The 2003 holiday film, Elf, gave us three things. The first thing it gave us was a vehicle for the comic genius of Will Farrell. The second thing it gave us was confirmation that the four main food groups are candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup. And the third thing it gave us was fodder for a Broadway musical.
Elf: The Musical debuted on Broadway, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, in November of 2010. As you’d expect from a holiday-themed show, its run was limited—just 15 previews and 57 performances (its last performance was Jan. 2, 2011). The show was revived for the Great White Way in 2012. A touring production was launched in 2012 and two in 2013 (one was equity and one was non-equity). Both tours visited cities in North America. Also in 2012, Elf: The Musical tickets were collected by productions in Seattle and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
There are a few differences between Elf: The Musical and Elf the movie. The most obvious difference is in the musical the characters sing their emotions. Beyond that, the musical is narrated by Santa Claus while the movie is narrated by Papa Elf. Also, there’s a subplot involving Michael (the kid in the movie) and his disbelief in Santa. In the movie, the story started three decades ago. In the musical, it’s just three years.
Matthew Sklar composed the music while Chad Beguelin wrote the lyrics. The book was penned by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan. The original Broadway production was directed by Casey Nicholaw and starred Sebastian Arcelus, Amy Spanger, and Beth Leavel. George Wendt, from the NBC sitcom Cheers, played Santa Claus. During the revival, Santa was played by Wayne Knight of Seinfeld fame. Elf: The Musical plays well to kids but has enough laughs to entertain adults. While Elf doesn’t reinvent the medium, it is something fun for the whole family to do during Christmastime.