Review: ELF THE MUSICAL at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace, IL

Production runs through January 8, 2023

By: Nov. 18, 2022
Review: ELF THE MUSICAL at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace, IL
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Sing loud for all to hear.

Drury Lane Theatre's holiday production is Elf. From the opening number until the final curtain, Elf will make you feel the joy of Christmas as a child again. That's the beauty of Buddy the Elf and in large part due to the talented Ben Dow, being moved from understudy to lead, in the title role. His wide eyed expressions and sheer joy of everything, especially maple syrup, is the heart of the story. Buddy wants everyone to be happy and feel joy. We are taken into the Buddy's story at the very beginning by Santa (expertly portrayed by the spellbinding A.D. Weaver). On Buddy's journey we meet all the characters from the movie.

The opening number with the entire company has the elves onstage singing and dancing. These actors have knee pads on with flowing costumes. A sight to behold with awe.

Buddy's journey to New York City begins to find his father after he learns he is not an elf but a human. When Buddy arrives at the office of his work driven father (Sean Fortunato), his first interaction is with Deb (Marya Grandy with a laugh you will never forget) one of his father's assistants. Buddy is also delighted to learn he has a stepmother (Melody A. Bettis) who is both compassionate and yet not believing and a younger half brother Michael (sweetly portrayed by Gabriel Solis in his Drury Lane debut). Famously Buddy shows Michael the best breakfast is cold spaghetti with maple syrup. Jovie (Lydia Burke and her powerhouse voice) is the woman Buddy becomes attracted to and pursues her ultimately winning her over.

The ensemble is top notch. If you want to see singing Santa's (with a nod to Bob Fosse) this is definitely the show to see. It's a fantastic number (Nobody Cares About Santa) and I would not be surprised if it receives a standing ovation. Each of the company/ensemble numbers are showstopping in their own right. The director/choreographer Lynne Kurdziel Formato has created a memorable theater experience. Please stay in our area! The music and lyrics written by Matthew Skylar and Chad Beguelin is very upbeat with some big band thrown in. The Drury Lane orchestra under the direction Christopher Sargent is music to the ears. The costumes by Rachel Boylan, lighting effectively designed by Lindsey Lyddan, sound (shredding machine, bells especially) by Ray Nardelli, props secured by Cassy Shillo and the projections shown above the stage created by Anthony Churchill and the electronic music designed by Ethan Deppe carried the story seamlessly.

There is a quote in the program attributed to Dale Evans: "Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas". This is definitely the theme of Elf the musical. Drury Lane has given the perfect pre-Christmas gift. Unwrap it, share it and enjoy it.

 




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