The Column Online



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

AT&T Performing Arts Center

Directed by Matt August (Original Production Conceived and Directed by Jack O’Brien)
Choreography by Bob Richard (Original Choreography by John DeLuca)
Scenic Design by John Lee Beatty
Lighting Design by Pat Collins
Costume Design by Robert Morgan
Sound Design by Ed Chapman

Old Max --- Bob Lauder
Cindy-Lou Who (Alternating) --- Delilah Rose Pellow/Avery Sell
Papa Who --- Josh Houghton
Mama Who --- Mia Rose Lynne
Grandpa Who --- James Schultz
Grandma Who --- Beatrice Crosbie
Annie Who (Alternating) --- Bella May Mordus/Madalen Yarbrough
Citizens of Whoville --- Mathew Bautista, Caleb Funk, Brian Gay, Karma Jenkins,
Brian Cedric Jones, Chelsea Vann, Jennifer Wilcove
Who Kids --- Hanna-Lyn Baxter, Dallyn Brunck, Taylor Drumwright, Hannah Grace,
Schuyler Midgett, Jonathan Nadolny, Staci Stout
Young Max --- Andreas Wyder
The Grinch --- Philip Bryan

Reviewed Performance:

Reviewed by Chris Jackson, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Yes, it’s that time of year again! Santa! Reindeer! Presents! And from the darker side, Krampus and THE GRINCH!!! For those buried in a snow bank for years with no TV, books or movies, here’s this synopsis from the press release: “Christmas is the best time to be living in Whoville – it’s every Who’s favorite time of year! However all the Christmas cheer in the world just isn’t enough to get The Grinch into the festive spirit. Teased as a child, this green grump has grown to become a rather mean old man determined to ruin Christmas for each and every Who! Will the kindness of one tiny Who be enough to melt his icy heart?” The At&T Performing Arts Center has brought the touring production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical! to the stage of the Winspear Opera House to help us celebrate the season. And a stunning production it is! Filled with boundless energy, fun-filled scenery, lights and costumes, and a performance by Philip Bryan in the title role that will knock you into the New Year.

”May have been that his heart was two sizes too small. Whatever the reason, His heart or his shoes, He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos” Dr. Seuss

Mr. Bryan is returning for a second year as The Grinch and bringing his powerful singing voice (with what seems like a five-octave range) and his adept physicalization and superb comic timing, to terrify the Whos and delight the audience. Mr. Bryan dominates every scene he’s in with his impeccable attention to detail in vocal work and carefully worked-out shtick that never seems less than spontaneous. He appears to be having the time of his life and so we join in and roll with the goofiness, and the wonderful transition to the true meaning of Christmas. He tore up the place in his big number, “One of a Kind.” Watching Mr. Bryan work is a master class in style and technical brilliance.

“ ‘If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead!’ So he called his dog, Max.” Dr. Seuss

Bob Lauder as Old Max, The Grinch’s dog, is on his eighth tour in Whoville, and it shows in his confident and commanding presence on stage, deftly guiding us through the story as its narrator, singing and dancing with the best of them. In the role of Young Max, Andreas Wyder is back for the fourth time and brings acrobatic skills to rival that of his singing and acting talents. He’s a delight to watch and listen to in the role. I also love how the white spot on Young Max’s chin becomes the white goatee on Old Max. The Grinch hasn’t stolen the Christmas spirit from these two fine thespians!

“She stared at the Grinch and said, ’Santy Claus, why, Why are taking our Christmas tree, WHY?’ Dr. Seuss

Avery Sell played Cindy-Lou Who opening night. She alternates with Delilah Rose Pellow in the role. Here is this tiny little girl making her entrance with total confidence, dancing and swirling around the stage with all the rest, then she has her Christmas Eve scene with The Grinch, opens her mouth to sing, and WOW! Out comes this huge voice, belting away with the best of them! A delightful performance.

“Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!” Dr. Seuss

Josh Houghton is Papa Who and Mia Rose Lynne is Mama Who with Beatrice Crosbie as Grandma Who and James Schultz as Grandpa Who. They, along with the rest of the cast, are spectacularly good at maintaining a consistent energy and style, giving a harmonious tone to the production. It is to the director’s credit, whether that be Matt August who is cited as director, or Jack O’Brien who conceived and directed the original production, that the entire production is “of a piece.” Acting, scenery, costumes, lighting, everything works together as one unit. Everything is consistent and creates an overall sense of cheer and brightness.

The hard working ensemble consists of Bella May Mordus, Madalen Yarbrough, Mathew Bautista, Caleb Funk, Brian Gay, Karma Jenkins, Brian Cedric Jones, Chelsea Vann, Jennifer Wilcove and the Who Kids, Hanna-Lyn Baxter, Dallyn Brunck, Taylor Drumwright, Hannah Grace, Schuyler Midgett, Jonatnhan Nadolny, and Staci Stout. The entire Who cast shines in their big number, “It’s the Thought That Counts.”

Original choreography by John DeLuca with co-choreography by Bob Richard brings swirling movement and exciting dance moments throughout the evening. In fact, every moment appears to be choreographed, with precise movements and reactions closely coordinated to script and music. Credit goes to the choreographers and/or the director for incorporating such consistant moments throughout. Every musical number ends with a great “button,” complete with pose and a burst of light. The whole production is slick and clean in a good way, speaking to well thought-out and creative planning from the entire team.

Scenery by John Lee Beatty and Costumes by Robert Morgan echo the original Dr. Seuss book illustrations and it works beautifully. The Whos tend to look somewhat like Christmas ornaments in their red and white costumes, and the scenery dazzles under the lighting designed by Pat Collins. The lighting not only highlights moments, but helps to create them by painting mood and attitude that illuminate the stage not just with light, but with insight. Sound supplies solid support with the orchestra providing the underpinning for the total effect.

Now for the Grinchy part: the audience was filled with children, most under the age of ten, which was to be expected. They were wildly appreciative of the antics on stage and loved every one of the ninety minutes. The problem (in addition to the child behind us who literally seldom stopped SCREAMING!) was that the audience seemed to be constantly moving, people getting up and walking over everyone, some taking children out, but others leaving on their own and then coming back in. The couple next to us got up and walked past us no less than three times in the ninety minute show, the husband coming BACK again to get the wife’s coat that had been left behind. Whew! Made it a little hard to just enjoy the performance. Thank goodness the overall quality of the production was enough to overcome the distractions. There were also a few light cue glitches which I feel certain will be corrected once opening night has passed.

The show is a true delight with terrific performances throughout, dazzling scenery, costumes and lighting effects and rousing music including an audience sing along for “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” The audience applauded wildly at the end and gave the stars of the show a standing ovation. If you’re looking for a holiday treat for the entire family, Whoville should be your destination. Everyone will be entertained, and the holiday spirit will follow you home.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas …perhaps…means a little bit more.’ And what happened then? Well…in Whoville they say, That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!” Dr. Seuss

Winspear Opera House
ATT Performing Arts Center
2403 Flora St.
Dallas, TX 75201

Final Performance on Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Ticket Prices $25 to $119

Tickets and more information:, 214-880-0202
ATT Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House Box Office
Open 10am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday and before performances
Closed Saturdays and Sundays