NBC debuted a first look at Glee actor Matthew Morrison in Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical Live!, with many reacting to his appearance on social media. Morrison is arguably best known for his performance as Will Schuester on the Fox comedy. As his character was the Glee Club’s leader, Morrison appeared in all six seasons of Glee. Though the show made several cast members household names, Morrison was already known by many for his work on Broadway, where he was a part of the original Hairspray cast. Since Glee, Morrison has continued to make regular TV appearances, including arcs on The Good Wife and Grey’s Anatomy.
Morrison will next play the Grinch, one of the most beloved Christmas characters of all time. There have been countless adaptations of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! over the years. Though the 1966 animated special is the most well-known, Jim Carrey memorably played the character for Ron Howard’s live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2000. Benedict Cumberbatch tried his hand at the role in 2018, though for an animated version by Illumination. There are differing views on which adaptation is the best, but the Grinch himself has stood the test of time.
Banking on the character’s popularity, NBC will debut Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical Live! on December 9. In addition to Morrison, it will star Denis O’Hare as Max the dog and Amelia Minto as Cindy-Lou Who. NBC offered a first look at the event during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In addition to a short promo, the network aired a performance of a song from the musical during the parade. Many on social media had strong reactions to Morrison’s appearance in particular. Check out the first look at Morrison’s Grinch and some responses to it below:
While the reactions may seem a little harsh, the initial look at Morrison’s Grinch is jarring. His hair in particular is quite a bit longer than it is in most adaptations. That, combined with the more human eyes and scarf, makes for an unusual take on the character. However, it’s worth noting there are different requirements for an actor’s wardrobe and makeup in a live stage performance vs. a movie, which may have played a role. It’s also hard to get a complete sense of Morrison’s Grinch look at this time, as the promo and performance shown during the parade were relatively short.
Though the first look generated buzz for Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical Live!, it’s hard to say if it will positively impact the special’s ratings when it airs. Some may tune in to see what the fuss is about, but it’s equally possible the tease was enough to turn some viewers off immediately. At the very least, Morrison seems committed to his turn as the Grinch, which should help the show overall.