Just In Time For Christmas, Elf: The Musical Comes To The Wang Theater

Posted November 30, 2017 by Brian Keaney in Theater & Arts
Elf Boston

Santa is coming to Boston, and not just to the shopping malls and Christmas tree lightings. No, Santa is coming to the Wang Theater along with Buddy, Jovie, and the whole crew at Gimbels Department Store. Elf: The Musical, the hit Broadway musical based on Jon Favreau’s classic 2003 Christmas film, is running from December 1st through 10th.

In the show, written for the stage by Thomas Meehan and comedian Bob Martin, Santa unwittingly takes on a stowaway baby one Christmas Eve while out delivering presents. Known as Buddy, the baby grows up believing he is one of Santa’s elves despite towering over all the others.  To his great dismay, once he reaches adulthood Buddy learns that he is actually human. With Santa’s permission, he leaves the North Pole and heads south to the bright lights of New York City to find his true family.

On stage the story is narrated not by Papa Elf, as it is in the film, but by the big guy himself, Santa Claus.  While Buddy’s half-brother Michael doesn’t believe in Santa in either version, a whole new subplot is developed exploring this idea in the live action version.

Several classic scenes from the film, which are admittedly difficult to replicate on stage, are not to be found. So, for example, don’t go looking for Buddy to rescue Michael from a barrage of bullies’ snowballs in Central Park. Buddy’s birth father, Walter, also comes across as more bumbling and forgetful than the greedy, neglectful jerk on Santa’s naughty list in the movie.

As in the film, the stage version has a number of musical numbers from the talented team of Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. There are a total of 18 numbers spread between two acts. As he did in New York, Cheers! alumnus George Wendt (Norm!) will be playing the role of Kris Kringle, and Erik Gratton performs as Buddy. Veronica J. Kuehn was cast as Jovie, and Christopher M. Russo plays Walter. The direction is provided by Sam Scalamoni with choreography by Connor Gallagher.

In all, this is a show the whole family will enjoy. Mark Kennedy from ABC News called the production “a tight, polished, expensive-looking affair that has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects for kids.”

As a special treat, theater goers can meet Santa before every show and have their picture taken with him. Those who purchase VIP tickets will receive seating in the orchestra, a meet-and-greet with Santa before the curtain opens, a complimentary hot chocolate, and a family photograph with Santa. Best of all, the Boch Center, which manages the Wang and Shubert Theaters, will donate $10 from every VIP ticket sale to Globe Santa, a charity run by the Boston Globe to provide presents to children in need.

Those without a VIP ticket will also be able to give. Cheery Globe elves will be collecting donations at all showings of Elf as well as at Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Shubert Theater.