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The Grinch Musical! on NBC
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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh in on THE GRINCH MUSICAL with Matthew Morrison

The special also starred Denis O'Hare, Booboo Stewart and Amelia Minto.

Review Roundup: Critics Weigh in on THE GRINCH MUSICAL with Matthew Morrison

Just last night, Dr. Seuss' beloved classic children's book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" came to life with a fun-filled two-hour production of "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Musical!" from the Troubadour Theatre in London.

Matthew Morrison ("Glee") starred as the curmudgeonly Grinch, joined by Denis O'Hare ("Big Little Lies") as old Max, Booboo Stewart ("Descendants 3") as young Max and talented young newcomer Amelia Minto ("The Lost Girls") as Cindy-Lou Who.

Dr. Seuss' beloved book tells the story of a reclusive Grinch who plotted from his cave atop snowy Mt. Crumpit to steal Christmas from the Whos in Who-ville. Then on Christmas Eve, disguised as Santa Claus and enlisting his loyal dog Max as a reindeer, the Grinch traveled to Who-ville to scoop up the Whos' gifts and decorations. Much to his surprise on Christmas morning, the Whos were unfazed and celebrated the holiday with a heartwarming display of joy and love.

Check out what the critics had to say...

Brian Lowry, CNN: In one song about gift giving the ensemble croons "It's the thought that counts," and there's something to be said for that mentality here. Even with the explosion of viewing options, it's nice to see the broadcast networks take chances trying to create some new holiday fare, rather than just run the sprockets off the usual suspects. Still, "The Grinch Musical!" certainly didn't earn its exclamation point, or do anything to make a cranky critic's too-small heart grow one size, much less three. So while it's a bit tired, perhaps, to say it in rhyme, this Grinch, alas, wasn't worth the time.

Kelly Lawler, USA Today: "Grinch Musical" was grating, painful and pointless from its opening moments. The musical itself originated in the 1990s as a stage production, and if there was some enjoyment to be had for preschoolers in a crowded theater cackling together, it is solidly lost in a televised version. The score mixes in the classic music from the 1966 special with an original score, which only serves to emphasize how wonderful the original music is and how truly awful the new stuff is. There are ways to incorporate children's voices into songs that are sweet and pleasant (see Broadway's "Matilda"). In Whoville the children are practically screaming the lyrics, and the adults right along with them, as if the entirety of the score called for glass-breaking falsetto.

Sonia Rao, Washington Post: Whatever points the musical gets for the Maxes and its nostalgic, Seussian set design - perhaps the only element to truly nail the exaggerated style of the source material - it loses when the Grinch enters the picture. If only this were a musical about Old Max. Instead, the Grinch repeatedly interrupts the dog at one point, yelling as he is dragged away, "This is my Emmy nomination! Stop! Stop!" We live in bleak times, Morrison, but not that bleak. Better luck next Christmas.

Andy Swift, TV Line: For the sake of those watching from home, the show - which was filmed in London's Troubadour Theatre - probably would have benefited from the chaotic energy of a live broadcast. Or the sound of an audience, at the very least. We get that there's a global pandemic afoot, but if every awful award show this season has included a virtual audience, you'd think a musical production could get the same treatment.

Caroline Siede, AV Club: The show has little in the way of logical character arcs, meaningful themes, or even basic plot momentum. And between the rhyming dialogue and a whole underdeveloped subplot for Cindy-Lou Who (Amelia Minto) and her multi-generational family, the scattered production could barely get into a storytelling groove before another commercial break would come along to break up the flow.

Photo Credit: David Cotter

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