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‘Grinch’ sets out to steal hearts … again

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

  • Nov. 15 – Dec. 28
  • The Old Globe
  • 1363 Old Globe Way
  • (619) 234-5623,

www.theoldglobe.org

It’s hard to imagine a production that can successfully run for 11 years, but when it comes to kids and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” anything is possible. The annual holiday production will enchant audiences, young and old, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 28 at The Old Globe.

With an incredibly delightful imagination, La Jollan Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, penned nearly 60 children’s books before his passing. The crowd-pleasing “Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is about the scary green creature who dislikes merry people and wants to end Christmas.

Kevin Bailey returns this year to scowl and growl in the role of the Grinch. The children of Whoville are played by many local youths who alternate performances and include: Skylar Starrs Siben, returning in the role of Cindy-Lou Who; newcomer Issadora Tulalian; Bibi Valderrama and Alison Norwood as Betty-Lou Who; Madison Simpson and Kayla Solsbak as Annie Who; Benjamin Shaffer and Dylan Mulvaney as Danny Who; and Tommy Twomey and A.J. Foggiano as Boo Who.

“It’s a lot of hard work but also fun,” said Simpson, a fifth grader at Del Mar Elementary who hopes to make her living as a singer.

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This summer, Simpson had the lead role of Rosie in San Diego Junior Theatre’s “Really Rosie” and recently sang the national anthem for the NBA Phoenix Sun’s basketball game.

“I just love performing in front of people,” Simpson said. “I can remember singing before I could talk.”

By now 12-year-old Alison Norwood is an old pro on the “Grinch” stage. This is the third year the busy actress will play Betty-Lou Who. The Carmel Del Mar Elementary straight-A student has been a voice for Disney on Ice, played Tiny Tim in Branson, Missouri’s “A Christmas Carol” and has many other theatrical credits. Norwood claims she felt magic the first time she was on stage.

“Ever since my mother put me in dance class at age 3, I’ve loved to sing and dance,” she said. “I fell in love with acting the first time I was under the spotlight. I had this incredible feeling come over me that I was home. The cast of the Who family feel like family, and it feels fantastic to be a part of something so fun and magical.”

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For many families, “Grinch” is a family tradition.

“Every year on Christmas eve my grandfather read the book to me,” said 12-year-old La Jollan Hallie Bodenstab. “I love the story and this show because it reminds me of some of the Christmases we’ve had.”

Bodenstab, who is in seventh grade at Muirlands Middle School, is part of the ensemble cast of “Grinch.” She has appeared in school plays and loves everything about the show.

“The singing and just being on stage,” she said, “it’s a great feeling to be able to entertain people.”