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14 Dec 2018

Stink, Stank, Stunk: A one on one with The Grinch

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December 14, 2018 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

By Kharisma McIlwaine 

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch!” 

We’ve all heard some awful things about Dr. Seuss’ Mr. Grinch. Dr. Seuss taught us that The Grinch hates pretty much everyone and everything… especially Christmas. The Grinch will have an opportunity to show his true colors when “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” makes its Philadelphia premiere at the Merriam Theater. Directed by Matt August, with music by Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason, Max the Dog tells the story of the menacing Grinch, who plans to steal Christmas from The Whos of Whoville. Philip Huffman who plays The Grinch in the show, sat down with the SUN to tell us in character all about The Grinch and his distain for Christmas.

SUN: Tell us about the process of becoming The Grinch?

TG: I’m always The Grinch, I don’t understand what the process is that you’re speaking of. I wake up in the morning and I’m The Grinch. It’s like me saying… what’s the process of you being you?

SUN: Have you always been a mean one, Mr. Grinch? Or was there ever a time in your life when you were happy?

TG: Well I consider myself a completely happy person. I don’t know about you, but I’m more of a realist. I don’t understand how people can celebrate a holiday when they have to constantly go out and shop, and buy, and sing songs and have parties. I think a nice holiday is just being by yourself. Treat yourself. Come on!

SUN: Well, you’re not always by yourself — you have Max.

TG: Oh, yeah. He just follows me around. I always tell him…“Don’t you want some personal time to yourself? Why are you always saying to me, ‘I’m hungry, I want to go for a walk!’ It’s like ‘come on Max, be your own person.’ 

SUN: I heard in this show you have coming up Max is going to be his own person, because he actually gets to narrate to the audience. How do you feel about that?

TG: Well I can’t really comment on his poor judgment. 

SUN: How do you feel about the show and having to be around Cindy Lou Who and all The Whos of Whoville?

TG: They’re absolutely awful! I, on the other hand, am wonderful. You can come see the show. It’s all about me, how wonderful I am and the wonderful decisions I make (with a sinister laugh).

SUN: And what are some of the ‘wonderful decisions’ you make?

TG: I explain to everyone how great I am and they finally understand and celebrate me… it’s wonderful! 

SUN: Did you have to wear a lot of costumes in the show?

TG: I only wear one costume, the Santa costume to trick those little Whos.

SUN: And do they believe you?

TG: You have to ask them, they’re very simple people! As long as you tell them, “Hey I’m Santa”, they’ll believe you (with a sinister laugh).

They’re not complicated people… I don’t understand them, I don’t know. 

SUN: Do you feel differently about Cindy Lou Who than you did before? Or is she still annoying to you?

TG: Oh she’s endlessly annoying! There might be moments where I find her somewhat tolerable, but she’s over there with the best of them… the most annoying people. 

SUN: Was that the most challenging aspect of this show for you… dealing with the annoying people of Whoville?

TG: The most challenging thing is answering questions that should be so simply answered. Christmas is ridiculous! How could you not understand that? You know, just live your own life. Why do you have to constantly worry about other people’s lives and what they want and what they need? Come on! 

SUN: Do you like any holiday or do you find them all awful?

TG: I mean my life is one big holiday, really. It’s everybody else making these weird little celebrations that I don’t understand. 

SUN: When we come to see the show, are we going to hear more about your backstory and your childhood?

TG: Wow, this is getting very personal! Why is everybody so obsessed about my childhood? Never had one, don’t want one, don’t need one! When someone meets you do they always ask you, ‘hey what was your childhood like?’ No, get out of here! They say ‘how are you doing?’ ‘What are your likes today?,’ because you’re an actual person now with your own decisions. 

SUN: You’ve had a lot of stories told about you. You’ve had a lot of books and you’ve had movies. Is this Broadway show like the movies and books… or is this a completely different spin on your awesome life? 

TG: We’re very traditional with the good old man himself Mr. Seuss… good old Dr. Seuss. He told it how it was, how it should be and how it is, and that’s the way we like to keep it.

SUN: I heard you came to Philadelphia and climbed the Art Museum steps like Rocky. How was that for you?

TG: Easy! (with a laugh) I don’t understand what the big deal is. He (Rocky) seems like he’s a little bit out of breath when he does it, but I just sauntered up there… it wasn’t a big deal. I live on top of a mountain people, come on… and you want to know what walking up a couple stairs is like?

SUN: Did you have a cheesesteak while you were here in Philadelphia?

TG: That’s disgusting! I’m just kidding — cheesesteaks are wonderful. They’re piled up with a bunch of cheese and meat… anything to clog my arteries… eh? 

SUN: What are you looking forward to the most about coming to Philadelphia again and performing?

TG: The applause… for me! (with a sinister laugh)

SUN: Do we get to see you dance, too, Mr. Grinch?

TG: Oh, you get to see it all! I have a whole number about how wonderful I am. I’m sure everyone will love it!

SUN: And what number is that? “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch?”

TG: Oh no, Max is the one singing that. I don’t think I’m a mean one, come on! I’m one of a kind, so I sing a song called, “One of a Kind.” It’s a showstopping number… because I literally stop the show! 

SUN: Well I can’t wait to see the show and to meet you and Max in Philadelphia!

TG: Oh, looking forward to it. 

SUN: Have a delightfully horrible day.

TG: That’s disgusting!

“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” will be at the Merriam Theater Wednesday, December 19th- Sunday December 29th. “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” will also be the first ever Broadway Philadelphia sensory-friendly performance. The sensory-friendly performance will take place on Saturday, December 22, at 11am. Visit for more details on tickets and showtimes.

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