dance music arranged by David Krane.
This year, at 10:30 am Dec. 15, the Globe will present an "autism-friendly" performance of "Grinch," the first of its kind at the theater, patterned after similar, highly successful initiatives on Broadway.
It’s almost gotten to the point where it’s not Christmas without “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” If you haven’t seen it (or even if you have), I’d advise you to grab the kids and go.
‘”Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” plays through Dec. 29 at the Old Globe Theatre’s Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.
Tuesday through Friday at 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, 2 and 5 pm. (check web site for exceptions).
For tickets, call 619-234-5623 or visit HERE.
To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.