BWW Review: THE HAPPY ELF Can Cure Your Christmas Blues at Theatre In The Park
THE HAPPY ELF is filled with elves, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and a town where everyone is the naughty list and Christmas is forbidden. These are just some of the things that face Eubie, the happiest elf at the North Pole. THE HAPPY ELF is featured at the Black Box Theatre, located in the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center in Overland Park, Kansas. THE HAPPY ELF runs thru December 23rd and is a wonderful show for the whole family.
THE HAPPY ELF was derived from a children's song written by Harry Connick, JR. After hearing the song, a producer convinced him to write a children's story based on its content. The Coterie Theatre, located on the bottom level of the Crown Center in Kansas City, held the world premiere of the play in 2007. A movie of the children's story was produced in 2005 utilizing the voices of Harry Connick, JR., Mickey Rooney, Carol Kane and Mae Whitman.
Colin Rohach portrays Eubie, the happiest elf at the North Pole, who breaks into song at the drop of a Christmas hat. Eubie with his friends Hamm (played by Jacob Jackson) and Gilda (marvelously played by Emily Vargo) get word that Santa is going to pick three elves to accompany him on his sleigh as he makes his Christmas rounds. The three want more than anything to be the elves on the sleigh with Santa on that magical night.
Unfortunately for Eubie he leads the North Pole workforce in a song and dance, completely stopping production, much to the disliking of his Superior Norbert (played by Don Leonard). Norbert fires Eubie in an attempt to guarantee that he will not be on the sleigh with Santa and Norbert will. Eubie then crashes the Snow Board Meeting held by Santa and is rehired by the jolly man. His chances of being one of the three chosen are slim after he is assigned the task of going through the massive list of who's been naughty and who's been nice.
He discovers The Town of Bluesville where none of the residents have never been on the nice list. He decides to attempt to work his way onto the sleigh by going to Bluesville in order to change all the residents and try to get them all on the nice list. After a short stay he is convinced that he is not trying to get them on the list for the right reasons, even though his plan appears to be working. After giving Molly (played by Bridget Walsh) his magic elf hat he is forced to return to the North Pole to face the consequences of giving up the hat and leaving the North Pole.
He is able to return the Bluesville, with Hamm and Gilda, in an attempt to complete his task. The difference is now he no longer wants to do it for his own selfish reason but because he actually wants to help the children of Bluesville celebrate Christmas. Sarah Montoya is brilliant in the role of Gurt, the wife of the Mayor of Bluesville. She performs and dances to the hilarious song "The Poop Hole Song".
THE HAPPIEST ELF continues through December 23rd with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 P.M. and matinees at 2 P.M. on Saturdays and Sundays. THE HAPPY ELF is performed through special arrangements with Music Theatre International. For ticketing information go to the Theatre in the Park's website at www.theaterinthepark.org.
Photo by Bob Compton