Elf: The Musical

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Elf the Musical
Broadway Playbill
Music Matthew Sklar
Lyrics Chad Beguelin
Book Bob Martin
Thomas Meehan
Basis 2003 film Elf
Productions 2010 Broadway
2012 Non-Equity tour
2012 Broadway revival
2013 National tour
2014 Non-Equity tour
2015-2016 West End

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. A new tour launched in 2014.


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 finds out that he's an ordinary human being and heads off to New York City in search of his father, Walter Hobbs.

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 Walter is on the naughty list and his half-brother, Michael, doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his birth family and help New York City remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Differences from the film[edit]

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. His real name is revealed to be William early in the film, while it is not revealed in the musical until he meets Walter, Emily, and Michael. The musical also adds a subplot about Michael's disbelief in Santa.

Musical numbers[edit]


The original principal casts of all major productions.

Character Actors
William "Buddy" Hobbs Sebastian Arcelus (2010)
Jordan Gelber (2012 Broadway)
Matt Kopec (2012 tour)
Ben Forster (2015-2016 London Production)
Jovie Amy Spanger (2010)
Leslie Kritzer (2012 Broadway)
Kate Hennies (2012 tour)
Kimberley Walsh (2015-2016 London Production)
Emily Hobbs Beth Leavel (2010/12 Broadway)
Julia Louise Hosack (2012 tour)
Jessica Martin (2015-2016 London Production)
Walter Hobbs Mark Jacoby (2010/12 Broadway)
Drew Pulver (2012 tour)
Joe McGann (2015-2016 London Production)
Santa Claus George Wendt (2010)
Wayne Knight (2012 Broadway)
Gordon Gray (2012 tour)
Mark McKerracher (2015-2016 London Production)
Michael Hobbs Matthew Gumley (2010)
Matthew Schechter (2010-2011 Broadway)
Mitchell Sink (2012 Broadway)
Connor Barth (2012 tour)
Harper S. Brady (2014 tour)
Deb Valerie Wright (2010/12 Broadway)
Jen Bechter (2012 tour)
Jennie Dale (2015-2016 London Production)
Mr. Greenway Michael McCormick (2010)
Adam Heller (2012 Broadway)
Royce McIntosh (2012 tour)
Store Manager Michael Mandell (2010/12 Broadway)
Clyde Voce (2012 tour)
Graham Lappin (2015-2016 London Production)

Production history[edit]

2010 Broadway cast

Broadway (2010-11)[edit]

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.[1][2][3][4] The final performance took place January 2, 2011 after a run of 15 preview and 57 regular performances.[5] A Broadway cast recording was released on November 1, 2011.[6] Leading the original cast was Wicked and Jersey Boys star Sebastian Arcelus, who was joined by Broadway alums Amy Spanger and Beth Leavel.[7]

North American tours (2012, 2013, 2014)[edit]

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. Two non-equity tours began in November 2014.

Broadway revival (2012-13)[edit]

Following the success of the 2010 production, the musical returned to the Al Hirschfeld for a second holiday season beginning November 9, 2012, on a run through January 6, 2013.[8] This new production featured a revised book and a brand new opening number "Happy All the Time."

West End production (2015-16)[edit]

A new production of the musical will open at the Dominion Theatre on October 24, 2015, for a 10-week run until January 2, 2016. This production will feature Ben Forster as Buddy and Kimberley Walsh as Jovie.[9] There will be Gala Opening Night on 5 November 2015 in aid of Alzheimer’s Society.[10]

Subsequent Productions[edit]

A separate production ran at The 5th Avenue Theatre for a limited engagement in Seattle beginning November 30, 2012, on a run through December 31.[11]

The Canadian premiere of the production ran from November 20, 2012 to January 6, 2013 at Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. [12]

A production of the musical is currently running at the Paper Mill Playhouse. The run started on Nov 26, 2014 and is scheduled to run until Jan 4, 2015.[13]

TV adaptation[edit]

On December 16, 2014, NBC broadcast a stop-motion animated adaptation of the musical entitled Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas. It featured the voices of Jim Parsons as Buddy, Mark Hammil as Walter, Ed Asner reprising his film role as Santa, Garfunkel and Oates' Kate Micucci as Jovie, and Jay Leno as one of the fake Santas. The screenplay was written by Andrew Horvath, Michael Jelenic with Martin and Meehan. It also contained Guardino, Sklar, and Beguelin's songs from this musical.


Critical reception[edit]

Mark Kennedy called the production "a tight, polished, expensive-looking affair that has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects for kids."[14]

Box office[edit]

The musical broke records at the Hirschfeld box office three times,[15][16][17] 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.[18][19]

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Award Category Outcome
2011 Drama League Awards[20]
Distinguished Production of a Musical



  1. ^ Broadway News Report. "Elf: new family musical for the winter holidays". New York Theatre Guide.
  2. ^ The Broadway League. Elf the Musical. Internet Broadway Database.
  3. ^ Healy, Patrick. "Musical Version of 'Elf' Heading to Broadway". The New York Times, June 11, 2010
  4. ^ Andrew Gans. "Nicholaw to Direct Workshop of Elf—The Musical". Playbill.com, September 3, 2009
  5. ^ " 'Elf: The Musical' Unwraps Broadway Christmas Bow Nov. 2 at the Hirschfeld", playbill.com
  6. ^ Recording Amazon.com
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Sebastian Arcelus Will Be Broadway's Buddy; Elf – The Musical Completes Casting". Playbill
  8. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "'Elf The Musical' Will Return to Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre in November" playbill.com, August 9, 2012
  9. ^ "Elf Musical" londonboxoffice.co.uk, February 21, 2015
  10. ^ "Elf Musical" londontheatredirect.com, August 25, 2015
  11. ^ http://playbill.com/news/article/171813-Seattle-Elf-to-Feature-Matt-Owen-Kendra-Kassebaum-and-Kim-Huber-Complete-Cast-Announced
  12. ^ http://www.neptunetheatre.com/default.asp?mn=1.22.211
  13. ^ http://www.papermill.org/shows-tickets/348-elf.html
  14. ^ 'Elf' on Broadway; Who Needs Will Ferrell? - ABC News
  15. ^ BWW Newsdesk. "ELF Breaks Box Office Record at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre" broadwayworld.com, November 29, 2010.
  16. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Elf – The Musical Ends Broadway Holiday Run Jan. 2". Playbill. January 2, 2011.
  17. ^ "ELF Breaks B.O. Record Again at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre". Broadway World. December 27, 2010.
  18. ^ [1] nytimes.com
  19. ^ "Broadway Grosses: Wicked, The Lion King & Elf Set Records in Smashing Holiday Week" Broadway.com, November 29, 2010.
  20. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]