Carly Tamer on the True Spirit of the Holidays
Up-and-coming actress co-stars as Cindy-Lou Who in Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.
You don’t need to celebrate a certain Christian holiday to enjoy a musical about it. Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas may be about a cruel, misanthropic green creature who gradually learns the true meaning of the holiday, but its message is a little more universal than that.
Co-starring as Cindy-Lou Who, the young girl who melts the Grinch’s heart, is nine-year-old Carly Tamer. The Long Island-born actress began her career three years ago and has since racked up roles in productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Off-Broadway show I Love You Petty, and episodes of Sesame Street and Nickelodeon’s Team Umizoomi. This fall, she joined the North American tour of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.
When I ask what makes the show so widely appealing, especially to those who don’t celebrate Christmas, Tamer replies, “It’s all about the holidays and being with your family and friends. And the music is amazing.” As an added bonus for Dr. Seuss fans, the lavish sets and costumes vividly recreate the imagery of the book onstage. “It’s like seeing Dr. Seuss come alive,” says Tamer.
Since the tour started Nov. 9, Tamer has traveled through Nebraska, Arizona and Texas. Her current stop in Toronto marks her first visit to the city. Though she missed her family’s regular Hanukkah celebrations this year, Tamer tells me someone in the cast anonymously gave her presents for each night of the holiday, and she lit an electric menorah in her room.
After the tour, she’s looking forward to returning to her fourth grade class on Long Island (she’s been keeping up with schoolwork by working with a tutor four days a week), though future performances may not be far off. She’s already auditioned for Billy Elliot: The Musical. “I would love to do Billy Elliot,” she says. “I had a callback when we were on tour, so we’ll see.”
Before we get off the phone, Tamer’s mom, Caroline, picks up again on the universal message of Grinch – that even though it centers on Christmas, it’s not a religious play. “Even though Carly is Jewish, it’s still the same holiday theme about family and tradition,” she says. “And though our traditions might be different, it comes down to the same thing that around this time of year, it’s nice to be with family and friends. That’s really more important than the gifts you get.” It’s clear that Tamer already gets it.
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical runs until Dec. 30 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sonycentre.ca or www.grinchmusical.com.