Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical plays the Buell through Dec. 8

Dr. Seuss created a variety of weird and wonderful characters over the years, but none so indelible as The Grinch. Sure, he swiped a page or three out of Dickens’s Christmas Carol to tell the tale of a Christmas-hating grump who eventually sees the light, but his version of Scrooge has taken on a life of its own.

And, of course, instead of ghosts showing him how things might have been or could be, The Grinch just needs to see evidence that the whole shebang isn’t about bucketloads of crap from the mall (or perhaps Amazon).

This 2018 musical version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, a touring production of which is now showing at the Denver Center, has a high bar to clear: a darn-near perfect animated version from 1966 directed by Chuck Jones and starring Boris Karloff as both The Grinch and the narrator. It’s the one we all know and the one against all other Grinches must be measured.

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When I think of all the Christmas specials that have hung around December after December, The Grinch is perhaps the only one that doesn’t make me cringe. There’s none of the reindeer racism and shaming of Rudolph, no annoying and juvenile Frosty the Snowman, none of the overt religiosity or cruelty of A Charlie Brown Christmas and none of whatever Love, Actually is. Chuck Jones’s Grinch is funny, clever, touching, weird and remarkably concise at just 25 minutes run time.

It also had two great songs: “Welcome Christmas” (which I’ve always thought of as the “ahoo-doray” song) and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” That’s the one that a