How the Grinch Stole Christmas: a Review

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Article first published as How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Review on Technorati.

The Grinch looking over the building of the Old Globe Theater at Balboa Park.Today we experienced a beloved tradition in San Diego, the performance at the Old Globe Theater of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This year is their 15th anniversary of the performance, and this afternoon was a special performance. It was the autism friendly matinee performance.

Going into the play, I was a little concerned about the performance. I've seen the holiday special which is 30 minutes (or 23 minutes), and I've seen the movie (which I did not like). I was concerned it would be too much like the movie. But, as it was live theater, I really wanted to like it. And I didn't. I loved it.

The Old Globe theater is small, and very cozy. It's smaller than my high school stage, making it a more intimate experience with the performance. Different in this production compared to their normal productions would be the lower sound volume and house lights up slightly. Also, there were more seats available for people to move about during the performance if necessary, separated sensory areas for those who need it, and free toys for the kids.

When we walked into the theater, the certain was decorated as the inside jacket of the hardcover book. The kids settled in fairly well, though our youngest was a little squirmy. It was exciting for our oldest to hear the orchestra tune up, as I pointed out the clarinet, he giggled. Before the performance, the San Diego Autism Society presented the Old Globe a plaque to thank them for their dedication and contribution to the autism community.

Then it started. The Old Max came onto the stage, and opened the performance. Then the Who's came on, singing about how much they loved Christmas. We then meet Young Max, and finally the Grinch. Our eldest loved him. He did an amazing performance, both he and Max. The whole cast was fabulous, making the performance amazing!

The story, at least to my mind, was the basis for the Movie, and not the other way around. And the musical was much better (in my opinion). I did miss some of the performance because my youngest couldn't sit still for a full hour and a half (though he did make it through a full hour). During those breaks the volunteer staff was very helpful, and we even got to meet Max while he was "back stage" (in the lobby between showings). It was amazing.

Near the end of the performance I had my oldest son on my back, standing against the wall, clapping while he watched the rest of the performance from behind my left ear. At the end of the performance, as we left, they gave each of our boys their own hardcopy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And, as we walked out to the parking lot, the bell tower at Balboa Park started to play, "Welcome Christmas (Fah Who Doraze)".

It's now three hours since the performance, and I'm still taken by it. It was fantastic, and something the actors at the Old Globe should be proud.