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NBC’s ‘Grinch Musical’ Adds New Wrinkles to Christmas Classic

The Grinch Musical
(Image credit: NBC)

NBC airs Dr. Seuss The Grinch Musical Dec. 9, a two-hour stage production with Matthew Morrison playing the Grinch. Dr. Seuss published How the Grinch Stole Christmas! in 1957, about a nasty recluse who swipes Christmas from the good folks of Who-ville, and it spawned a beloved 1966 TV special, a couple movies and a Broadway show. 

Simon Friend, executive producer of The Grinch Musical, called it “a Broadway-style musical on television, made bespoke for television.”

Morrison played glee club director Will on Glee. Friend called Morrison “a sensational performer” who brings oodles of singing, dancing and acting bravura to the part, and charisma to boot. “There are so few people who have the required profile for a network TV special,” he told B+C, and tons of talent to back it up. “He makes it look effortless, and he’s got a huge amount of charm.”

Morrison said in a statement, “My wish is to bring some Who-ville magic to this holiday season and, while the pandemic presents some challenges in bringing a stage production to life, we are excited to present a unique version of this seasonal favorite in a new creative and imaginative way.”

It is a two-hour special, filmed at the Troubadour Theatre in London. Additional cast includes Denis O’Hare, Booboo Stewart and Amelia Minto. Julia Knowles directs the TV production. Tim Mason wrote the book and lyrics for The Grinch Musical and Mel Marvin wrote the music. 

The Grinch Musical was intended to play on stage in London’s West End, until COVID struck. The special will play on Sky TV in the UK Dec. 20. 

Its musical numbers are a mix of new and old. “The ones people know and love are there, recreated in dazzling fashion,” said Friend. 

Doug Vaughan, executive VP, special programs, NBC Entertainment, called The Grinch Musical “a perfect addition to our annual holiday program traditions and a telecast the entire family will enjoy.”

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical is presented in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Running Subway, produced by Penny Lane Entertainment Television and Simon Friend Entertainment. 

An adored holiday musical may be just what some viewers need in this dreadful year. “Such a famously heartwarming story is important in a year that’s been challenging for everyone,” said Friend. “Social distancing is no way to live.”