20 years on the set of Grinch
Peter Baker’s first experience at CTC is one that is shared with many children in the community. Peter’s eyes were opened to the magic of live theatre when his grandmother brought him to the first production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1994.
“I was just stunned to see that much of a show on a stage. It wowed me,” Peter recalls.
And so began a passion for theatre that has led Peter, 20 years later, to be part of the team that would remount that very same show, working side-by-side with the original scenic painter for the production, Mary Novodvorsky.
Mary has a longstanding history with CTC, serving as the Charge Artist for the theatre for the past 25 years. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of the largest shows Mary has ever painted, utilizing five set painters for the original production. For this latest remount, Peter served as Mary’s Paint Assistant.
Mary and Peter’s professional relationship has blossomed at Children’s Theatre Company. While working together for the first time two years ago, they discovered that they are both former students of University of Minnesota Professor of Scenic Design Lance Brockman (now retired). However, it wasn’t until recently that the two realized their paths had crossed two decades ago when Peter first saw Mary’s work as a six year old attending the theatre for the first time.
Peter feels privileged to work alongside such talent. “It’s basically an apprenticeship,” says Peter. “I’m learning from the best on how to be the best. There are not many opportunities [in scenic painting] especially at an institution where the bar is set really high for the standard of the work and the art that’s done. I feel like CTC’s is the highest.”