UPDATE: Grinch Will Reopen at the St. James Theatre Nov. 23

By Andrew Gans
21 Nov 2007

Patrick Page in The Grinch.
Patrick Page in The Grinch.
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Christmas will arrive just in time for the holiday weekend. According to NY1, Supreme Court judge Helen E. Freedman granted an injunction filed by the producers of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas that will allow the much-in-the-news musical to reopen at the St. James Theatre.

The Grinch, which has been closed since the stagehands strike began Nov. 10, will reopen Friday, Nov. 23 at 11 AM, according to a production spokesperson.

Jujamcyn, which owns the St. James, plans to appeal the decision; however, the motion has been tabled until Tuesday, Nov. 27. The Grinch will therefore play this holiday weekend: performance times are Friday, Nov. 23 at 11 AM, 2, 5 and 8 PM; Saturday, Nov. 24 at 11 AM, 2, 5 and 8 PM; and Sunday, Nov. 25 at 11 AM and 2 and 5 PM.

Grinch producers had argued that the production should be able to reopen because they had negotiated their own contract with Local One prior to the strike. The separate contract was required because the musical offers 12-to-15 performances a week, different from the eight-performance schedule most other shows employ.



On Nov. 19 Grinch general manager David Waggett told Playbill.com that picket lines had come down in front of the St. James Theatre, and Local One had agreed to work the show. However, the producers of Grinch still needed to gain approval from Jujamcyn Theaters, who own the St. James. That approval was not granted.

A statement issued Nov. 19 by Jujamcyn Theaters explained, "The Local One Stagehands struck the St. James Theatre at 10:00 am the morning after the Opening of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical. The Grinch will not reopen until the union signs agreements and ends the strike at all theatres and all the other shows that have been closed by their strikes reopen on Broadway."

Grinch producer James Sanna responded with his own statement: "We appreciate that Local One has recognized our pre-existing agreement and has lifted the strike on The Grinch in spite of their differences with the League. We are going to court tomorrow to seek an injunction to require Jujamcyn to open the doors to families and children planning on coming to the theatre this week. We need someone who believes in the spirit of Christmas to enable the show to re-open for the holidays."

Sanna filed an injunction with the court Nov. 20. The ruling to reopen the show was announced Nov. 21.

The return Broadway engagement of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! – The Musical, starring Patrick Page as the grumpy hermit whose heart is "two sizes too small," began previews at the St. James Nov. 1 and officially opened Nov. 9. On Nov. 10, the 11 AM performance of The Grinch was shuttered: the first casualty of the strike.

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! — The Musical, according to press notes, is narrated by Max the Dog, who relates "the Grinch's fiendish plan to steal Christmas from the holiday-loving Whos. However, the Grinch soon discovers there's more to Christmas than he bargained for." The show includes the songs "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome, Christmas," which are heard in the animated version of the Seuss classic, which is aired annually on television. Broadway composer Albert Hague (Plain and Fancy, Redhead) penned the music to the TV songs, which had lyrics by Seuss.

The limited run of The Grinch is scheduled to conclude Jan. 6, 2008.

The St. James Theatre is located in Manhattan at 246 West 44th Street. For more information visit www.grinchmusical.com.