BWW Reviews: Lively and Colorful ELF at the Fox Theatre

It's amazing how many Hollywood comedies, cult and otherwise, have been turned into musicals, some successfully, some not so much. Which brings us to Elf, freely adapted from the amusing Will Ferrell vehicle of the same name, but lacking his particular comedic talents. That's not to say there isn't an audience for this show. Packed houses with families in tow seem to be eating up the playful nature of this holiday fare, and it's understandable. I brought my son along and he had a jolly good time as well.

The basics of the original film are there, with Matt Kopec doing his best to tackle Ferrell's role, Buddy, while also trying to make it his own with a kind of manic flair. You see, Buddy was raised by elves, and has been sent out into the real world to find his father, Walter, played with grouchy authority by Michael Alan Smith. Buddy's love interest, the under utilized Kate Hennies (Jovie), has little to do, but displays a fine voice,nonetheless. Other performers of note include: Walter's neglected wife Emily (Jane Bruce) and son Michael (Tyler Altomari), and Clyde Voce as the manager of Christmas Land.

Sam Scalamoni's direction is just paced way too slowly, with a long first act (a mediocre book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin), and an unmemorable score (music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, respectively) leading to a holly jolly second act that hammers on the charm. The cool and colorful scenic design by Christine Peters is certainly worth the trip, as are the vibrant costumes by Gregg Barnes.

Aimed squarely at the younger set, Elf works well as a holiday respite. It continues through December 29, 2013 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.

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From This Author Chris Gibson

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