By Angelina Franco
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”…or with a trip to see the Broadway phenomenon Elf.
Since 2003, the hit movie Elf has sparked many individuals with the Christmas spirit during the holiday season.
The memorable film, starring Will Ferrell (The Other Guys), Bob Newhart (The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice) and Zooey Deschanel [(500) Days of Summer], has now made its way to Broadway and has had an enormous amount of success since its opening day on Nov. 14.
The musical begins much like the movie, with everyone’s favorite elf Buddy, played by Sebastian Arcelus, in search of his true identity. Buddy was raised as an elf at the North Pole by his adoptive father. However, after causing much destruction to Santa’s workshop because of his lumbering size, he decides to take off to New York City to find his birth father, played by Mark Jacoby, and uncover his roots.
Buddy immediately warms the hearts of everyone he encounters, especially that of his co-worker Jovie, played by Amy Spanger. While his birth father is initially reluctant to take in Buddy and accept his Christmas antics, the Christmas spirit eventually overcomes him and Buddy is able to remind his cynical family about the importance of the holiday.
The scenes that follow consist of Buddy’s adventure to New York City to finally meet his father. Along the way there were brief but clever narrations from Santa, played by George Wendt, who is most recognized for his role as Norm Peterson in the 1980s show Cheers.
The scenery was fabulous, filled with a litany of decorations and lights. The theater truly transformed into the epitome of a Christmas extravaganza. Arcelus was able to perfectly capture Will Ferrell’s humorous and childlike character.
Each of the actors did a remarkable job portraying their well-remembered characters in the original film, especially Buddy’s human father, Mark Jacoby. The musical was not only filled with spirited Christmas songs but plenty of amusing back-and-forth dialogue that had the audience in tears. There were also multiple witty references to the vast advancements in society and technology such as Santa’s iPad, on which he now stores his entire Christmas list.
The musical closely followed the film and concluded with Buddy convincing the people of New York to embrace the Christmas spirit of the season. As the cast finished its last song, Santa’s sleigh lifted into the air and bursts of snow gracefully sprinkled onto the audience. Buddy and his family, including his new wife Jovie and newborn son Buddy Jr., ended the scene with a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa and the elves that once raised him as their own. The cast then ended the musical with a cheerful and bubbly Christmas song.
At the end of the show the cast encouraged the audience to give back to the theater community and donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, reiterating the spirit of giving during this holiday season.
One of the students who attended the trip, sophomore Saqib Habib, could not stop raving about the event.
“I liked it a lot,” he said. “It was very good and made the Christmas spirit lively in all of us.”