A less than jolly review of Elf the Musical

Laynie Rearick, Staff Writer

Elf the Musical is a good musical.” “No it’s not.” “Yes it is.” “No it’s not.” “Yes it is.”

The above is my last two remaining brain cells arguing with each other over what to think of Elf. And at the end of the day (or at the end of a very long 2 hour and 30 min. performance), I’ve come to the conclusion that, like everything, there are parts that are very good and parts that are not so good.

Let’s start with the positives: everything Constellations, the company putting on the musical, could control (such as casting, singing, choreography, lighting, scenery, and costumes) was excellent. All the performers were extremely dedicated and talented, and it was obvious how much hard work went into the show. Choreographer Lauren Haughton-Gillis did a fantastic job with the musical numbers, and my favorites were the big group numbers that featured lots of impressive tap dancing and high kicks.

Of course, the entire show rests on the actor playing Buddy the Elf, a character who is always toeing the line between quirky and annoying. Luke Major expertly danced (literally) between the two. His commitment to playing the excitable, high energy “human who thinks he’s an elf” is remarkable, especially when taking into account the show’s considerable run time.

As this is now the second time I’ve mentioned the show’s length, here is my biggest criticism: the show is simply too long. Marketed towards a younger audience, one would assume it would be a quick hour and 30 min (about as long as the movie is). Instead, the show began at 7 p.m. and ended at 10 p.m. Not only were the young kids around me getting sleepy, their parents were also over it—a mom in the same aisle as me decided to get a little shut-eye during the middle of the second act.

One way to cut down the run time is to get rid of unnecessary songs. One song that I would be more than okay with being cut is sung by Michael, the son, and Michael’s mom after seeing Santa’s sleigh. The audience understands the importance of this event; we really don’t need a whole song about how they now believe. The reprise of “Nobody Cares About Santa” could also be easily cut without anyone blinking an eye.

Overall, the one word that comes to mind when thinking about Elf the Musical is not Christmas—it’s why? Why was this necessary? Answer: It’s not. What started out as a fun, festive thing to do quickly turned into one of the longest evenings of my life. I really think we’d all feel more in the Christmas spirit if we just stuck with the movie.