Book and Lyrics: Timothy Mason
Music: Mel Marvin
Musical Director: Joshua Rosenblum
Reviewer: Laura Orton
Who Likes Christmas? Whos like Christmas! The Grinch however, HATES Christmas, and he’ll do anything to stop it from coming.
Originally inspired by Charles Dickens “Scrooge” and written in 1957, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! is the classic Dr Seuss story of the mean Grinch who hates Christmas so much because it is so focussed on greed and gluttony, he tries to steal it from the Whos. However, his plan backfires when, despite the lack of toys and gifts, he sees the love and joy of the Whos regardless. The Grinch learns that a Who is whoever can be of good cheer and this includes him.
Fast forward to 2006 and Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! made its debut on Broadway with a fabulous score written by Mel Marvin and lyrics by Timothy Mason.
Due to this being a child’s story, the narrative of this CD is very easy to follow if you have not heard it before. What makes this even easier is the beautifully clear diction of every single actor, without fail.
Patrick Page is the man of the hour, portraying the mean yet charismatic Grinch. His voice on this CD is dark and grouchy. You can hear his hatred for the Whos in every note he sings. Without seeing him on stage, you can still picture his stance, movement, facial expressions and body language just through the sounds of his voice.
He is supported strongly by his pet dog Max, played by John Cullum (Old Max) and Rusty Ross (Young Max). Cullum acts as the narrator of the story, allowing for years to pass quickly in the plot. His characterisation of the old faithful and tired dog is highly convincing in his singing. Ross on the other hand, boosts youthful energy into his portrayal as the younger, more spritely version of Max.
Marvin’s music sets each scene easily and Mason’s lyrics mimic those of Dr Seuss’ original words and trademark rhymes. However, there is not much for adults in this recording. It is lacking humour in the book which is sadly missed as it was done so well in the 2000 Universal Pictures film starring Jim Carrey.
The photographs within the CD sleeve are snaps from the original production and give you a taste of just how good this looked on stage. This helps take your imagination to the land of Who-ville with the Whos and the Grinch. They will make you wish you were there watching as well as listening.
Overall, this is a fun recording of the children’s musical. The story is somewhat contrived to say the least. Suggesting that the only reason someone doesn’t like Christmas is because their heart is too small is grossly unfair and is even offensive to some people, but then you wouldn’t expect them to be buying this CD anyway.
Released in November 2013, Broadway Masterworks have obviously timed this perfectly for those wanting some extra Christmas cheer with a classic holiday fable.