BWW Reviews: Walnut Street Theatre's ELF

Based on the popular film, Elf tells the heartwarming story of Buddy, an orphaned baby who crawls into Santa's toy bag and is accidentally taken to the North Pole. Buddy is raised as an elf until his size and inept toy-making skills force him to face the facts. So, he heads to New York to meet his newly discovered human father, a children's book publisher who turns out to be quite the Grinch. It seems his dad's on the naughty list, his half-brother doesn't believe in Santa and New York is completely lacking in Christmas spirit. It's up to Buddy to bring his new family together and save Christmas for all!

The Walnut Street Theatre's production of Elf is a high-energy holiday extravaganza with decked-out sets, rousing dance numbers and a general (and expected) overdose of cutesy sweetness. The cast features a fun array of children and adults led by Christopher Sutton as the central character of Buddy. Played in a naive and somewhat dopey manner, Sutton's portrayal of Buddy is erratic in energy level and lacking in quality vocal delivery.

J.D. Triolo showcases his beautiful voice in a charismatic portrayal of Buddy's half-brother, Michael. Kristine Fraelich and Charles Pistone complete the family with solid performances as Buddy's stepmother and father. And last, but definitely not least, Kate Fahrner is wonderful as Jovie, Buddy's somewhat awkward attempt at a girlfriend. With Fahrner's amazing voice, it's too bad Jovie doesn't have more songs.

Celebrate the season with a performance of Elf by the Walnut Street Theatre, running through January 5, 2014. For tickets and more information, visit

Photo Credit: Mark Galvin

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