Young actors thrilled to be part of Old Globe’s ‘Grinch’
By Diana Saenger
ContributorWith its delightful characters, holiday drama, spirited dancing and singing, the annual arrival of The Globe’s “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is a grand time for everyone. This year, the show runs Nov. 20– Dec. 26 in The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park.
Playing the Grinch that kids love to fear, Jeff Skowron (“The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “High Society,” “The Boy From Oz” and more) returns for his second year as the grouchy green curmudgeon.
The cast always includes an ensemble of children, some returning to the show, others eager to make their debut.
The local kids in this year’s cast include Emma Ford, alternating nights with Skylar Starrs Siben as Annie Who, and Liam James Brandt, part of the Little Who ensemble.
Ford, a Carmel Valley fifth grader, has performed on stage since age 7. “I’ve tried out twice before, and I’ve always loved this show so I’m really excited for this experience at The Old Globe,” Ford said.
She has appeared in 13 musical productions with Broadway Bound Youth Theater and has recently performed with ACT-San Diego. Her favorite roles were in “Annie,” “Willy Wonka” “Chocolate Factory” and “Mulan.” In “Mulan” Ford had the lead role of Mushu, a Chinese maiden who sets out to save her father.
“I didn’t have to do an accent for that role, but I did a little bit of one anyway,” said Ford, who was inspired by her father to perform in plays. “He was Daddy Warbucks when I was Annie. We had a lot of fun, and it was easy to work with him.”
She hopes someday to attend NYU and study theater arts. Her favorite Dr. Seuss books include “Hop on Pop” and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”
Liam James Brandt, who is making his Old Globe debut, has credits that include: “The Jungle Book,” “The Music Man,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Princess and the Pea,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Annie,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “The Little Red Hen.”
Brandt attends school in Rancho Santa Fe. He said he was encouraged by a friend’s mother to try out for productions. After taking dancing, voice and acting lessons and landing roles in local plays, Brandt is so hooked he wants to make performing his career.
“It’s kind of a challenge to keep up with my schoolwork,” he said, “but it’s fun, and I really enjoy it.”
The 10-year-old actor said he was well acquainted with Dr. Seuss books before he auditioned for “The Grinch.”
“ ‘What Was I Scared Of?’ is my favorite book,” he said. “I think the green pants are really funny.”
Other cast members include Logan Lipton (Young Max), Martin Van Treuren (Old Max), Remy Margaret Corbin and Shea Starrs Siben (Cindy-Lou Who), Melinda Gilb (Mama Who), Steve Gunderson (Papa Who), Eileen Bowman (Grandma Who), Phil Johnson (Grandpa Who), Samantha Wang and Julia Way (Betty-Lou Who), Leif Erik Isaacson and Dylan Nalbandian (Boo Who), Trevor Juliano Lerma and Lane Palhegyi (Danny Who).
Ensemble members include Aaron Acosta, Felicity Bryant, Dominique Castillo, Courtney Corey, Randall Dodge, Madeline Edwards, Anna George, Kyle J. Jackson, Samantha Littleford, Allison Ma, Kürt Norby, Karyn Overstreet, Lou Francine Rasse, Emma Rasse and Anise Ritchie.
The fifth annual Globe Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21 on the Globe’s Copley Plaza kicks off the holiday season in connection with the shows. The event includes a performance by “Grinch” cast members, plus a “snowfall.”
Tickets to this free event are limited, but may be obtained by subscribers and are included with the tickets to the 4 p.m. Nov. 21 performance.
If you go
What:‘Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’
When:Matinees and evenings, Nov. 20–Dec. 26
Where:The Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
Tickets:$39-$77 adults; $20-$57 kids 7 and younger; attendees must be 3 years or older, except for the 11 a.m. performances for which tickets can be purchased for children of all ages
Contact: (619) 23-GLOBE or