How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was a Christmas book and cartoon staple in my home growing up. I remember cringing at the sight of poor, old Max having to pull the Grinch’s sleigh up the mountain! Happily, the next generation of kiddos love it as much as we did. Its huge following has seen a live-action movie and plenty of versions of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” on the radio around Christmas. To add more fuel to the Grinch flame, how the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical has been touring the U.S. this year and has been receiving rave reviews from both kids and their parents. Last night, The Kid and I headed into Pittsburgh‘s Cultural District to catch opening night of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at Heinz Hall. And, while there’s so much to write about, I’ve narrowed it down to five reasons why kiddos will love the musical – including a salute to the Pittsburgh Steelers!
1. The Set
As a Dr. Seuss lover, if I were to design the set for How the Grinch Stole Christmas! it would look exactly as is does. The creators have done an amazing job of bringing the book and cartoon to life. The set pieces are mainly black and white with those lovable shading lines that I’ve come to look for in Dr. Seuss material. The Whos, and their costumes, are so colorful just as you would expect.
When it comes to set design, it’s simplicity that wins out. It allowed me to use my imagination and fill in the lines to make it my own. But don’t confuse simplicity with boring or minimalist, that’s not the case.
2. The Cast
While Philip Bryan is utterly flawless as The Grinch, it’s the supporting cast that, again, bring the book and cartoon to life. Bryan plays the role wickedly flawless and the supporting cast are the yin to his yan.
The actress that really melted our hearts was Avery Sell as Cindy-Lou Who. If you’re wee ones are a fan of Bubble Guppies, you’d have heard her voice as Little Fish. She performed like she like she had been performing for decades.
3. The Music Is Live!
As with any Heinz Hall performance, you get the privilege of listening to live musicians perform beautiful pieces. The same goes for How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. Arrive early enough and you can walk down to the front of the stage and catch them warming up like we did.
4. The Sing Along
I admit, when the first rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” began, I sang the song under my breath as did many other audience members. But when the reprise started, the house lights went on and it became a sing-along! No worries if you don’t know the words; they’re cutely displayed on stage among the props.
5. The Pittsburgh Steelers Reference
I can’t write for certain that Philip Bryan customizes his role for every city the musical is in, but he sure did a hilarious job of it in Pittsburgh. Just when we thought the scene was over, out Bryan came waiving a Terrible towel in his hand and dancing his way across the stage. There was a huge laugh and applause from the audience, that’s for certain!
Disclosure: I was given complimentary tickets to this musical to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes it so fun for kids and parents. All opinions are my own!