The cast of an earlier touring production of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

I can’t stand the Bard’s pentameter verse 
Though Gilbert & Sullivan bothers me worse
But the one writing style for which I’ve no use
Is the preening rhymed scheming of one Dr. Seuss

The Grinch’s tetrameter is hard to endure
Particularly sung and when presented on tour
And it’s no help at all if you first read the book
You’ll be kicking yourself for the time that it took


And don’t watch the cartoon, which was made for TV
Or the film with Jim Carrey as the titular he
It’ll do you no good for they all sound the same
Tim Mason’s the playwright.  He’s the one to be blamed

The Grinch landed on Broadway and it did fairly well
In critical praise and the tickets they sell 
It then hit the road in mid-two thousand and ten
COVID put it on hold, but it’s touring again

It’s the third time in Providence as a PPAC show
Despite better judgment I decided to go
I expected to hate it, and that’s not a lie
But like it I do, here’s my reasons for why

Matt August directed and with him at the helm
A team of designers created a realm
Using every drawn curve and every drawn line 
From the book’s illustrations as scenic design

The songs aren’t memorable, I can’t recall one
But the 11-piece band (under Adam Jones’ direction) makes every one fun
The staging, the lights, and the costuming too
Make this long-touring show seem incredibly new

There’s an ensemble cast (which is not that unusual)
They sing all of the songs (par for shows that are musicals)
They play all the Who parents and all the Who tots
Who hit all the right notes and at all the right spots

As the Grinch, Anthony Cataldo is really a find
If you do read the book, it is him in your mind
He’s outlandishly funny and often outrageous
And the pleasure he’s having is like COVID – contagious

Two girls alternate as young Cindy-Lou Who
Viv Atencio’s the one who showed up to review
She captures your heart with each line that is sung
And has remarkable presence for someone so young

As with all Seuss’s tales, there’s a moral here, too
Despite the odd verbiage, this show’s surely for you
Oh, and please don’t forget it’s a holiday show
So every adult should bring children in tow

This coming Sunday ends the run of this play
If you’re planning a visit that’s as long as it stays
Just please heed this warming (too bad I did not) 
Attendance could lead to you rhyming non-stop

How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical runs through Dec. 3 at Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence. Contact or by phone at (401) 421-2787.

Bob Abelman is an award-winning theater critic who formerly wrote for the Austin Chronicle.