Musical “Elf” delights at Walnut Street Theater
11/14/2013 12:49:00 PM
About halfway through the play “Elf” at the Walnut Street Theater Wednesday night, I realized I had a smile on my face that wouldn’t quit. The star of the show is such a delightful, happy person, it’s almost impossible not to be effected by his boyish charm. In fact, the elf’s happiness is so contagious, if you don’t come out of “Elf” feeling happy, then something is seriously wrong!
Christopher Sutton plays Buddy, an ophan who at a young age mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and ends up in the North Pole. He’s raised unaware that he’s a human, but thinks instead he’s an elf until his poor toy-making skills and his enormous size causes him to face the truth.
With Santa’s permission, he takes a journey to New York City to meet the father he never knew. Donning his Elf costume, Buddy finds him at work - a mean, rude boss who doesn’t spend much time with his wife and son. His father is on Santa’s ‘naughty’ list and Buddy's half brother doesn’t believe there is a Santa Claus so it’s up to Buddy to save Christmas!
He does so in the most innocent, charming way. He dances and sings his way into the hearts of everyone he meets on stage, even the most cynical New Yorker. The show is funny, entertaining, and very enjoyable. It’s a must-see to lift your spirit and get into the Holiday Season mood.
And what age is best to see it? All ages! I took my 11-year-old niece Lilly and her 12-year-old friend, and they loved it. “This is like the funniest play ever!” said Isabella, the older of the two. “Yeah!” Lilly added with a big smile.
You might be familiar with the 2003 film by the same name that starred Will Ferrell, and was written by David Berenbaum, a local who graduated from George Washington High School and the film program at New York University where Philadelphia’s resident film director, M. Night Shyamalan, was a classmate.
This play is based on that film, according to the credits in the program that also mention the two authors of the book: Thomas Meehan (Annie) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). The songwriters are Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer).
Elf played on Broadway for the 2012-13 season before making its debut in Philadelphia at the Walnut on November 13 (previews began on November 5th) and runs through January 5th. No performances on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year’s Day.
Tickets and information call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787, or online at www.WalnutStreetTheater.org or Ticketmaster. Prices range from $10-$95. Premium Tickets available for $175 (includes a tax deductible donation).
Photo Captions and Credits:
1. ELF poster
2. Christopher Sutton in Elf at Walnut Street Theatre. Photo by Mark Garvin.
3. Christopher Sutton and Kate Fahrner in Elf at Walnut Street Theatre. Photo by Mark Garvin.
4. Company of Elf at Walnut Street Theatre. Photo by Mark Garvin.