A Charming Production of Elf The Musical
Elf The Musical does have an inane plot but it's a fun story. Buddy (Eric Williams) finds out that he's not an actual elf, since he was accidentally taken to the North Pole when he crawled into Santa's toy sack one Christmas Eve. Santa (Ken Clement) sends Buddy off to New York City to find his real family: his inflexible editor father Walter (Jessie Sharp), his new stepmom Emily (Lexie Dorsett Sharp), and her son Michael (Tyler Altomari, rotating with Harper S. Bradley). Zaniness follows, as Buddy struggles to be loved by the family. About the only member of the family to really accept Buddy is Michael.
Of course, there has to be a love interest and here that is the skeptical Jovie (Maggie Anderson) who works at the department store Santaland with Buddy. Of course, all ends on a positive note.
The opening number that takes place in Santa's workshop is lovely and fun with all the actors on their knees performing as elves. The singing and dancing ensemble performs this number perfectly. Matthew Sklar's music and Chad Beguelin's lyrics aren't memorable but they are enjoyable. Production numbers like "Nobody Cares About Santa" are emphatically entertaining.
Eric Williams certainly carries the whole show as Buddy. He is delightful and does not overplay the character's ingenuousness. He's sweet, amusing and, more importantly, sincere in his feelings. Williams is more flamboyant with the physical comedy, voice and mannerisms than Will Ferrell was in film. Maggie Anderson is a marvelous singer and she has a mellifluous voice as Jovie. The rest of the cast, especially Jesse Sharp as Walter and Lexie Dorsett Sharp as Emily, give fetching performances. Ken Clement gives a pitch perfect performance as Santa. The rest of the cast doesn't disappoint, with every member well suited to his or her part.
Director Sam Scalamoni and his crewchiefly, choreographer Connor Gallagher, set designer Christian Peters and conductor Samuel Bagalamanage to skill this slight material into a sharp, fast-paced and visually imaginative production. If you want an entertaining family musical with froth and folly and a touch of the Christmas spirit, this is for you.
Elf The Musical is playing at the Curran Theatre, 445 Geary Street, San Francisco through December 28th, 2014. For tickets visit www.shnsf.com or call 888-746-1799. For more information on the tour, visit www.elfthemusicalontour.com.