How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a stage play adaptation of the children's book. It first premiered in the US in 1994, receiving a Broadway adaptation with Patrick Page in 2008. In 2020, Hulu released a videorecording that starred Matthew Morrison as the Grinch.
No one knows why the Grinch hates Christmas. He simply does. An older Max narrates the story, while his younger pup self serves as a loyal dog to the Grinch.
Tropes for this include:
- Adaptational Expansion: Owing to the stage play having more runtime than the picture book, we get to see more to the story. Cindy Lou tries to wish the Grinch a merry Christmas with the sign, only for her to accidentally insult him. The Grinch goes through an epiphany when he realizes he could be a Who if he wants to be since in his mind, a Who is someone who cares for others.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the picture book and the cartoon, the Grinch decided to steal Christmas just because he was tired of it. Here, he mistakenly thinks the Whos are mocking him when Cindy Lou's greeting sign loses a few letters.
- Ascended Extra: Not only is Max fully capable of speaking now, he serves as The Narrator of the show, with the story being framed as a flashback to his younger days.
- Brief Accent Imitation: The Grinch adopts a country twang when he lies to the Whos while incognito that he's from "Who-ston" (Houston).
- Commercialized Christmas: The Whos are obsessed with Christmas and making it perfect. This means that at the local mall, all of the adults are fluttering around in stress due to the crowds and sales.
- Composite Character: This is the first and only Grinch adaptation in which The Narrator and Max the Dog are one and the same.
- Cringe Comedy: The Grinch goes to the Whoville shopping mall, and draws attention when he yells at Max to not dawdle. Cue him pretending to be a Who while trying to hide behind a green suit and sunglasses. Everyone stares at him oddly while giving him a huge welcome to Whoville.
- The Dog Bites Back: A gentler version; the younger Max points out to the Grinch that he got everything he wanted, and as a Grinch he chooses to be alone. The Grinch cries Tears of Remorse and says he doesn't want to be that person anymore.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Grinch has no qualms about petty theft, but he stops in his quest briefly when realizing he made Cindy Lou cry in his Santa Claus guise.
- Everyone Has Standards: Max reluctantly goes along with the Grinch's grumpiness because the Grinch rescued him when he was a stray. When the Grinch starts making a Santa Claus outfit, however, Max protests. He says that no one will believe that a tall figure with green fur is Santa Claus, and this goes beyond standard pettiness.
- Heel Realization: The Grinch starts crying Tears of Remorse when he hears Cindy Lou singing for him despite him having stolen her Christmas. He says he doesn't want to be alone anymore.
- Hope Spot: When Cindy Lou Who goes to talk to who she thinks is Santa Claus, she actually softens him up and tells him You Are Not Alone. Then she mentions the Grinch was in her nightmares, and the Grinch's tears dry up instantly. He shoos her to bed, and takes the tree rather than leaving it as promised.
- Insult Backfire: Both old and young Max sing "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." The Grinch then joins in happily, in perfect harmony.
- Only Sane Man: Max compared to the Grinch and the Whos. He remains calm and tries to cheer up the Grinch. Max stands up to the Grinch when the latter starts his Santa Claus scheme, telling him that it won't work and that it's evil to ruin someone else's fun.
- Rhymes on a Dime: True to Seuss nature, the entire show is spoken in rhyme.
- Sticky Fingers: The Grinch steals the sewing supplies he needs from the Whoville mall, taking advantage of the busy crowds.
- Talking Animal: Max can actually talk in the musical unlike the book and movies, albeit only to the Grinch.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Cindy Lou Who should have checked the glue on her Christmas message to the Grinch. Instead of "Merry Christmas, Friend," it reads "Merry Christmas, Fiend" after the "R" falls off. The motivates the Grinch to avenge the insult by stealing the holiday.
- Wham Line: "If a Who is someone who cares, no it couldn't be true! Max, could I be... a Who too?!"