the old globe

Old Globe Reimagines Annual ‘Grinch' Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration

The annual lighting of the Old Globe's Dr. Seuss-inspired Christmas tree was held virtually on Sunday

NBC Universal, Inc.

Every year toward the end of November, thousands of people gather in the Old Globe's Copley Plaza to watch the lighting of the theater's Christmas tree and to see performances from the cast of "Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

This year, due to the pandemic, the Globe is presenting a special radio version of "The Grinch" on KPBS and held a virtual tree-lighting celebration on its Facebook page.

“There’s gonna be the songs from the show, there’s gonna be special appearances from some Grinch alumni past and present, there’s gonna be our world-famous sing-along and also, the green guy might show up himself,” Associate Artistic Director Justin Waldman said.

But the centerpiece of the celebration -- the tree -- will still be standing tall in the plaza. The Old Globe's scenic crew put the finishing touches on it Thursday.

"This is my favorite gig of the year that I do," Lead Carpenter Jack Hernandez said. "So I was very excited to find out that it was still happening."

Hernandez was concerned that, due to the pandemic, the tree lighting might be canceled like most of his other theatre-related jobs. But the Globe actually moved up its timeline to make sure it could get the tree up before the purple tier restrictions took effect at midnight on Friday.

"Because we know how important it is," Waldman said. “This means so much to San Diego, to the people of San Diego and to the Old Globe to be able to be a part of their holiday traditions in this way.”

Donna Cooley brought her 6-month-old granddaughter, Ella Rose, to see the tree.

“She’s sort of awestruck," Cooley said, laughing.

Cooley said she feels the same way each year when she sees the tree and that she was happy to see it up again this year.

‘This really chokes me up, because the way everything’s been, we need something to be happy about," Cooley said. "And this really, I think, is gonna kick off the season to really have a wonderful holiday this year.”

Modeled after Shakespeare's Old Globe in London, San Diego's Old Globe
Theatre in Balboa Park was built in 1935 for the presentation of abridged
versions of Shakespeare's plays as part of the California Pacific International
Exposition. The Old Globe annually produces 15 productions, ranging from
Shakespeare to an ongoing emphasis on the development and production of new

The tree lighting ceremony will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. here.

Hear the radio version of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas on for free on KPBS Radio 89.5 FM, on the KPBS website and app, and on smart speakers
Thursday, November 26 (Thanksgiving Day) at 12:00 noon, Saturday, December 5 at 12:00 noon, Sunday, December 20 at 12:00 noon, and Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) at 6:00 p.m.

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