Review: Rock’n’roll-trained actor brings Old Globe cranky back to life

For many San Diego residents, see “Dr. How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Seuss!” The musical is a holiday tradition that lives on.

Yet while the story never changes, “Grinch” regulars know that every year director James Vásquez hires a new cast and makes a few adjustments to his directing to keep the show fresh.

I’ve seen the show for almost 20 of its 24 years and one of the best changes to come in a decade is the casting of Andrew Polec in the title role this year. His huge eyes, rubbery physique, childish sense of humor, wicked grin, boundless energy, and rugged vocal performances make his grumpy Grinch feel like a cartoon character is coming to life.

And not just any cartoon character. Polec, whom Globe audiences first met last summer as a “Hair” star, grew up watching the 1966 animated version of Dr Seuss’ story, which was memorably told by horror film star Boris Karloff. Polec’s exuberant, creepy, multi-octave vocal performance gives Karloff a subtle nod. But it takes the character in a new direction with screams, screams and the surprise addition of the high falsetto he perfected during his four years as a star in the British and American production of the musical. rock’n’roll “Bat Out of Hell.”

Polec also throws unexpected spins, yoga stretches, and booty shakes that make him the most goofy Grinch I can remember. At 32, he is the youngest actor to ever play the role on the Globe, so he connects well with the children in the audience and he pulls off the famous grueling solo act “One of a Kind” without gasping. If past Grinches gave 110% with every performance, then Polec seems to give 200.

The endearing Tommy Martinez as the young version of the Grinch’s dog, Max, and the heartbreaking John Treacy Egan as Old Max, who narrates the 80-minute show, are also excellent in the show. Bets Malone and Larry Raben are also fun as the craziest Whos in Whoville, Grandma and Grandpa Who, and Leila Manuel, who shares the role of Cindy-Lou Who with Sophia Adajar in alternate performances. Music director Elan McMahan is back in the pit to guide audiences through Mel Marvin’s musical score, which was extended to the Globe several years ago with two songs from the 1966 film, “You’re a Mean One. , Mr. Grinch ”and“ Fah qui doraze ”.

Every year, the musical “Grinch” delights and surprises children with its storytelling sets and costumes and its snowfall in the alleys. But this year, the new Grinch in town has moms and dads in the audience surprised and laughing out loud.

‘Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! “

When: Show times vary, but generally at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 7 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Additional performances have been added from December 19 to 31. Until December 31st.

Or: Old Globe Theater, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park, San Diego.

Tickets: $ 69 and more

Telephone: (619) 234-5623

In line:

COVID protocol: Children under 3 years old will not be admitted due to the wearing of an indoor mask which is compulsory for all. Full vaccine required for ages 12 and over or negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of performance. Unvaccinated children aged 3 to 12 are recommended to take a COVID-19 PCR test before the show.

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