Review: ELF THE MUSICAL at Pioneer Theatre Company Brings Out the Inner Child

ELF THE MUSICAL plays through December 18, 2021.

By: Dec. 04, 2021
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Review: ELF THE MUSICAL at Pioneer Theatre Company Brings Out the Inner Child

Pioneer Theatre Company's ELF THE MUSICAL (returning in a new professional production after its 2013 bow) is a fun holiday outing. Directed by Sesame Street's Alan Muraoka, it brings out the inner child in the characters, actors, and audience alike.

ELF THE MUSICAL (book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin), is a Broadway show based on the perennial favorite film and in turn adapted as a stop-motion animated special--ELF: BUDDY'S MUSICAL CHRISTMAS. It tells the story of Buddy, who was raised by elves at the North Pole but never quite fit in, despite his enthusiasm for the Christmas holiday. When Buddy learns he is a human, he travels to New York City to meet his birth father, Walter Hobbs--a businessman who has forgotten the importance of family.

Max Chernin as Buddy is lovably innocent but filled with a yearning to discover and mature.

As the Hobbs family, Christopher Gurr (Walter), Mary Fanning Driggs (Emily), and Grant Wescott (Michael, double cast with Austin Flamm) are picture perfect in their roles.

Other standouts include Antoinette Comer as Jovie, Jason Simon as Santa Claus, Carlita Victoria as Deb, and David Baida as the Macy's manager.

The ensemble performs Rommy Sandhu's ebullient choreography with zest and zeal.

The lighting by Christina Watanabe is stellar, with creative shapes that morph to be reminiscent of aspects of the story. The scenic design by James Kronzer is often impressive, especially the New York cityscape and the Hobbs home, and the costume design by K.L. Alberts is fitting and festive.

At opening night, the sound had recurring issues, but these have surely been ironed out for the remainder of the run.

ELF THE MUSICAL plays through December 18, 2021. For tickets, call the box office at 801-581-6961 or visit

Photo Credit: Max Chernin (Buddy). Photo by BW Productions.