The Old Globe Welcomes 'The Lorax' To Its World Of Seuss
The Old Globe may be home to "Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas," but the "Mean One" will have to share a space with another beloved Seuss character: The Lorax.
"Dr. Seuss's The Lorax" is a family-friendly play that originated in London's West End, and opens in San Diego on Monday.
It tells the tale of The Once-ler, a lonely businessman who cuts down the silky, soft Truffula trees to make his Thneed, "a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need." But when the forest begins to disappear, The Lorax arrives to give the trees a voice.
In the show, The Once-ler is played by Steven Epp. The Lorax is actually a puppet that's handled by Meghan Kreidler, Rick Miller and H. Adam Harris. Harris is also the voice of "The Lorax."
On Midday Edition Monday, Epp and Harris explain why "The Lorax" is as important a story now as when it was first published in 1971. They also explained that even though this play is designed for families, it's just as sophisticated as anything audiences would expect from The Old Globe.
And though "The Lorax" Associate Director James Vásquez was busy figuring out Truffula tree logistics and could not join the on-air interview, he did answer some questions via email.
Here's what Vásquez had to say about working on the show:
You're the longtime director of "The Grinch." How is putting together this production different?
It's really just a learning curve. "Grinch" is so completely in my bones after all these years, so I feel very comfortable in the world of Dr. Seuss. But, there is a bit of a more modern energy to the storytelling of "The Lorax," and many, many more moving pieces on and off stage. But the heart of Seuss is still there.
As the "keeper" of the Grinch, do you feel a responsibility to these new Seuss characters?
Well, first of all, being the "keeper" of the Grinch continues to be one of the greatest gifts of my life. I feel a great responsibility to the show, our community and tradition. Being given this opportunity to befriend another classic Seuss character is not something I take lightly. Many of us have grown up with and feel a connection to these characters before even walking into the theatre. So, for me, the number one rule has always been to honor Dr. Seuss's original intent. He's given us such a brilliant jumping off point to build upon and make relevant for more modern times - but they remain the funny, outrageous and lovable characters we've grown up with.
Why is "The Lorax" a good fit for The Old Globe?
Gosh, for many reasons! San Diego already speaks the Seuss language thanks to the long-running tradition of "The Grinch." Also, during "The Lorax," when we arrive in Paradise Valley I think audiences will recognize the trees! Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, is from La Jolla and took inspiration for a lot of his work and drawings from the local world around him. Finally, the timing for the story could (sadly) not be more perfect. As we watch cities get bigger and bigger around us, we also watch some of the natural beauty take a hit as a result of that bigger-ing. We've got to take care of our world and each other - which is ultimately the overriding message of "The Lorax."
The prices for The Lorax are lower than the usual Globe prices, why is that?
The Old Globe has done really wonderful work of embracing the community and encouraging those who don't usually attend the theatre to give it a shot. We're going to survive only if we can get new audiences through the door. I think programming and making it affordable is key in being successful in that mission. "The Lorax" offers an opportunity for families and audiences of all ages to enjoy a night (or afternoon) out at the Old Globe.
"Dr. Seuss's The Lorax" runs July 2 through Aug. 12. Find additional details at The Old Globe.