Elf The Musical Review

Elf The Musical Review

Book by: Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin | Music by: Matthew Sklar | Lyrics by: Chad Beguelin
Directed by Mark Mullino
| Music Directed by Vonda K. Bowling | Choreography by: Kelly McCain
Scenic Design by: Wendy Searcy-Woode | Costume Design by: Dayna Dutton

Presented by: Firehouse Theatre
Sound at Cypress Waters, Coppell
3111 Olympus Blvd
Now through Sunday, December 12
www.thefirehousetheatre.com

My thoughts on…
Elf the Musical, or Meet Your New Best Buddy.

If you enjoy the 2003 film Elf as much as I do, you have probably avoided the musical version. Why tamper with a beloved modern Christmas classic? I asked myself that question as I sat waiting for the performance to begin at the beautiful outdoor theater at The Sound at Cypress Waters in Coppell. However, all my doubts were erased the moment Santa, played with “Ho Ho Ho” heart by Josh Hepola, came out to welcome us, and all those high stepping elves filled the stage to sing “Happy All The Time.” That’s an appropriately named opening number because happy all the time is what you are going to be at Elf The Musical.

Elf The Musical is filled with wonderful tunes and endlessly clever lyrics to keep the adults in the audience as entertained as the kids. For example, when Santa, frustrated with the constant happiness of the elves, sings, “When they sing until they’re bluish, Santa wishes he were Jewish.” In Act II, Jovie, Buddy the Elf’s love interest, played with endearing charm and a lovely voice by Presley Duyck, laments, “His endless talk of Christmastown will test your every nerve. Still, he’s kinda cute, I guess. Well, if you grade on a curve.”

The Firehouse has assembled the dream team to lead this production. Anyone who attends musical theater in DFW knows that Director Mark Mullino, Music Director Vonda K. Bowling, and Choreographer Kelly McCain are among the best in the business, and having any one of them on your team would be a coup. So, this trifecta is phenomenal, acting, singing, and dancing— And, when you add the genius scenic designer Wendy Searcy-Woode, who has created a perfect Christmas card set, to the team, you are going to be wowed by the foursome’s creativity.

This Christmas stocking of a cast delivers never-ending goodies. There’s not a lump of coal in sight. As Buddy’s human father Walter Hobbs, Sinclair Freeman has a strong stage presence and one of those rich, warm voices that made me wish he had more to sing. Myiesha J. Duff is a first-rate singer and actor, as Walter Hobbs’s wife, Emily. Her duet “There Is A Santa Claus” with Camden Duyck, the compact bundle of talent who plays the Hobbs’ son Michael, is an excellent highlight of the show. Scott Hickman is an appropriately gruff and grim Mr. Greenway, the man who hasn’t celebrated Christmas in decades. Stacia Goad-Malone as Deb, an assistant to Mr. Hobbs, is an accomplished actor/singer/dancer who can come close to stealing a scene just sitting still. The woman sitting next to me said, “She’s really good.” If you change that good to great, I will agree. I am so glad Santa pulled Tiana Shuntae Alexander out of his bag to play the store manager. She’s a powerhouse singer with a thrilling voice and presence to fill a few stages and projects enough warmth to start your fireplace. The ensemble includes Claire Greenberg, Sydney Hamil, Spencer Laboda, Julia Light, Hayden Lopez, Nick Moore, Ashley Ryan Mullings, Jonathan Oefelein, Dayan Rodriguez, Seamus Slaughter, and Kelsey Jordan Ward. These talented, hardworking elves, resplendent in Costume Designer Dayna Dutton’s festive holiday togs, dance, and sing almost constantly, bringing joy to the world. As Buddy, the Elf, Ryan Michael Friedman, carries the show with his stage charisma, fine voice, and perfect comic timing and delivery. His Buddy is reminiscent of Tom Hanks in Big, slightly gawky and awkward, yet lovable. He is the dazzling star atop the tree.

Elf The Musical is a fun, tuneful, heartwarming holiday show for the entire family. Get your tickets now, so I don’t have to put you on the Naughty List. I guarantee “Yule” enjoy every minute.

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