Welcome Christmas: Grinch Reopens at the St. James Theatre Nov. 23
By Andrew Gans
Cindy Lou Who will boo-hoo no more: Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! — The Musical, which has been shuttered since the stagehands strike began Nov. 10, reopens Nov. 23 at 11 AM at the St. James Theatre.
It took a judge, Supreme Court judge Helen E. Freedman, to bring the holiday-themed musical back to the boards this season. On Nov. 21 Freedman granted an injunction filed by the producers of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas to allow the much-in-the-news musical to reopen at the St. James Theatre.
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 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.
The cast also features Ed Dixon as Old Max, Rusty Ross as Young Max, Darin DePaul as Grandpa Seth Who, Aaron Galligan-Stierle as JP Who, Tari Kelly as Mama Who, Caroline London as Cindy Lou Who, Jan Neuberger as Grandma Who and Athena Ripka as Cindy Lou Who.
The Citizens of Whoville include Jahaan Amin, Juliette Allen Angelo, Hunter Bell, Janet Dickinson, Sky Flaherty, Eamon Foley, Sami Gayle, Brianna Gentilella, Amy Griffin, Joseph Harrington, Michael Hoey, Carly Hughes, Kurt Kelly, Liesl Jaye, Jess Le Protto, Marina Micalizzi, Katie Micha, Jillian Mueller, Andy Richardson, Josephine Rose Roberts, William Ryall, Jordan Samuels, Johnny Schaffer, Jeff Skowron, Tianna Jane Stevens, Heather Tepe and Janelle Viscomi.
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.
Running Subway Productions and Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien present the second Broadway engagement of the holiday-hating Grinch. The musical runs approximately 90 minutes.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The Musical was presented at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre under the direction of Jack O'Brien with choreography by John DeLuca. It has played to critical acclaim and sold-out houses for the past decade. In fact, the Globe will present its 10th anniversary production of The Grinch Nov. 25-Dec. 30.
Matt August again directs the Broadway run with choreography by John DeLuca. The creative team also includes Bob Richard (co-choreographer), John Lee Beatty (scenic designer, whose set is new for this engagement), Pat Collins (lighting designer), Robert Morgan (costume designer), Michael Curry (puppetry), Joshua Rosenblum (musical director and vocal arranger), Acme Sound Partners (sound designer), Michael Starobin (orchestrator), David Krane (dance music arranger), Gregory Meeh (special effects designer), Angelina Avallone (makeup designer) and Thomas Augustine (hair/wig designer).
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. Tickets, priced $25-$111.50, are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com. Group tickets are on sale by calling (800) 223-7565; for more information visit www.grinchmusical.com.
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