‘Grinch’ actor channels Christmas spirit

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent 

Andreas Wyder, right, stars in the national touring production of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." / Photo submitted

Most of the world views Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year, filled with cheer and giving and family.
To Andreas Wyder, the holiday is much more than just a season; it’s both a passion and a job. The 22-year-old is currently playing the role of Young Max, the Grinch’s canine companion, in the national tour of the Christmas classic, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”
“Grinch is one of my favorite holiday stories. It has been my whole life,” he said. “That’s why when I first auditioned, I was so excited.”
He’s truly living out his lifelong dream. Acting has been his passion since he was a child, and it’s influenced so much of his life so far.
“My mom showed me my first musical, when I was 3 years old. And I turned to her right away and said, ‘I want to be on stage.’ That’s why I have to pinch myself every single day, because my dreams have become a reality,” Wyder said. “This is all I’ve ever wanted to do, ever since I was a tiny, tiny child. It’s been my only option.”
That drive to perform led him to the hub of musical theater: New York City. After graduating high school a year early, the Maine native took a leap of faith and moved to New York at age 17. It was a risky move, yet neither he nor his parents thought of it as a perilous enterprise.
   “I didn’t even think of it. It was like, ’oh, obviously I’ve got to move to New York. I just want to get there as soon as possible,’ ” he recalled. “In the moment, it didn’t seem that crazy. They (Wyder’s parents) just believed in me. They used their hearts and decided it was a good idea.”
And it was worth it. Wyder is now enjoying his third tour as the Grinch’s young puppy pal, and he’s thrilled to be back.
“I get to touch so many people, and hopefully affect their lives in a better, happy way though my performance. It can be hard, spending the holidays away from home, but I don’t even blink for a second because I know I will be so uplifted by all the beautiful people that are around me.”
Even though Grinch is all about the sometimes hectic holiday season, its true meaning is a lesson that can be applied to everyday life. The moral of the Dr. Seuss story — the true meaning of Christmas — is what Wyder taps into every day to bring an air of joy and magic to his performance.
“It’s just about that magical feeling, knowing that we are all still alive and spreading that love to everyone else in the world,” he explained. “Christmas to me is truly pausing for a moment to appreciate and be grateful for the life that we have all been given.”
You can see Wyder in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” beginning Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian Street. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Dec. 2; 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 3; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 4. There is a special sensory performance at 11 a.m. on Dec. 3. Tickets start at $23.25 and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets or in person or by phone at 919-680–2787.

Logan A. White is a home-schooled junior and a Teens & 20s writer.

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