There is some loud singing and plenty of Christmas cheer to spread around in ‘Elf: The Musical’. Review by Mike Woody.
It’s perhaps the most popular Christmas movie to be released in the last thirty plus years (since ‘A Christmas Story’), and has made Buddy the Elf as iconic of a character as the Grinch, Frosty, and Rudolph. However, after my first (and tenth) viewing the film, ‘Elf,’ I didn’t think to myself, this would make a great Broadway musical…I didn’t after ‘Lion King’ either, so what do I know? After all it is Buddy who says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” There is some loud singing and plenty of Christmas cheer to spread around in ‘Elf: The Musical,’ at the Schuster Center through November 27.
Fans of the movie (who isn’t?) will enjoy the musical, which is pretty similar, and fully captures the fun-loving, spirited innocence of Buddy. Will Ferrell leaves big and curled shoes to fill with the role, but Spenser Micetich manages the task as Buddy. He allows Buddy’s big heart to shine through which allows the audience to become emotionally invested in the story. Micetich is certainly no cotton-headed ninny-muggins, as he masters all the beloved lines, including the saying of ‘Francisco,’ and also provides great vocals.
I feared that ‘Elf: The Musical,’ might be corny, as I presumed it difficult to stage all of the films settings in a believable manner. Again, I was wrong. From the North Pole, to Macy’s, inside the Empire State Building, and the streets of New York; all were represented splendidly, with smooth transitions. It’s not corny at all, actually if anything, syrupy would describe it, due to all the sweetness. Buddy would approve.
The story is told by Santa Claus, “I know him. I know him!” who is revealed to be a fan of the Buckeye’s. Santa is part of a talented ensemble, including some low stepping dancing elves. The show contains a number of impressive dance numbers performed by the elves and a group of fake Santa’s. Another highlight is the movements of the Macy’s employees while decorating for Christmas. It’s a high energy number that will leave you breathless just from watching. A couple notable standouts from the ensemble are Keenan Thompson…err I mean Darius J. Manuel as the Store Manager and Morgan Billings Smith as Deb, a fiery secretary. They should both be on the naughty list for being scene stealers.
An exceptional performance is also given by Mark Harmon (not of NCIS) as Mr. Walter Hobbs, the uptight, always too busy with no time for his family, father of Buddy. His frustrations over his newfound son are perfectly portrayed. Furthermore, Daisy Carnelia is splendid as Jovie, Buddy’s love interest. Caution though as her sparkling beauty may cause some swelling of the tongue.
The feel good conclusion, about the true meaning of Christmas is very touching, and warms the heart. ‘Elf: The Musical,’ is a delightful show that the whole family can enjoy. Smiling is Buddy’s favorite, and he and the rest of the cast deliver a lot of smiles. Add some smiles to your Thanksgiving weekend with ‘Elf: The Musical.’