NBC has announced the network will air a pre-recorded production of “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” on December 9th. Live theatre fans will know this musical enjoyed a successful Broadway run in 2006 (and a revival in 2007), along with several tours in the US and UK. NBC’s production will be filmed at the Troubadour Theatre in London, and the cast is currently in rehearsal.
The Grinch is one of the most iconic figures of the holiday season, and there are several film adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book. Famous actors including Jim Carrey and Benedict Cumberbatch have starred as The Grinch in both animated and live-action movies, while Grammy-winning Patrick Page originated the role on Broadway.
But, now we have Matthew Morrison stepping into this titular role. Morrison is best known for his work on “Glee” playing glee club teacher Will Schuester, along with professional theatre credits including “Footloose” and “Hairspray.” On paper, the man is fit for the job. However, NBC’s casting choice makes it clear that the network isn’t hip with the kids: Morrison is wildly unpopular with young people online.
As an avid musical theatre aficionado, I naturally have some Opinions™ about NBC’s shall we say daring choices. I’ve taken it upon myself to suggest some alternatives. The following list has been placed in order of my preference, with little regard for how the real world actually works (although, the real world arguably has stopped working if Matthew Morrison is The Grinch, but I digress).
1. Daveed Diggs
Launched to mainstream fame for originating the role of Thomas Jefferson in the smash-hit musical “Hamilton,” Diggs has both the musical and comedic chops to pull off The Grinch. Diggs would also bring some diversity to the group of gentlemen who have previously portrayed the green antihero. Furthermore, I believe the shape of his face is conducive to pulling off the signature Grinch Grin.
2. Brendan Urie
While probably out of NBC’s production budget on this one, Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendan Urie would be a smash as The Grinch. Obviously, the man can freakin’ sing. He’s also got the acting chops, proving he’s more than a pretty voice starring as Charlie Price in “Kinky Boots” in 2017.
3. Darren Criss
If NBC was going to choose a “Glee” alum, it should have been Darren Criss. Was I obsessed with him in high school? Yes. Is that impacting this ranking? Also yes. However, I consider it an affront to mankind to look at the entire cast of “Glee” and land on Matthew Morrison as the cream of the crop. But once again, I digress. Criss would make an amazing Grinch. He’s got a list of professional theatre and television credits about a mile long, and he’s got the voice of an angel.
Jeremy Jordan has been passed over for roles in favor of Matthew Morrison before, so casting Jordan as The Grinch would be cosmic justice at its finest. While relatively unknown to the mainstream, Jordan is a well-known heartthrob in the theatre community. Most known for his starring role in “Newsies: The Musical” Jordan was also originally considered for the part Zac Efron plays in “The Greatest Showman.” Make The Grinch sexy: cast Jeremy Jordan, you cowards.
5. Gavin Lee
Most unknown on this list but Number 1 in my heart, Gavin Lee played The Grinch on tour and would do a beautiful job bringing the role to homes across America. He also played Squidward Tentacles in the Broadway production of “Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical!” so he’s clearly got both the vocal talent, dance experience, and comedic timing necessary to portray The Grinch. Seriously, google him!
6. Long shot – Helena Bonham Carter
Needs no justification. Just think about it for a minute. Really think. What a gift to mankind this would be. A treat. We deserve at least this brief moment of fancy.
Real talk — I’m thrilled NBC has put in the effort to bring some new content to their holiday lineup, especially because it’s a musical. I’m a humble enough woman to admit that. I just fervently wish it wasn’t starring Matthew Morrison, that’s all!