Ben McLean takes on the role of the Grinch in Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics/Cirque Theatre Company’s presentation of The Grinch. The spectacle features music

Ben McLean takes on the role of the Grinch in Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics/Cirque Theatre Company’s presentation of The Grinch. The spectacle features music

The Grinch’s origins are explored

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics gives a new take on the beloved Dr. Seuss tale.

Most of us know of the emerald skinned creature created by children’s story book author Dr. Seuss.

With his heart two sizes too small, the Grinch stews away in his mountain-top cave with his poor dog Max, while the Whos in Whoville below prepare for Christmas Eve.

And we know how much the Grinch hates noise, feasting, and especially singing!

But did you know how the Grinch became so grouchy?

Audiences will soon be led into this new take on the story to the early days of the Grinch’s life when the Vernon-based Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics (ORG) Club and Cirque Theatre Company present The Grinch at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

“In the first act we find out why the Grinch’s heart is too small and the second act is the story we are all familiar with, except for the fact that the scary monster the Whos are all afraid of is actually someone other than they thought,” said Camille Martens, the show’s mastermind, director and ORG head coach.

The Grinch is the ORG’s 14th performing arts production (past shows have included The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland, Anastasia) and this one promises once again to be a spectacle of music, movement, and eye-catching costumes and sets.

“The collaborative nature of this show is a true team effort. Individual sport can be narcissistic in that is a self-focused activity. This show is about team building. No one can do this by themselves,” said Martens.

With the music ranging from Russian-Jewish Klezmer Christmas songs, which Martens acknowledges is a bit ironic, to more modern dance music, the show will not only showcase the gymnasts’ amazing feats of agility in dance, acrobatics and cirque skills, but there will be all the drama and theatrics thanks to the contribution of many talented community members, said Martens.

On the top of that list is design guru David Brotsky, who has once again created the sets.

“This year’s production includes moveable backdrops made of Styrofoam that sit on snowboard skids, which make it easier for the young crew members to move during the set changes,” said Martens, who also credits costumer Trina Montie-Panich with her magical sewing skills.

“They are both amazing. I can’t do this show without them.”

Helping Martens flesh out the narrative of the story has been fellow coaches/assistant directors Tammy Andreotti and Brie-Anne MacPherson, as well as actor Ben McLean, who has starred in past ORG productions in roles such as the Cheshire Cat and Willy Wonka.

Here he dons the full green makeup as the Grinch.

“Ben is amazingly talented and I know his Grinch will be memorable,” said Martens.

Serving as the show’s narrator is Eric Pells, who can usually be found twirling knobs and adjusting lights as the technical director at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

“He is the voice of the local media, The Whofington Post. You can hear him over the top telling all the Whos to check their devices,” said Martens.

Starring as the young Who boy who is shunned and mocked and eventually seeks his revenge  (no spoiler here) is Camryn Steele, while Cindy Lou Who is being played by two athletes: Sydney Hannah as her younger version and Emmalee Holland as her older counterpart.

Maddy Sellars plays the Grinch’s faithful pet Max, while the king of Whoville is performed by Yann Brierley and the queen is none other than ORG coach MacPherson.

The Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnasts have been producing a performing arts production since 2001 and in the last three years have sold out more shows than any other user group at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, said Martens.

“We are once again doing three performances for school groups before we open to the public,” she said.

The Grinch opens to the public with shows Friday Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 28 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Ticket Seller box office in the Performing Arts Centre. Call 250-549-7469 or order at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thirty-four unionized workers represented by MoveUp started rotating job action at VantageOne Credit Union's two Vernon locations Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Workers are calling for basic job protection and fair security. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)
VantageOne staff urged to take tentative deal in Vernon

It’s been more than one month since union workers went on strike

A part-time staff member at Vernon’s Chartwell Carrington Place Retirement Residence has tested positive for COVID-19, the seniors home’s general manager said Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Chartwell photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Vernon seniors home

An employee at Carrington Place has tested positive; Interior Health is not declaring an outbreak

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon COVID-19 care home deaths now up to 13

Another member of Noric House has passed

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

Bernie Sanders at Kal Lake. (5iveby5ive)
PHOTOS: Bernie in Vernon

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has once again delighted the internet with his insta-meme status

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
Court hears of victim’s injuries in West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Two-week-long trial continues for Kevin Barrett, accused of trying to kill mother in West Kelowna

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A mother hold hands with her daughter while sharing about her struggles with addiction during Overdose Awareness Day. (Jesse Major/Black Press file)
Overdose and suicide support group starts in Penticton

Penticton was one of the province’s communities hardest hit by the overdose crisis in 2020

The steel mills in the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Dyer: Stay the course on Carbon pricing

Kristy Dyer has a background in art and physics and consulted for Silicon Valley

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Voting is the number one, bare minimum way to have your voice heard by government. (File photo)
Jocelyn’s Jottings: Want to make change? Here are some suggestions

As a citizen you have a voice, you just have to know who to talk to

Most Read