It’s Christmas time, who doesn’t love the grinch! And who doesn’t love a musical! Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical is a television adaptation of the stage musical. Which of course is based on the classic story by Dr. Seuss. The musical premiered in 1994 in Minneapolis. It has since toured all over the United States and United Kingdom. I knew of the show when it came to Broadway in 2007. The grinch was all over New York at that time.
This version of the musical was filmed at the Troubadour Theater in London. The musical tells the story of a grinch who hates Christmas. He plots to ruin the holiday for all the citizens of Whoville.
Before I get into the review I have to bring up all the childish drama on social media. This was in regards to Matthew Morrison’s casting. As well as the grinch’s costume and makeup design. It made me sad (and a little annoyed) that the so-called “theatre loving” community was so harsh and critical of a press release and a 15 second commercial. It was a little ridiculous. I support the arts and take theatre any way I can get it. Good or bad. It do take nerve to wear green fur and say “laugh”. There is a reason why we don’t get specials like this often. Annoying teenagers who try to act cool by going against the grain so they don’t come off as a theatre nerd. Grow up! I’m done venting now, on with the review.
So what are my favorite ornaments? The sets and costumes. The sets are designed to look like they came out of the Dr. Seuss book. All in red white and black. The costumes are all in shades of pink, blue, yellow and purple. A mix of whimsical and a touch of modern. Looked great on tv.
You can tell the cast was having a ball! There has been no live theatre due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can see the joy in all the cast members. The joy was infectious.
Breaking the fourth wall. For this type of show it works. Having Old Max talking directly to the camera. New jokes about Donald Trump, the possibility of getting an Emmy nomination and even the show itself were all hilarious. Letting you know the cast is in on the joke too. Even having the Grinch telling the audience to “stop smiling”, a very cute touch.
“Where are you Christmas?” This is a new addition for the television special. Originally written for the 2000 live action film. The song is used from a different perspective. Instead of a young child, it’s from the adults. It was very effective, one of my favorite moments of the special.
Matthew Morrison as The Grinch. Say whatever you want! For me this is the type of character that you have to sell it. Sell it from the first line all the way to the end. And sell it he did. He was menacing, creepy and funny. He did an awesome job in my book!
Denis O’Hare as Old Max. Does he ever do anything wrong? I don’t think so. And Old Max is no exception. He plays the role effortlessly. Almost as a friend telling you a story.
There were two bulbs that didn’t light on the Christmas tree. The odd stops for commercial breaks. The problem is where the commercials are going. I know this is in place for a set/scene change. But there could have been something a little more creative done than cut to commercial.
This was not live. It’s a filmed live performance. I know this is during a pandemic and the rules are different in London. I know there is also a time difference. But let’s not promote the show as a live show when it’s clearly filmed. The quick cuts are a give away.
So what is my opinion of Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical. I enjoyed it. It’s a lot of holiday fun! It’s brought a smile to my face. If you or your family watch the grinch every year. I would add this to the collection. Along with the original animated special and the 2000 film. It would be one great whovillation!
“Dr.Seuss’ The Grinch Musical” is available for streaming on Hulu and NBC.com