Brockville dancer tours U.S. with ‘Grinch, The Musical’

Since the book was published in 1957, the Dr. Seuss story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, has stolen hearts worldwide — in its many forms: books, TV, motion pictures, twice, and a touring Broadway show.

What you probably didn’t know is that a Brockville dancer is currently in that show touring U.S. cities.

Kelli Gautreau broke from her busy schedule to speak with Global News from Chicago, where the show made a stop recently.

The Broadway adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been touring for a decade, and Brockville native Gautreau remembers when the Dr. Seuss classic first hit the road.

“It opened on Broadway in 2006 and in 2008, they decided to take it on tour,” she said. “That was my first year that I did it and I was playing a character named ‘Punky Who’ which is actually the name of my dog now because I got my dog the same time as my contract.”

Gautreau took part in the production again in 2014, and now, four years later, she’s at it again.

“I’m playing a different character. I play ‘Danny Who.’ So I’ve done it three times. It’s been going 11 years though — going on maybe 17 or 18 productions.”

Gautreau says a lot has changed over the years but not her height.

“The good news is, I’m still short,” she laughs. “That’s a huge requirement for the role I play.”

Gautreau plays a teenager. The show’s creative directors insist on portraying the young and the old of “Whoville” as the small and the tall much like they are depicted in the original Seuss illustrations — with great contrast.

Gautreau always knew she’d be dancing for a living. Her family owns and runs a dance studio in Brockville where she has worked hard to hone her craft but it was much earlier — after seeing the motion picture adaptation of Annie at the age of 5 — when she told her mother she would be moving to New York City where she now resides.

“That was actually my first role that I ever played,” she remembers, “In Brockville, it was Annie.”

That’s when the theatre bug grabbed hold of Gautreau. She admits that in time there will be less dancing and more choreography, teaching and inspiring others — especially her students in New York and Brockville.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from because talent is talent and beyond talent, it’s your drive and your ability not to give up.”

How the Grinch Stole Christmas will close out its U.S. run at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 30.

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