Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The Musical
An elderly dog carrying a battered suitcase appears, listening to carolers in the distance. He puts a paw to his ear and hears the voices of Whos from long ago (“Welcome, Christmas”). Suddenly the past becomes the present, and we’re in Who-ville at the holidays (“Who Likes Christmas?”). The memory fades and is replaced by the old dog’s younger self: it’s Max, the Grinch’s pooch (“This Time of Year”). But Old Max and Young Max hear an ominous chord and from an icy hole in the mountain the Grinch himself appears! (“I Hate Christmas Eve”) But why does he hate Christmas so? We see a wild, nightmarish version of Christmas as the Grinch sees it, with hordes of toy-crazed children (“Whatchamawho”). We see the Whos caroling as the Grinch sees them (“Welcome, Christmas” and “I Hate Christmas Eve” reprises). And then … the Grinch gets an awful idea: he’ll stop Christmas from coming, and now he knows how! In Who-ville the unsuspecting Whos go holiday shopping (“It’s the Thought That Counts”) while the Grinch sneaks about town in disguise, stealing what he needs for his awful plot: red fabric and a pair of antlers. Back home in his cave the Grinch ties the antlers to Young Max’s head (“This Time of Year” reprise). Then, the Grinch dresses himself as Santa Claus! (“One of a Kind”). He harnesses the poor dog to a ramshackle sleigh and hurtles down the mountain to Who-ville (“Down the Mountain”). Meanwhile the grownups wrap presents and remember Christmases gone by, while the Who-kids sleep (“Now’s the Time”). But when everyone has gone to bed, the Grinch and Young Max slide down a chimney and emerge from a Who fireplace, and the old green meanie starts stealing Christmas! (“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”). When everything has been stuffed up the chimney except the tree, young Cindy-Lou Who interrupts the fake Santa. She buys his lie that he’s old Saint Nick, and assures him she’ll never forget him (“Santa for a Day”). Cindy-Lou almost melts his small heart, but in the end he sends her to bed and steals her tree! The Grinch steals Christmas from every Who-home. He loads the presents and toys and all the food onto his sleigh, and whipping his whip, drives through the night to the top of Mount Crumpit. He waits there for morning, to hear the sad cries of the Whos as they discover their happiness has been stolen. But what he hears from down below shocks him (“Who Likes Christmas?” reprise). He hasn’t stolen Christmas after all! The Whos are still happy! Maybe, he wonders, their happiness isn’t the toys and the gifts and the feasts that he stole! (“One of a Kind” reprise). Even Cindy-Lou remembers him … with love! Painfully, the Grinch comes to realize that Christmas is not something that comes from a store, and that a Who is whoever can be of good cheer – including him! Old Max has remembered it all, this special Christmas when everything changed for the better. Now, he’s ready to say goodbye (“This Time of Year” reprise). Down in Who-ville the Whos hold hands and celebrate (“Welcome, Christmas” reprise) But a crazy horn blast interrupts them, and the Grinch – still dressed as Santa – rides into town with Young Max and a sleigh full of gifts. He’s finally able, with Cindy-Lou Who’s help, to wish them all a Merry Christmas from the bottom of his three-sizes bigger heart! A gigantic Christmas wreath descends and frames them all. The curtain falls. When it rises again, we see the holiday miracle as Dr. Seuss illustrated it on the story-book’s final pages: the Grinch and all the Whos, hand in hand on a glowing horizon, singing for joy! (Bows and Exit Music). A note from the creators: A Timeless Story Retold “If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!” A little extreme, perhaps. But Ebenezer Scrooge isn’t the only holiday meanie we’ve ever met. There’s always someone ready to spoil other people’s fun, it seems. The sight of happy, laughing holiday-makers makes them green with envy. Theodor Seuss Geisel knew this very well. He even felt a twinge of his own inner Scrooge when bombarded by the materialism attached to the holidays. In 1957, 114 years after Charles Dickens taught old Ebenezer a lesson, Dr. Seuss told a story about the true meaning of Christmas which would be destined to live forever. The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! … “Why for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now. I must keep this Christmas from coming – but how?” Fact: When Dr. Seuss wrote these words he was exactly fifty-three years old … Only sixty-nine pages long, illustrated by Seuss in red, black and white, the book became an instant classic. Nine years later the author called on his old friend, the famous animator Chuck (Bugs Bunny) Jones, to help him bring the Grinch to television. For the first time the Grinch on Mount Crumpit became a green meanie; in the book he was drawn in black and white. For the first time songs rose up from Who-ville down below (“Welcome, Christmas” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”) written by Theodor Geisel and composer Albert Hague. The animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was aired on CBS in 1966, and instantly became an annual holiday treasure. In 2000 it became a mega-hit movie starring Jim Carrey. It was inevitable that the story of the Grinch and his big-hearted Who neighbors should take the stage as a fully-formed musical. We came up with a first draft in Minneapolis at the Children’s Theatre Company in 1994. The musical was revised and re-designed at The Old Globe in San Diego in 1998, conceived and directed by Jack O’Brien. In 2006 this production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! – The Musical took another developmental step and stole Broadway, breaking box office records and entertaining thousands, young and not-so-young. The show returned to Broadway the following year and has been touring the nation ever since at holiday time. And now, thanks to this Sony Masterworks Broadway Cast Recording, the Grinch lives in your own home. Don’t worry, though. His heart is at least three times bigger than it used to be!
– Timothy Mason & Mel Marvin
The Grinch: Patrick Page Old Max: John Cullum Young Max: Rusty Ross Cindy-Lou Who: Abigail Shapiro Grandma Who: Jan Neuberger Grandpa Who: Stuart Zagnit Mama Who: Tari Kelly Papa Who: Paul Aguirre Citizens of Who-ville: Jaimie Beth Barton, William Louis Bailey, Antoinette DiPietropolo, Joe Dellger, Matt Densky, Tori Feinstein, Amy Griffin, Liesl Jaye, Kurt Kelly, Candice Nicole, Stefanie O’Connell, Bill Ryall, Peyton Royal, Anette Michelle Sanders, Jamison Stern, Lilly Tobin, Zara Scott Book and Lyrics by Timothy Mason Music by Mel Marvin “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome, Christmas” music by Albert Hague and lyrics by Dr. Seuss “Where Are You Christmas” music and lyrics by James Horner and Will Jennings from the 2000 film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas Orchestrations: Michael Starobin Dance Arrangements: David Krane Keyboard Programmers: Randy Cohen, Jim Harp Musical Coordinator: Seymour “Red” Press Music Preparation: Emily Grishman, Katherine Edmonds Production Stage Manager (album): Michael Danek Musical Direction/Vocal Arrangements/Conductor: Joshua Rosenblum Orchestra Terrence Cook, Robert DeBellis, Scott Shachter, David Weiss, John Winder, woodwinds Wayne Du Maine, Philip Granger, Christian Jaudes, trumpets Bruce Bonvissuto, Robert Fournier, Wayne Goodman, trombones Lawrence DiBello, Patrick Pridemore, French horns Grace Paradise, harp Steven Cuevas, Peter Nilsen, keyboards Louis Bruno, bass Gregory Landes, drums David Roth, percussion