Theatre Review: The Grinch Steals Christmas at Segerstrom

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“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” takes a jolly sleigh ride from book to stage in this live musical adaptation of the beloved holiday classic. While the bouncy Whos in the town of Whoville loved the Christmas season with its caroling, decorations, feasts, and presents, the green-haired Grinch (Joshua Woodie) who lived on Mt. Crumpit, did not. After decades of tolerating the cheery buffoonery, the Grinch had enough of this institutionalized lampoonery. Oh, no… I’m rhyming! Anywho who… eek! [Clears throat] The Grinch comes up with a sinister scheme to stop Christmas from coming in an attempt to restore his serenity.

Old Max (W. Scott Stewart), who was once the Grinch’s faithful doggy companion, narrates the tale from his perspective as a younger version of himself, Young Max (Brian Cedric Jones). Taking a page from another classic “Christmas Story” of an old narrator recounting a beloved time of year. While a musical duo between Old and Young Max is fun for children, it’s a playful time pad more than anything else. Still, a clever device to engage the audience to follow Old Max as if reading a bedtime story and later singing the iconic “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.

James Schultz as THE GRINCH and the Touring Company of Dr. Seuss’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

A song so undoubtedly synonymous with the character and story thanks to the 1966 Chuck Jones animated classic.”What Cha Ma Who” will easily identify to parents why the Grinch has a disdain for the holiday season with all the noise, noise, noise. “One of a Kind” counteracts a desirable life of solitude. The kind of peace a Grinch of any color would side with. The song is a delightful solo show stopping resurgence of Broadway-caliber fanfare.

While the Whos have many new songs, there is one that is the best of the rest. “Who Likes Christmas?” is a catchy anthem that gets your toe tapping into the Christmas spirit. But what of Cindy Lou (Alternating: Aerina DeBoer, Mélodie Rose Romano) do you ask? Well, the adorable little girl along with the rest of her family Papa Who (Aaron Goldenberg), Mama Who (Ashley Morton), Grandpa Who (Brian Rooney), Grandma Who (Barbara Bayes), and Annie Who (Alternating: Charlotte Sydney Harrington, Azalea Wolfe) come together to fear the Grinch, shopping for presents, and discover the true meaning of Christmas.

W. Scott Stewart as Old Max and Xavier McKnight as Young Max in the Touring Company of Dr. Seuss’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

The green meanie in disguise with Max assembling pieces for his twisted plot while slipping by the Whoville citizens buying up gifts was visually amusing. After Cindy Lou catches the Grinch in the middle of bagging up the family’s holiday provisions, her tear-jerking serenade of belonging sends ripples of warmth to growing hearts.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical” acknowledges the familiarity and popularity of the story retold countless of times in various forms as it unfolds live on stage. It’s quite encouraging for the show to let the audience break out in a tasteful sing-along to a verse from the renowned lyrics to share a moment between not only the audience and performers but with parents and children alike. What is Christmas without a song for all to sing aloud for all to hear?

Even when the Grinch renounces his formidable way, he seeks the audience’s help for the words to say. The green colored fur ball often breaks the fourth wall with comic, endearing, and lovable prestige. The color palette and stylized hand-drawn illustrations of the children’s book leaps off the page and translates magically on stage like a three-dimensional pop-up book. The exaggerated costumes and animated makeup draws in the whimsical musical landscape to life. The bold blacks to the red and white pastel of candy cane or peppermint plays faithfully to the original source material. A refreshing spectacle that would have been lost with media projections. This 90 minute glittering musical extravaganza is presented with no intermission.

James Schultz as THE GRINCH in the Touring Company of Dr. Seuss’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

The perfect show to introduce young audience members to professional theater. Parents who have read the book “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” beforehand will get children to look forward to what they know and love in a different light. Kids and kids at heart can relate and be entranced by the characters in the glow of a timeless classic. Don’t flake out on this new delightful holiday tradition. “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical” sleighs into the hearts and minds of the young and old.

Crossroads Live and Running Subway present “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical”. Based on the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Book and lyrics by Timothy Mason. Music by Mel Marvin. Additional music and lyrics by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss. Costumes designed by Robert Morgan. Original choreography by John Deluca. Directed by Matt August. With Bob Richard serving as co-director and co-choreographer.

The Touring Company of Dr. Seuss’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Playing December 19 – 24, 2023 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. For more information about this show, upcoming season, and ticket sales, visit or call (714) 556-2787.