Each fall for the past seven years, Stefan Karl has loaded up his family and boarded a plane from his home in Iceland to the United States to entertain families across the country as the Grinch in Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.
The production will entertain Oklahoma City audiences at Civic Center Music Hall with 10 shows between October 28 and November 2. Karl’s resume includes stints on television, and he’s best known as villain Robbie Rotten in the popular Nick Jr. show Lazy Town. However, his true love is theater and that’s reflected on stage. The long-running musical has broken box office records and thousands of families flock to theaters each year to see it again.
“This story brings a great message,” Karl said of the show. “This story is very relevant. In my opinion, this is the story that we need to tell our children today, especially when it comes to Christmas.”
He explained that the same things keeping families from connecting with each other when Dr. Seuss wrote the original story decades ago still stand in the way of families today. As Christmas has become more about consumption and less about family, the story told in How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical serves as a heart-warming reminder to connect.
“We’re kind of coming out of an economic crisis now and we have to ask ourselves, ‘do we want to go back to this consumer’s holiday or do we want to stick to this message, which is that family is the most important thing?’” Karl said. “What is more important, the stuff we buy or the time we spend together?”
Spending time as a family isn’t just something he talks about for his Grinch character, either. Karl takes his wife and kids, ages 6, 7, 13 and 19, with him when he travels for the show. They’ve grown up backstage and Karl said they take great pride in being part of the production family.
The actor relishes the opportunity to expose his own kids to theater, but he takes even more pride in introducing young audience members to the magic of the stage. He said in an age where reality television and 3D screens try to make the unreal seem real, he feels it’s more important than ever to expose kids to actors on a stage. And because a young audience can be a tough crowd, he feels it’s important to give them a good, memorable show to ignite in them a passion for theater.
“If they dislike what you’re doing, they right away start doing something else,” he said of a young audience. “They’re not afraid to say, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m not into this. I’m leaving.’”
He hasn’t had any trouble holding their attention with this Christmas story, though, and he takes pride in the fact that the biggest laughs and loudest applause come from some of the oldest theater tricks in the book.
Find showtimes and purchase tickets at www.celebrityattractions.com.
[Editor’s Note: MetroFamily Magazine staff will be providing extra family fun at Civic Center Music Hall prior to the 11am performance on November 1.]