Start a new family Christmas tradition of taking your kids to see live theater with this holiday classic.
Christmas is all about traditions. Everything from getting a picture with Santa, to baking cookies, to watching Christmas movies, we build our memories around those things that we do every year. As a mom, I've tried to keep some of the traditions that I loved from my own childhood and add in some new ideas that reflect our unique family. One of the things that my husband and I both love is live theatre, especially musicals, and this year we've decided to make seeing a live show a new family Christmas tradition.
I received complimentary tickets to facilitate my review. This post also contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for details.
The theatre has been part of my life since I was a little girl, and I love that my husband enjoys and appreciates it too. We've seen a lot of musicals together, but since our twins were born, we haven't made it to the theatre as much as we'd like. But now that our boys are 4, and better able to sit still and pay attention for longer periods of time, we are both super excited to start sharing our love of the theatre with them. So when we found out that Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical was going to be in our area over the Christmas holiday, we knew it would be the perfect first musical for them. And we thought, what a fun family Christmas tradition to start and a great experience gift for our entire family!
There are so many reasons to expose your children to live theatre. One study has shown that exposure to live theatre can "enhance literary knowledge, tolerance, and empathy among students" (read more here). The theatre, especially musicals, captures children's imaginations in a way that no movie, TV show, or video can. Growing this appreciation for the arts at an early age can lead to a lifetime of creativity and enjoyment.
My boys are already Grinch obsessed, thanks to the book by Dr. Seuss, the classic TV special, and even the live action movie. So I knew that Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, playing at the National Theatre, would be the perfect first musical for them.
We decided to surprise the boys and didn't tell them where we were going, so you can only imagine their excitement when we turned the corner and they saw the Grinch from the National Theatre marquee. "Are we at the Grinch's HOUSE?" asked one of my boys, completely incredulous. The other just looked up and said, "I'm impressed." We hurried out of the cold and into the theater, where we had some snacks and mocktails (calling it Rudolph's Red Nose makes a Shirley Temple so much more festive). Kudos to the National Theatre for serving kid friendly cups with lids and allowing snacks and drinks inside.
As the lights dimmed, I could feel the boys' excitement and I couldn't wait to see what the Grinch had in store for us. It did not disappoint.
The musical is narrated by an older version of the Grinch's dog Max ("Max is talking!") which enchanted my animal lovers. The narrator was wonderful, keeping the story moving along and doing justice to many of the famous lines from the book. The sets made you feel like you were transported right into Dr. Seuss' book, with simple black and white set pieces that were a perfect contrast to the Who's bright and colorful costumes, and of course to the green Grinch.
I was curious as to how the musical would stretch the original story into 85 minutes, and I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of creating a new backstory for the Grinch (as was done in the live action film), the musical simply adds more songs and fleshes out a few of the characters - Max in particular. There is also a lovely scene and duet with the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who.
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical held both my 4 year old boys' attention beautifully (and they do not sit still unless they are totally enthralled). The pace was perfect for little ones, with songs that they know and love and new numbers that they really enjoyed. There was even a "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" sing-a-long which was super fun and a great touch.
And when it started "snowing" in the theater at the end... well, I can definitely say it was a magical Christmas moment that they will always remember.
Seeing Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the National Theatre was an entertaining and magical way for us to begin our new family Christmas tradition of seeing a live show around the holidays. It's a perfect first musical for kids and will truly delight the entire family. If you're looking for a new family tradition or a wonderful experience gift, the Grinch should be on your Christmas list this year!
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is playing at the National Theatre in Washington, DC, through December 31, 2016. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit thenationaldc.com or grinchmusical.com.
Production photos of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical 2014 tour company used with permission.