The holiday season has plenty of traditions, especially at local theaters. While the Children's Theatre Company doesn't present Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas every year, it is usually a welcome addition to the schedule.
This year is no exception, with a fast-paced adventure that unfolds like a Technicolor-fueled dream, buoyed by a well-honed script and songs, and deepened by a cascade of delightful performances.
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Reed Sigmund leads the charge as the Grinch, the calcified soul who decides to rid the local town of Christmas one night so he can get some peace. Sigmund's performance is one part Oscar the Grouch and one part Scrooge, which gives the character enough of a lovable edge to help us excuse the terrible crimes he commits in Whoville.
He gets assistance from his long-suffering dog Max. This role is split into two, with rough-voiced Old Max (H. Adam Harris) and bright, excited Young Max (Brandon Brooks) watching as the Grinch's mad plan to steal the village's Christmas unfolds.
The Whoville residents, decked out in delightful costumes made by David Kay Mickelsen, have an innocence that can be annoying at times (it's possible that the Grinch just wanted a bit of quiet), but the actors (right down to youthful Natalie Tran as Cindy-Lou Who) win you over to the Who outlook on life.
As the story has been expanded into a full show, familiar details from the book and original TV special have been reshaped for the show. There's no "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," except as an instrumental by the orchestra as the audience files out, but the original songs from Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin stay in the spirit of Dr. Seuss's book.
The music also gives director Peter Brosius and choreographer Wendy Seyb a chance to fill the stage with glorious, colorful action and use the large company to great effect.
IF YOU GO:
Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas Through January 4 Children's Theatre Company 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis $25-$60 For tickets and more information, call 612-874-0400 or visit online.