Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
The start of the holiday season is right around the corner, and the next big production at the Lutcher Theater is starting off its national tour right here in Orange.
The Big League Productions presentation of “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” will be available at 2 p.m., and again at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Lutcher Theater, 707 Main Ave. in Orange.. Tickets are $35-$65 and are on sale at www.lutcher.org or by calling the Lutcher Theater Box Office at 409-886-5535.
Performers with the Broadway musical and Big League Productions have been in Orange all week rehearsing for hours and hours each day in anticipation of the tour kick-off. The Orange performance is the first in seven tour stops this season. Other destinations include Fort Worth and San Antonio, along with Cincinnati, Ohio, Durham, N.C., Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y.
According to Jim Clark, director of the Luther Theater for the Performing Arts, this is a great opportunity for the venue and for the community.
“There is a significant economic impact to our community when we get to host a production preparing for its national tour,” Clark said. “It’s cast, crew, and production staying in 50 hotel rooms for 10 days, and that’s big. They really spend a lot of time here, and it’s seven days solid.”
Clark said the touring production of “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” will conduct approximately 10 performances in each of the subsequent cities it visits, and then that is it until next year.
“This production only tours during the holidays,” he added. “And this is probably the only time it will ever be in Orange.”
Clark said this is not the first time the Lutcher Theater has hosted a production preparing for its national tour. The last time was the production “Messiah Rocks!,” which was “here a few years ago.”
“It all fell into place because of familiarity with our venue,” Clark explained. “The same producer of this did ‘Dream Girls’ here last year. We talked about getting ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ here and we had the time and the space available to meet their needs. It’s a very large production with very large sets. It travels in six, eighteen wheelers.”
Clark said the cast and crew involved in the production spend a great deal of time at the venue in order to prepare for the upcoming tour.
“They work long days, and I’m talking 12-hour days,” Clark said. “The crew gets here first and the performers get here before noon and they rehearse until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. They are very busy, but we look out for them.
“When you have something like this that really impacts a community, you have to be able to meet their needs,” he added. “We have 30 to 40 local stage hands who are working 10 hours a day, and that’s a large paycheck. When you add in the hotel rooms, the meals and other things, that’s a big benefit to Orange and the whole community.”
In conjunction with “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” and the start of the holiday season, in honor of Max, the Grinch’s dog, the Lutcher Theater is asking patrons for donations of premium pet food, gift cards or cash donations to be donated to the Humane Society of Southeast Texas.
Donations may be brought to the Lutcher Theater before show times in the first floor lobby of the theater. In appreciation, donors will receive a heart sticker displaying Max the dog along with the sentiment, “I Have “Max”-imum Heart!
Clark said approximately 85 percent of tickets have been sold already for both shows but a “few hundred” remain.
“Whether you are going to a playoff game on Saturday or just want to get out of the weather, we still have tickets and this will be a production that everyone will remember,” he said.
Visit www.lutcher.org for more information on this and other events.