We were so excited when we heard that Elf the Musical was playing at the Olney Theatre Center this Holiday season! Adventure Dad and I have always kicked off the Holiday season with the hilarious movie version of Elf, so taking our adventure kiddos to see the musical was high on our list of adventures in the arts! We recognized the names and faces of much of the cast from the DC Theatre scene and were excited to see them take on these fun roles. Did we mention Elf the Musical is directed by Michael Bobbitt, who also happens to be the Artistic Director over at one of the best children’s theaters in DC, Adventure Theatre MTC? When Olney Theatre Center invited us to a show we knew this would be great family fun and we were not disappointed.
Buddy the Elf is brought to life by David Schlumpf, who embodies the silly and sweet, yet naive nature of the character without impersonating Will Ferrell. Upon learning the truth that he is a human who was accidentally brought to the North Pole as a baby and raised as an elf, Buddy travels to NYC in search of his birth father Walter Hobbs, played by Bobby Smith. Arriving in the big, bad city, Buddy is distraught to learn that his birth father is on the “naughty” list and that his half-brother Michael, played by Tyler Smallwood, doesn’t believe in Santa. Luckily, Buddy makes some new friends in the city, including his step-mom Emily, played by Janine Sunday, Walter’s secretary Deb, played by Nova Y. Payton, and even a love interest. Buddy’s love interest Jovie, played by Patricia Hurley, is a little more cynical and down-trodden than the film version which offers even more opportunities to showcase Buddy’s generous and loving spirit as well as his infectious love for all things Christmas. When things go badly with his father and Buddy seems more lost than ever, his love for Christmas over comes. With Santa’s sleigh stranded in Central Park, Buddy rallies those around him to help Santa and save Christmas!
The sets are amazing! When we first walked into the theatre our kids were squealing with delight. Elf the Musical is narrated by Santa, unlike the movie version narrated by Papa Elf, and the musical opens in Santa’s living room. The set changes easily to create Santa’s living room, the North Pole, New York City, Walter’s office, the Hobbs apartment, the department store, a Chinese Food restaurant, Tavern on the Green and an ice skating rink. Olney Theatre Center is even transformed into a Christmas Wonderland as snow falls on the stage and audience. The adventure kids loved the snow!
We also loved how the elves at Santa’s Workshop were portrayed by actors on their knees, on rolling chairs and by puppets. The adventure kids were very intrigued by the different storylines in the musical. One notable difference for them was that Michael and Emily didn’t believe in Santa until they see his sleigh land in the park. Michael and Emily both only want more time with Walter which is a great reminder that the most meaningful gifts aren’t always wrapped under a tree.
Everyone knows that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre Center is spreading Christmas cheer across the DC area from now until January 6th 2019.
Elf the Musical
November 9 – January 6 2019
Starts at $59
2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission.
The film version of “Elf” was rated-PG
Olney Theatre Center
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road
Olney, MD 20832