Review: ELF: THE MUSICAL at The Belmont Theatre

Production runs through December 10th

By: Dec. 06, 2023
Review: ELF: THE MUSICAL at The Belmont Theatre

Can anyone ask for a better holiday event? The stage adaptation of a beloved family Christmas movie brightens the mood and inspires the spirit of the season. Elf: The Musical at The Belmont Theatre is a must see for anyone looking for Christmas cheer.

While it is hard to believe that some readers may not know this story, Elf revolves around Buddy, an adult human living in the North Pole with Santa and his elves. After discovering he is human, Buddy goes on a wild adventure hoping to find his biological father. While on this journey, he not only finds family, love, and friendship, but Buddy also manages to save Christmas.

Director Rene Staub, once again, found spectacular performers and utilized their talents beautifully to create many charming and hilarious scenes. Tommy Dougherty’s Buddy was a sheer joy to watch. Dougherty clearly attempted to emulate the Buddy created by Will Ferrel in the 2003 Film, with its hyper childlike nature, while putting his own spin on the character. The energy and enthusiasm that Dougherty’s Buddy brings are enhanced by his remarkable vocal talents. While not always evident in the songs (that is to say, Dougherty’s talents are wasted on a couple of uninspired musical numbers), Dougherty’s performance, both acting and singing, is at a level far above the average community theater. The Belmont Theatre is quickly developing a reputation for producing shows that shine above the community theater expectation. Perhaps this is why the Belmont Theatre draws talents such as Dougherty (Buddy), Chloe Braden (Jovie) with her powerful voice, Evan Tinsman (Store Manager) who is clearly trained in musical theater, Maria Albani (Emily Hobbs) and her sweet voice and charming interactions with Sam Short’s Micheal, and Sam Short (Micheal Hobbs) himself whose singing skill is far beyond his years.

If it were not enough to have strong actors and vocalists as main characters, Staub has surrounded them with beautifully talented dancers and a backup ensemble cast. The Technical dancers, for me, were the icing on the Christmas cookie. While Emily Beckman, Emily Goodling, and Clare Short each had spotlight worthy moments, it was McKenna Spangler and Donovan Molloy whose dancing continuously caught the eye. Not everyone understands the value of the dancers and ensemble cast when producing a musical, however, Rene Staub clearly does. 

Rounding out the cast were a number of children who, let's be honest, are a requirement for a Christmas show. Ethan Beckman, Amelia Fortunato, Elizabeth Richey, and Brayden Smith each added so much to this show with their happy faces and joyous energy. 

While there are a few transitions that could have been smoother, the flaws in this show fall on the script itself and primarily on the musical score/lyrics. Some of the musical numbers are clever and fun, while others fall flat. Even with wonderful choreography and beautiful vocals, some of the songs just don't work. Sparklejollytwinklejingly, Nobody Cares about Santa, and Never Fall in Love (with an Elf), however, are exactly what this type of show calls for. These were definitely crowd favorites and highlighted these talented young artists.

Although it is hard to watch a remake of your favorite Christmas movie (and I can’t say I am in love with the author's choices), nothing puts me in the holiday spirit quite like Buddy the Elf. For more information about this and other shows at The Belmont Theatre, visit https://thebelmont.org




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