Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (Matilda) stars as a 40-year-old Cindy Lou Who in the world premiere of Matthew Lombardo’s Who’s Holiday!, which officially opened November 28 at the Westside Theatre Upstairs.
Cindy invites audiences into her beaten-down trailer on the side of Mount Crumpit for a twisted Christmas tell-all in Lombardo’s satirical spin on Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The six-week limited engagement began November 20, and runs through December 31. Who’s Holiday! is directed by Carl Andress.
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Who’s Holiday! was originally announced for a 2016 premiere at New World Stages starring Tony nominee Jennifer Simard. The production was abruptly canceled less than a month before previews were to begin after Lombardo and the show's producers received cease and desist letters from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, citing copyright infringement.
Lombardo, whose plays include Looped, Tea at Five, and High, filed suit, claiming that references to the Seuss original were permissible under fair use. After a year-long legal battle, a United States District Court judge ruled in Lombardo’s favor, stating that his use of “outlandish, profanity-laden, adult-themed scenarios involving topics such as poverty, teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, prison culture, and murder” subverted the expectations of the Seussian genre, and dismissed counterclaims of copyright infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition.
Margherita, an Olivier winner for Zorro, most recently appeared on Broadway as Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda—a role she originated when the production opened in 2013; she later returned to the role as a member of the final company. She also starred as Mona Kent in the 2015 Broadway production of Dames at Sea. She is no stranger to commanding the stage alone following a string of acclaimed cabaret acts: Rule Your Kingdom, All Hail The Queen, and Broad.
The design team includes David Gallo (sets), Ken Billington and Jonathan Spencer (lighting), and Jess Goldstein (costumes). Sound design is by Bart Fasbender, and wigs are designed by Charles LaPointe. Michael Sottile provides original music and arrangements.
Who's Holiday! is produced by Gene Fisch, Jr., Jason Shaw, and Scott and Jenny Beck.
For tickets, visit whosholiday.com.