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The Grinch Set To Steal The Airwaves This Winter

The Old Globe and KPBS will pair up to bring

Credit: Jim Cox

Above: The Old Globe and KPBS will pair up to bring "Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" to a new radio play format while theaters remain closed. Edward Watts, pictured at right in this November 2019 photo, will play The Grinch.

The Old Globe has announced that they are unable to stage their 23rd annual live performances of "Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, The Grinch and cast members will visit San Diego families after all, on the radio. KPBS has partnered with The Old Globe to deliver a free, audio-only production across the airwaves.

"It's impossible to imagine the holidays in San Diego without the Globe's production of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas," said Old Globe artistic director Barry Edelstein, "and we were not about to let the coronavirus make a Grinchy move of its own and take this grand tradition away from us."

Edelstein said that this partnership with KPBS will be a big step towards future radio theater projects.

"The intimacy of radio and its broad, easy access will bring this great show to a huge, new San Diego audience and will spread the magic of theatre and the healing spirit of Dr. Seuss around our region at a time when both could not be more needed," Edelstein said.

The radio play will run approximately an hour and a half, and can be heard on KPBS radio (89.5 FM) in San Diego, streamed online or on smart speakers in the following time slots:

  • Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26 at noon
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 at noon
  • Sunday, Dec. 20 at noon
  • Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.

"It reminds me of when families would gather around the radio to listen to entertaining storytelling," said KPBS general manager Tom Karlo. "I hope that in whatever manner families listen, they feel their hearts grow three sizes with joy in hearing this iconic story and sharing the experience alongside their community," said Karlo.

The audio play is directed by James Vásquez, with book and lyrics by Timothy Mason and music by Mel Marvin — the original play was by Jack O'Brien, with additional work by Theodor S. Geisel (lyrics), Albert Hauge (music) and John DeLuca (choreography). The musical is based on the Dr. Seuss book.

With Old Globe favorite Edward Watts as The Grinch as well as Tommy Martinez as Young Max and John Treacy Egan as Old Max, audiences will still get a sense of the familiar production. Plus, musical numbers like "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Santa for a Day," "Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze)," will be included in the radio play.

The Old Globe's holiday programming will also include a virtual tree lighting ceremony the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and a sensory-friendly virtual Grinch program on Dec. 20.

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Julia Dixon Evans
Arts Calendar Editor and Producer

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI write the weekly KPBS Arts newsletter and edit and produce the KPBS Arts calendar. I am interested in getting San Diegans engaged with the diversity of art and culture made by the creative people who live here.

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