Walterboro native composed music for NBC’s ‘The Grinch Musical’

Charleston County News

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry man played a major role in ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical,’ which airs Wednesday night on News 2.

He’s a mean one, that Mr. Grinch, and on Wednesday night he’ll be stealing some airtime during a Christmas musical. While you may know the story, a musical featuring the man in green has some ties to the Lowcountry.

Mel Marvin is a Walterboro native and the composer of ‘Dr. Suess’ The Grinch Musical.’ He said that while the show has been in front of two million people over the past 25 years, Wednesday night’s performance is the one he’s most nervous about.

Marvin grew up on his family’s farm in Walterboro, but later moved to Charleston where he attended school at the College of Charleston. It was then – when he lived near the historic Dock Street Theater – that he began his quest into what can be described simply as ‘success.’

While he remains closely connected to friends throughout the Charleston area, and family along the Combahee River, his career of molding young minds through the master’s program at the New York University TISCH School of the Arts has kept his quite busy.

But as for ‘The Grinch,’ the show will bring Whoville right to your living room through a new type of theater experience, as thousands of physical theaters remain closed to the public.

“Here we are with a totally new thing, that I’ve never seen. Directed by another director, reconceived. All of my music is there, all the orchestrations are there; it’s going to sound the same, but it will look entirely different,” said Marvin.

Marvin said his initial story, like many others, was originally written for his daughter, Kate. ‘The Grinch’ is one of six musicals written for her and the Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre.

The show, like the production and industry, has taken on a new life since the pandemic.

For the actors at the Troubadour Theatre in London, Marvin said crew they stayed eight feet apart and wore masks during the entire rehearsal period. He said it wasn’t until a little over one week before the actual shooting that they took the masks off and started rehearsing close together.

At that point, they had been tested every day for weeks and lived in pods at a nearby hotel.

Despite a constant feeling of cancelation each day, Marvin said those in the cast and crew were good about maintaining the protocols which and British authorities allowed them to proceed.

While Marvin was unable to visit London to oversee the production in person, he did appear on Zoom calls for consultations. But as for what we can expect, the show will follow the book more so than the adapted movies – all with his original score.

‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical will air on WCBD News 2 Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

For more information on the televised performance, click here.

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