How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Hilton Theatre. Book and lyrics by Timothy Mason. Music by Mel Marvin. Dir. Matt August. With Patrick Page, John Cullum.

CLIFF HANGER Page, right, and accomplice Rusty Ross do away with a sleighful of gifts.

CLIFF HANGER Page, right, and accomplice Rusty Ross do away with a sleighful of gifts. Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

The color scheme for the attractive Broadway pageant How the Grinch Stole Christmas draws primarily from a palette of red and white: colors of Christmas and, surely by coincidence, of the Target chain, which is producing the show. The third color of Christmas is green, which is the hue of the hairy villain in Dr. Seuss’s yuletide fable and also, as it happens, the color of money. Christmas spirit doesn’t come cheap at the Hilton Theatre: Orchestra seats at this seasonal spectacle, with a 75-minute running time that helps it fill a Vegas-style 12-perfs-a-week schedule, cost a grabby $110.

The show is pleasingly faithful to its children’s-book source and the cherished 1966 TV special adapted from it. Timothy Mason and Mel Marvin have padded the story—a variation on the Ghost of Christmas Present sequence in A Christmas Carol, with the Grinch as Scrooge—with passable new songs and hints of character motivation. (Like Wicked’s witch, the Grinch feels ostracized for his greenness.) Patrick Page, his bass voice a cultivated garden of poisons, is deliciously malicious in the title role, an anti-Santa who creeps down chimneys to steal gifts from the kids of Whoville; John Cullum narrates the story, in Seuss’s familiar cadences, from the hindsight of the Grinch’s much-abused mutt, Max. The production is professionally lavish and moves along swiftly. But Seuss’s story—which argues that Christmas is about more than just presents—can take or leave such exorbitant wrapping. — Adam Feldman