Review: "Elf, The Musical" at Altria Theatre: Friday, Dec. 9

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"Elf, The Musical" runs this weekend at Altria Theatre with matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday.
  • "Elf, The Musical" runs this weekend at Altria Theatre with matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Running time:

Two and half hours with a 20-minute break. If Friday’s large crowd is any indication of the popularity for this weekend run, you should plan on arriving at least 30 minutes or more before showtime.

What’s different?

There are a few minor, mostly cosmetic changes to the storyline. But Buddy the Elf’s character, played with gusto by Spenser Micetich, remains roughly the same innocent child, without Will Ferrell’s superior comic timing. You’ll recognize some dialogue from the film between the big, splashy musical numbers, but there’s little subtleness; the film’s more adult elements are left on the cutting room floor. The musical takes the giddy, family-friendly elements of the film and blows them up like balloon.

Standout performances?

Most of the actors did a fair to solid job with the fast-moving musical. But as far as voices go, Wyatt Rogers who played Buddy’s young stepbrother, Michael, seemed to have the most exhilarating pipes.

What about the songs?

Some are more memorable than others. The orchestral score can swing on certain numbers, but many felt formulaic. There isn’t a lot of nuance here. It’s big, simple hooks built around key moments from the film, plus a few new scenes that I won’t ruin by describing here. Any surprises will be valued.

Bottomline:

This is pretty light fun for the entire family and some of the colorful, snowflake-laden sets are impressive. It’s definitely the kind of hyper, cartoonish, occasionally laugh-out-loud musical fare that will put some of the audience in the holiday mood (even if the plot is more ridiculous than the movie version).

Really, this one felt all about the costumes, sets and splashy dance choreography, more than anything else. Especially when you know what’s coming, for the most part.

Showtimes: “Elf, the Musical” has two more showings at Altria, Saturday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. And Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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