By Christina M. ’23
“Dr. Seuss: The Grinch Musical” was certainly a show to remember – whether in your nightmares or otherwise, is another question entirely… This NBC special was one of the latest attempts at a recreation of the heartwarming Dr. Seuss tale, yet perhaps the least enjoyable.
It is understandably difficult to turn a sweet 25-minute tale into an entire televised live-musical. However, rather than focusing merely on the questionable aspects of the live-musical, if you wish to call it that, it is worth acknowledging the playful and admittedly effective elements incorporated by director Julia Knowles. The set itself, although simplistic, was pleasing to look at and served as a pleasant addition to the overall magical atmosphere of the show. Although the costumes may have seemed elaborate and perhaps excessively colorful, they were cheerful and vibrant, representing the outlandish nature of the Whos in comparison to the Grinch. Furthermore, the actors clearly grasped their roles and delivered their lines with energy and passion. I will admit that the show, as a whole, would likely be more appreciated by younger children who are amused by the pretty colors and silly choreography.
Yet in the context of a nationally televised production for a slightly older audience, the show leaves much to be desired. To be completely honest, I found it disheartening to learn that Matthew Morrison, famous for his roles in several Broadway productions and as the music teacher in Glee, would be taking on the role of the Grinch in this live-action musical. Furthermore, the portrayal of the Grinch was a bit more tortured than one would have hoped. Morrison’s Grinch constantly teeters between flamboyance and menace (and unnervingly provocative) for a children’s story. As for the songs themselves, many of them were genuinely forgettable and unnecessary, including the much anticipated “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as well as a seemingly irrelevant song titled “It’s the Thought That Counts”. Tarini D. ‘23 notes, “The poorly-made songs distracted me from the movie itself and the spirit of Christmas! I really wanted to just enjoy the musical, but I genuinely couldn’t bring myself to appreciate such mediocre songs.” Despite this disappointment, the closing Who number, “Welcome Christmas,” was sweetly reminiscent of the animated classic and closed the show on a pleasant note. Perhaps I am a bit biased in my opinion of this show as an avid musical lover, but this NBC special did not offer a gratifying end to 2020.