On Friday night as snow was falling my friend Jessica and I made our way to see “Elf” at the Ordway. The ambiance in the theater lobby was spectacular. The Ordway decorated for the season beautifully. There were paper snow flakes, trees, blow up Santa’s, and you could even take your picture with people dressed up as elves. All the theater goers were dressed up as well. Young girls in pretty holiday dresses, women in fancy tights and heels, and I saw a few men in bow ties which I find to be very classy. It seems the holidays bring out the best in many people. People are excited to be at the theater with family and friends.
In 2003 Will Ferrell starred in the movie “Elf”. It was a hit for grown-ups and kids alike. In 2010 Elf the musical hit the Broadway stage. Although the story line of the musical changed a bit, the key parts stayed the same. The story opens with Buddy the Elf who lives with Santa and the elves in the North Pole. Buddy senses that he does not fit in. He is too tall and is not as good at making toys as the others. He eventually finds out he is a regular human and sets out on a quest to find his real father in New York City. When he gets there he finds out his dad is re-married with a son and the whole family does not believe in Santa anymore. Since Santa’s sleigh is powered by people’s belief in Christmas, Buddy tries to restore the joy that Christmas brings. One of his favorite ways to spread the word is to sing. Along the way Buddy meets a girl named Jovie who he really likes as well.
Buddy played by Matt Kopec was great. He was nimble and light on his feet. On top of being a good singer, he was a good dancer and actor. I think he played the part very well. Jovie played by Kate Hennies did a great job with her role. The downside was she only got one big song and was not in the show as much as I thought she would be. When she sang she reminded me of Jennifer Damiano who was the original Natalie in “Next to Normal”. The mother, Emily (Julia Louise Hosack) and son, Michael (Connor Barth) did a wonderful job together. They had a few duets and were cast well. The mother had a very rich voice and it blended well with her sons.
Since the show was for adults and kids the writer did a good job with keeping it witty for all ages to get laughs. When Buddy and Michael are eating spaghetti for breakfast and Buddy adds syrup, everyone laughed. In order to hold the adults attention there were lines thrown in about Santa wanting to watch Tivo and how he kept his Christmas list on his iPad. The office secretary referenced Jenny Craig and the mom referenced Dr. Phil. This made the story more relatable and not out dated.
The songs in the show were all originals and fit well into story line. My favorites were the ensemble numbers “Sparklejollytwinklejingley”, “A Christmas Song”, “Nobody Cares About Santa” and the “Finale”. All of these songs were fun with loves of dancing and joy. I’m always up for a good company number that puts a big smile on your face. The pit was small with only seven musicians but they were mighty and sounded great.
As Buddy would say “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear.” So get ready for some songs, dancing, and holiday fun. “Elf” is playing at the Ordway through December 30th. For more information take a look at their website or call the box office: