Not that you have to listen to this Scrooge among scribblers. Conceived by Old Globe honcho Jack O'Brien, at whose San Diego theater it's in its 11th year, this stage adaptation of The Grinch broke Broadway box-office records in 2006 and 2007. And it is certainly an improvement on the 2000 Ron Howard film that starred Jim Carrey trying way too hard and saddled the Grinch with a Freudian backstory as well as a bad case of entertainment-industry elephantiasis.
Compared with that, the show on view at the Wang is a Japanese flower arrangement heavy on the holly. Moreover, towering Icelandic actor Stefán Karl's Grinch serves up a perfect plate of green ego and ham for the toddler set as he slithers down a neon-red proscenium in his green mange, brandishes his bristly fingers like knives, and makes the sort of rude noises and faces that delight small children. But for the most part, the musical is both tedious and cute, its saccharine Whos inexplicably costumed to look like ducks and waddling. Librettist/lyricist Timothy Mason's rhymes are inferior to Dr. Seuss's. And the generic score attached to the two Hague/Seuss songs by Mel Marvin smacks so much of Annie that sweet-spirited Cindy Lou Who and the suddenly sappy green hermit come to seem like the eponymous orphan and Daddy Warbucks turned the color of his cash.
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