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Broadway hit ‘Elf’ Visited the Marcus Center

A Christmas story about accepting who we are

Nov. 29, 2016
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Despite its pint-size title, the national tour of the Broadway musical Elf is an enormous production. Everything about it is big: large cast, extensive scenery, endless costumes and so forth. And yet the story is simple enough for even small children to follow. Buddy, an orphan, crawls into Santa’s bag and is unknowingly transported back to the North Pole. Once discovered, he is reared by Santa and the elves.

Growing up, Buddy thinks of himself as an elf—although a rather tall one. At 30, Buddy is finally told the truth about his birth. Oddly, Santa knows the name and workplace of Buddy’s father (his mother died years earlier). Well, Santa must know everything, right?

The hard-working cast includes Sam Harley as Buddy, Mark Epperson as Walter (Buddy’s dad), Ken Clement as Santa, Marie Lemon as Emily (Buddy’s stepmom) and Nicholas Canal as the younger son, Michael. Buddy’s would-be girlfriend, Jovie (Mia Weinberger) behaves more normally than the others. She has plenty of problems in her life, and Buddy begins to realize why some folks have trouble believing in Christmas.

Elf: The Musical features upbeat songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. Singing and dancing are the show’s highlights as the ensemble fully embraces their various roles—whether as strutting elves (while on their knees) or New Yorkers. Despite some adults-only and local jokes thrown in by Santa (all of them clean, of course), the show is basically aimed at kids. The songs, while not particularly memorable, fall easily on the ear. Elf has a simple message: Accept who you are and spread good cheer into the world.

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