Elf is the newest show to open at the Walnut Street Theatre, and it is the perfect show for the holidays. Elf is based on the movie of the same name, and is full of holiday magic, joy and Christmas spirit. Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human child, who has been raised by the elves and Santa at the North Pole. Once Buddy realizes he is human, he travels to New York City to find his father. The result is a wonderful holiday show that will get audiences into the holiday spirit and will have you singing merrily all the way home.
If you are in the mood for a fun family friendly holiday show I suggest you call the box office at the Walnut Street Theater and get your tickets today. This is one holiday show that should not be missed. The theatrical version of Elf sticks closely to the movie, but there are enough differences to make it unique. Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin wrote the lively score, and Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan adapted the book. Elf is a show that reminds audiences of the importance of family and the spirit of Christmas. It will not only have you laughing and singing, but there are also emotional moments when you might need a tissue.
Christopher Sutton plays Buddy the Elf, and he is energetic and animated in this role. Sutton’s portrayal of Buddy is lively as well as charming. His song, “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” is dynamic, and definitely full of sensational seasonal sparkle. Kate Fahrner shines as Jovie, Buddy’s counterpart. Fahrner brings a kindness and emotion to this role, and her song “Never Fall in Love” will tug at your heartstrings. Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s dad, is played by Charles Pistone. Pistone is exceptional, he begins the show as a businessman who appears to be a heartless workaholic that is too busy for his family, and by the second act audiences see him embrace the spirit of Christmas and reconnect with his family. Kristine Fraelich portrays, Emily, the matriarch of the Hobbs family. Fraelich is delightful as Emily, and she perfectly shows kindness and compassion to her son and Buddy. JD Triolo plays Michael Hobbs (he alternates this role with Tyler Hentz), the son of Walter and Emily Hobbs. Triolo is a very talented up and coming young actor. In this role Triolo brings his character to life to show the emotion and disappointment he feels towards his father, as well as his excitement in discovering he has an elf for a brother. Rounding out this wonderful cast is Bill Van Horn as Santa. Van Horn is perfectly jolly in this role, and he makes a very believable Santa.
Under the direction and choreography of Marc Robin, this show is outstanding and full of holiday spirit. I will be amiss if I did not mention a few of the stand out numbers of Elf. One of my favorite duets of this production is the song “I’ll Believe in You.” Kristine Fraelich and JD Triolo perform the song, and it is beautiful and heartwarming, and has strong vocals. In addition, the duet between Buddy and Deb (played by Cary Michele Miller), “Just Like Him,” is superbly done with an excellent dance number. In addition, the scene that takes place in Rockefeller Center is magical. Lastly, “Nobody Cares about Santa” is a show stopping number, full of tap dancing Santas and the best ensemble number in the show. The ensemble is very strong in Elf, and they deserve a round of applause.
The artistic team also needs recognized for this outstanding show. Scenic Designer, Robert Andrew Kovach, Lighting Designer, Shon Causer, and Sound Designer, Will Pickens, have all transformed the Walnut Street’s stage into a festive delight. Coleen Grady designed the colorful and imaginative costumes. In addition, Douglass G. Lutz serves as the Music and Vocal Director.
Do not miss Elf at the Walnut Street Theatre. Elf runs through January 5, 2014. For more information and tickets call their box office at 215-574-3550 or visit their website at www.walnutstreettheatre.org.
Photo credit: Mark Garvin
Final Thought: Elf is a wonderful show full of Yuletide cheer, exceptional choreography and a magnificent cast. Do not miss Elf, it will get you in the holiday spirit and have you signing merrily for days after the show.
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online sites broadwayworld.com and figlancaster.com and is a freelance writer. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on twitter @theatrescribe and on Facebook/theatresensation.