Elf: The Musical
|Elf the Musical|
|Basis||2003 film Elf|
2012 Non-Equity tour
2012 Broadway revival
2013 National tour
Elf is a musical based on the motion picture of the same name, with a score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. The book is adapted by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan from the 2003 film. The musical ran on Broadway in the Christmas seasons of 2010-11 and 2012-13, and also toured the U.S. in 2012.
William "Buddy" Hobbs, a young orphan child, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Years later, Buddy, eventually finds out that he's a regular human being and heads off to New York City in search of his father.
He finds him, but Walter doesn't believe in the spirit of Christmas, nor do many other New Yorkers. This is a problem, because Santa's sleigh is powered by the people's belief in Christmas.
Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list and his little brother Michael doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his birth family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.
Differences from the film
The story is narrated by Santa Claus rather than Papa Elf. The story in the musical is said to have begun three years ago - rather than thirty years ago, like in the movie - so that there's no age limit on the actor playing Buddy. Buddy's real name is revealed to be William early in the film, while his real name is not revealed in the musical until Buddy meets Walter, Emily, and Michael. The musical also adds a subplot about Michael's disbelief in Santa.
†In the original Broadway version, the opening number was an entirely different song entitled "Christmastown."
The original principal casts of all major productions.
|William "Buddy the Elf" Hobbs||Sebastian Arcelus (2010)
Jordan Gelber (2012 Broadway)
Matt Kopec (2012 tour)
|Jovie||Amy Spanger (2010)
Leslie Kritzer (2012 Broadway)
Kate Hennies (2012 tour)
|Emily Hobbs||Beth Leavel (2010/12 Broadway)
Julia Louise Hosack (2012 tour)
|Walter Hobbs||Mark Jacoby (2010/12 Broadway)
Drew Pulver (2012 tour)
|Santa Claus||George Wendt (2010)
Wayne Knight (2012 Broadway)
Gordon Gray (2012 tour)
|Michael Hobbs||Matthew Gumley (2010)
Mitchell Sink (2012 Broadway)
Connor Barth (2012 tour)
Grayson J. Smith (2012 Seattle 5th Avenue West Coast Premier)
|Deb||Valerie Wright (2010/12 Broadway)
Jen Bechter (2012 tour)
|Mr. Greenway||Michael McCormick (2010)
Adam Heller (2012 Broadway)
Royce McIntosh (2012 tour)
|Store Manager||Michael Mandell (2010/12 Broadway)
Clyde Voce (2012 tour)
After a 2009 workshop, the musical officially opened for a limited holiday engagement at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway on November 14, 2010, following previews from November 2, 2010. Casey Nicholaw directed. The final performance took place January 2, 2011 after a run of 15 preview and 57 regular performances. A Broadway cast recording was released on November 1, 2011. Leading the original cast was Wicked and Jersey Boys star Sebastian Arcelus, who was joined by Broadway alums Amy Spanger and Beth Leavel.
North American tours (2012, 2013)
Presented by NETworks, a mini-tour of the musical featuring a non-equity cast played select cities across North America for the 2012 holiday season. Stops include Providence, RI (Nov. 4-10), Appleton, WI (Nov. 13-18), Tampa, FL (Nov. 20-25), Fort Myers, FL (Nov. 27-Dec. 2) and St. Paul, MN (Dec. 5-30). Two separate tours began in 2013, one equity and one non-equity.
Broadway revival (2012-13)
Following the success of the 2010 production, the musical will return to the Al Hirschfeld for a second holiday season beginning November 9, 2012, on a run through January 6, 2013. This new production features a revised book and a brand new opening number "Happy All the Time."
The Canadian premiere of the production ran from November 20, 2012 to January 6, 2013 at Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 
Mark Kennedy called the production "a tight, polished, expensive-looking affair that has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects for kids." However, the Back Stage reviewer said the show was "too sweet and a big mess. Even the most fantastic cast possible couldn't rescue this mediocre show." Many reviews mentioned that the show is great for kids.
Elf received mostly mixed to negative reviews from New York critics. The New York Times said the show was "generic, true, but it is also polished . . . Instead of sewing button eyes on dolls and fiddling with the circuitry of game consoles, a small but dedicated cadre of Santa’s tireless helpers are manufacturing splashy, peppy, sugar-sprinkled holiday entertainments destined for Broadway."
Matthew Murray, in Talkin' Broadway, mentioned that "even corporate-driven musicals ought to offer more . . . Film-to-theatre adaptations, such as these, that work do so because their authors see in them something that can be transformed, thus bringing greater glory to the old and new versions alike. But above all else, they convince you that their stories aren’t just worth telling, but worth telling well. That, more than anything else, is where Elf falls considerably short."
Despite negative reviews, the musical broke records at the Hirschfeld box office three times, grossing over a million dollars in one week, and being the third best-grossing show in the 2010 Thanksgiving weekend, behind Wicked and The Lion King.
Awards and honors
|2011 Drama League Awards|
of a Musical
- Broadway News Report. "Elf: new family musical for the winter holidays". New York Theatre Guide.
- The Broadway League. Elf the Musical. Internet Broadway Database.
- Healy, Patrick. "Musical Version of 'Elf' Heading to Broadway". The New York Times, June 11, 2010
- Andrew Gans. "Nicholaw to Direct Workshop of Elf—The Musical". Playbill.com, September 3, 2009
- " 'Elf: The Musical' Unwraps Broadway Christmas Bow Nov. 2 at the Hirschfeld", playbill.com
- Recording Amazon.com
- Hetrick, Adam. "Sebastian Arcelus Will Be Broadway's Buddy; Elf – The Musical Completes Casting". Playbill
- Hetrick, Adam. "'Elf The Musical' Will Return to Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre in November" playbill.com, August 9, 2012
- 'Elf' on Broadway; Who Needs Will Ferrell? - ABC News
- NY Review: 'Elf'
- Eidam, Kourtney. Elf On Broadway! | GoodyBlog. Parents.
- CultureMom. "Review: Elf on Broadway". November 11, 2010.
- "Elf the Musical | StageGrade"
- Feldberg, Robert. "Elf". NorthJersey.com
- Isherwood, Charles. "North Pole Naïf Tries to Thaw Hearts". The New York Times.
- Murrary, Matthew. "Review: Elf". Talkin' Broadway.
- BWW Newsdesk. "ELF Breaks Box Office Record at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre" broadwayworld.com, November 29, 2010.
- Hetrick, Adam. "Elf – The Musical Ends Broadway Holiday Run Jan. 2". Playbill. January 2, 2011.
- "ELF Breaks B.O. Record Again at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre". Broadway World. December 27, 2010.
-  nytimes.com
- "Broadway Grosses: Wicked, The Lion King & Elf Set Records in Smashing Holiday Week" Broadway.com, November 29, 2010.
- Gans, Andrew (April 25, 2011). "Book of Mormon, Priscilla, Sister Act, War Horse, Good People and More Are Drama League Nominees". Playbill.com. Retrieved 25 April 2011.