November 19, 2022
By Kristen Schweizer
The merriest time of year brings fantastic stage options for San Diego families. For those looking to see something mature, wonderful, and new there is Diversionary’s The Mystery of Irma Vep) or if loved ones instead prefer something familiar and traditional the San Diego Ballet offers (The Nutcracker. If your family loves Scrooge, take your pick between an updated classic Cygnet’s A Christmas Carol or a hyper-local version of the tale The Old Globe’s Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show, or hurry to North Coast Rep this weekend to the fascinating Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.
There is, of course, the city’s ever-popular “Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Old Globe. This year is the show’s 25th anniversary, and it’s just as joyful and triumphant as ever. For first-time attendees or those attending with young children, here are some helpful hints for navigating a trip to see the Grinch.
1. Track down your tickets
This show is often one of the hottest tickets in town during the holiday season, so get your tickets soon. Consider breaking up your party to give kids an optimal view; aisle seats or the front row of the balcony are generally the best options. Booster seats are available upon request – just ask an usher!
Audience members under age two are invited to the 10:30 a.m. all-ages performance on weekends. Only at these performances are children under the age of two free, but they must occupy the same seat and sit on the lap of their caregiver. (Regardless of age, each audience member, including babes in arms, must have a ticket to be admitted into the theater. Free lap tickets must be obtained from the Ticket Office and are unavailable online.) Kids over age 2 are not eligible for free lap tickets.
There is a sensory-friendly performance on Saturday, December 10. Parents can also call the Ticket Office to request more information about the needs-only Quiet Room.
2. Commute carefully
If your kids are out of car seats, taking a rideshare is a great idea, and a good drop-off/pick-up option is the central traffic circle by the Plaza de Panama fountain. If you are driving, there are 11 free (but busy) parking lots in Balboa Park and designated pick-up and drop-off spots for the park’s tram.
All evening performance ticket holders can purchase valet parking in the San Diego Zoo’s parking structure on Old Globe Way. Shuttle services between the valet drop-off point and The Old Globe’s Copley Plaza are available for those who require assistance.
Valet parking spaces are limited and may be pre-purchased at a discounted rate of $17 by contacting the Ticket Services Department, but for a popular show like Grinch, consider making your reservation as soon as possible because spaces fill quickly. If you’re feeling lucky, you may drive up and purchase valet parking directly from the valets on-site (subject to availability) for $21 on the night of your performance. The valet opens two hours before evening showtimes and closes 30 minutes after the evening’s final performance (or post-show forum) concludes.
3. Prep your presumptions
This show is an updated take on Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The story is similar and quotes the book, but it is an original script unlike the movies. The tale is narrated by “Old Max” (a grown-up version of the Grinch’s pup and includes original music. On the evening I attended, local talent Steve Gunderson masterfully stepped into the role; understudy for John Treacy Egan). Andrew Polec’s Grinch is loud and humorous but menacing, perfect for brave preschoolers and kids elementary-age and above.
If your little one is easily frightened, consider seats further back from the first two rows and perhaps show them images of the Grinch costume (i.e., my five-year-old mentioned several times that “This Grinch has claws”) before deciding to attend.
4. Photograph with the Fir
The towering tree is a San Diego icon that can be visited and photographed even if you do not attend the show.
Pro tip: it’s faster to get a turn in the backside of the tree (closest to the tables, facing the box office), and if you angle well, you can get a peek up the Grinchy surprise above the Helen Edison gift shop in your shot.
5. Snag a Snack
Lady Carolyn’s Pub – the Globe’s concessions stands – offers a large selection of meals, snacks, desserts, and beverages alongside a full bar. There is plentiful seating to enjoy the beverages. It opens 90 minutes before the performance.
Remember that food is not permitted in the theater, and they stop serving food 15 minutes before the show begins. Beverages with lids are allowed in the Old Globe Theatre (where Grinch plays), but not the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre (where Scrooge plays).
6. See the Souvenirs
The Helen Edison Gift shop is chock-full of whimsical options to remember the trip. Peruse their options – or consider coming prepared with a memento to present your loved one!
7. Beeline for the Bathroom
The performance is 85 minutes without intermission. The courtyard restrooms attached to the Lowell Davies Festival Stage behind the Haddox Hall concessions area are best to avoid lines in the theatre lobbies.
8. Have a Delightful Denouement
Enjoy! Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a testament to The Old Globe’s impeccable reputation, and your family will remember it for years to come.