OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Broadway's 'Grinch' steals the show for holiday stage fun

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2012-12-09T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Broadway's 'Grinch' steals the show for holiday stage funPhilip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

The Grinch is alive and well in fine form for the holidays with Broadway in Chicago's too-short run of the national Broadway tour of "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" now at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 West Randolph St. until Dec. 16.

It's the only place I know where you can be part of an indoor snow storm and join in a community sing-along of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Detailed and spirited for a "by the book" retelling of the classic storybook and the 1966 original animated holiday TV special, this version uses a reflective narrator to help the plot unfold and move it along.

(At times, this on-stage narration can feel a bit distracting, but I got used to it after awhile.)

Running 90-minutes without any intermission, both children and adults will love this fun and fast-paced visit that lets the audience visit both Whoville and the Grinch's bleak cave.

Everyone has a "Grinch" moment and this musical reminds the importance of keeping the true meaning of the holidays in your heart.

Actor Stefan Karl stars as a very menacing Grinch. Even I was a bit taken back by how scary he looked.

But true to form, Karl is a master as molding this character into someone who serves as proof that anyone can have a change of a heart.

Seth Bazacas is his ever-faithful hound dog Max and he makes a great match for Karl's performance playing the classic heavy of the story.

Young actress Georgia Kay Wise is every bit the wide-eyed Cindy-Lou Who, the little girl who helps The Grinch get his due.

After seeing this light-hearted musical at Wednesday's press opening, it's easy to see how "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" broke box office records for two consecutive years on Broadway in New York during its holiday engagements at The St. James (2007) and The Hilton (2006) theatres.

John Lee Beatty has create simple, yet very effective and entertaining sets to let audiences feel like they are stepping into a storybook. And the costumes by Robert Morgan, inspired by Dr. Seuss' original illustrations are also works of art, while the music and book of Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason are classic. The 2012 production is directed by Matt August and choreographed by Bob Richard based on the original choreography by John DeLuca and originally created by three-time Tony Award winning director Jack O'Brien.

And when it's time to examine just how small (or big) The Grinch's heart really is, this show's staging and costumes make it easier than ever to understand how important it is remain heartfelt during the holidays and throughout the year.

Give yourself an early holiday gift as pay The Grinch a visit before be leaves the Windy City.

Tickets are $18-$85 with student group prices as low as $14.50. A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances. FYI: (800) 775-2000 or BroadwayInChicago.com or grinchmusical.com.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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