The Austin Chronicle

Review: Broadway in Austin's Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

Quite the fan, I am

By Bob Abelman, December 9, 2022, Arts

I am not a big fan of the iambic verse
Though Gilbert & Sullivan bother me worse
But the one writing style for which I've no use
Is the preening rhymed scheming of one Dr. Seuss

The musical Seussical created the fad
Of turning his books into something quite bad
The Grinch's tetrameter is hard to endure
Particularly sung and when presented on tour

The original tale was a very long verse
That became a short book, and then something worse
A cartoonish special, a Grinch made for TV
Then a film with Jim Carrey as the titular he

Tim Mason's the playwright who's the one to be blamed
For the musical version with the same name
As the poem, the book, the TV show too
The same Grinch and same dog, the same Cindy Lou Who

The Grinch landed on Broadway and it did fairly well
In critical praise and the tickets they sell
It then hit the road in mid-2010
COVID put it on hold, but it's touring again

And so now it's in Austin, this Seuss-heavy show
Despite better judgment I decided to go
I expected to hate it, and that's not a lie
But like it I do, here's all my reasons for why

Matt August directed and with him at the helm
A team of designers created a realm
Using every drawn curve and every drawn line 
From the book's illustrations as scenic design

The songs aren't memorable, I can't recall one
But the way they're delivered makes each one quite fun
The staging, the lights, and the costuming too
Make this long-touring show seem incredibly new

There's an ensemble cast (which is not that unusual)
They sing all of the songs (par for shows that are musicals)
They play all the Who parents and all the Who tots
Who hit all the right notes and at all the right spots

James Schultz as the Grinch is an incredible find
If you reread the book, it is him in your mind
He's outlandishly funny and sometimes outrageous
And the pleasure he's having is like COVID – contagious

As with all Seuss' tales, there's a moral here, too
If you're no fan of the man, this show's still for you
Oh, and please don't forget it's a holiday show
So every adult should bring small children in tow

December 11 ends the run of this show
If you're planning on coming that's as far as it goes
But be warned of the impact of seeing this play
It's just over an hour, but you'll be rhyming for days 

Broadway in Austin's Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical 

Bass Concert Hall, 2350 Robert Dedman, 512/471-2787
Through Dec. 11
Running time: 85 min.

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