The holiday season in Atlanta got a huge dose of sweetness on Tuesday evening as Elf, The Musical opened at the Fox Theatre. The saccharin sweet fix will last through December 6 when the last performance takes place.
December in Atlanta provides a large number and variety of holiday shows for families looking to get into the spirit of the season. From all-star rock and pop concerts and circus-style shows to more traditional offerings like the Nutcracker ballet and theatre productions of A Christmas Carol there is absolutely something for everyone.
Elf, the Musical bridges the gap between the traditional shows and the more contemporary offerings. A Broadway musical production with a holiday redemptive theme, lots of red and green, cute jokes, romance and a lovable, awkward hero all contribute to create a heart-warming and humorous Christmas fable that is perfect for family outings.
If you’ve seen the movie with Will Ferrell you know the plot. Even if you haven’t seen the movie you’ll be able to predict the outcome very soon after taking your seat before the opening curtain is raised. But that’s okay because this show is not about plot twists and turns. In this show you get the sweetness straight up.
The basic premise of the show is that Buddy leaves his adopted home with Santa Claus at the North Pole to go find his biological father, a harried business executive too busy for his own family in New York City. Through a series of adventures and a couple of “ups and downs” Buddy’s unconditional love and unbridled enthusiasm convince his new family, Jovie his love interest and his father that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. Oh and they all end up saving Christmas by recapturing their own Christmas spirit.
The kids in the audience loved the show, enjoying the musical numbers and jokes and laughing at Buddy’s goofiness. Their engagement in the story demonstrated by a huge collective gasp when Buddy shreds an important manuscript turning it into “snow”. The parents loved the show too, mostly through seeing their kids so totally engrossed in it so Elf, The Musical works well at a variety of levels and is the perfect holiday offering.
Daniel Patrick Smith as Buddy is the perfect sweet, naïve, hero. His expressive face and physique play the awkward innocence perfectly and its not difficult to embrace his lovable character. Santa Clause, played by Ken Clement, has some of the best lines and he delivers them with a very adept sense of comedic timing. Maggie Anderson as Jovie powerfully delivers one of the better songs in the show with “Never Fall in Love”.
The other great Broadway song comes at the start of the second act where Buddy joins several store Santas mournfully recounting how Santa’s are no longer respected “Nobody Cares About Santa”.
Overall the show works well. The performances by all the principals are very well done and the audience clearly enjoyed themselves. Who knows if it will become a permanent holiday fixture but those that see it this season will be glad they did.
Elf, the Musical continues through December 6th at the Fox Theatre.