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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Stage Review

Overstuffed ‘Grinch’ still gets message across

Turning a beloved book or animation into a live-action film or live theater is a thankless task, especially when the original is a slim volume like Dr. Seuss’s 1957 children’s classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The 1966 animated version for TV, with songs by Albert Hague and narration by Boris Karloff, is a classic in its own right, and, at 26 minutes, a model of restraint in front of the roast beast. Ron Howard’s 2000 film ballooned to 104 minutes, stuffing itself with, among other things, an un-Seussian romance between Jim Carrey’s Grinch and Christine Baranski’s Martha May Whovier.

“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” which made its first visit to Boston in 2008 and this year has returned to the Citi Wang Theatre, just 80 minutes with no intermission. All the same, it’s a contemporary Broadway musical with treacly dialogue and a stocking full of undistinguished new songs. The holiday spirit is out in full force, but a single serving might make you glad Christmas comes but once a year.

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