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AP: You played the Beast in `Beauty and the Beast’ many years ago. Any connection between these creatures?

McCarthy: Besides fur? Yes, sweating a lot. With the Beast outfit, I used to say I would put it on and it would weigh 25 pounds. I would take it off and it would weigh 40. But seriously, I take this stuff off and it is as if you dunked it in a bucket of water. It’s that wet.

AP: How else does the show take its toll?

McCarthy: Up in Boston, the first time we did one of those four-show days, my electrolytes got way out of balance. I went to lay down before the fourth show and when I stood up, my leg cramped in three places. I went on Google and found out what it was. I not only drink water, I eat salt and bananas and drink Pedialyte.

AP: Wait. The Grinch drinks Pedialyte?

McCarthy: Look, my legs haven’t cramped since I started drinking Pedialyte. I’m a walking endorsement for this hideous tasting beverage.

AP: How to you keep festive with this tough schedule and in this mean city?

McCarthy: The little girls in this cast really inspire me. I’m not just saying that. We have four kids that are all under the age of 12 and they are delightful and they are having the time of their life. If I run out of steam or start feeling misanthropic or Grinch-like, I look at these kids.

AP: You did a photo shoot outside Madison Square Garden as the Grinch doing typical New York things like hailing a cab and buying a hot dog. What was the reaction from passers-by?

McCarthy: Half of them looked at me like, `Why should you get the attention?’ New York is a tough town.

AP: This may be the first live theater your young audience has ever seen. Does that cross your mind?

McCarthy: Yes and it inspires me and I’m proud to be part of that. I make money doing this, but it’s giving back to the next generation and that’s a big thing. That’s a great thing.

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Online: www.theateratmsg.com/grinch

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