NY1 Theater Review: "Elf"
The film to stage transfer of "Elf" has returned to Broadway for the 2012 holiday season. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
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If your taste for holiday fare skews contemporary, "Elf" is your man, er human, er whatever. Based on the Will Ferrell movie, the musical picks up on the good humored story with a slightly sardonic edge and after two years it returns to Broadway with a new opening number and some new faces: Improvements for the most part that make "Elf" worth adding again to your theatergoing wish list.
Buddy is a human who ended up being raised as an elf on the North Pole after crawling into Santa’s bag one Christmas morning and decides to find his father in Manhattan. Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin's book packed with cultural references exploits the humor surrounding this utter innocent in big, bad New York City. It’s framed by narrative sequences from Santa, now played by Wayne Knight adding a sharper edge to the jolly old guy.
Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin’s music has some of the year’s catchiest tunes and their down and out "Nobody Cares About Santa" remains a highlight.
The iconic New York landmarks are delightfully rendered by David Rockwell.
And "Elf", caps off to Mitchell Sink as buddy’s half brother, a young man with mature talent.
As the father and stepmother, Mark Jacoby and Beth Leavel reprise their stock roles with unexpected nuance.
A roly poly Jordan Gelber goes a little over-the-top with his simpleton antics but his weird romance with Leslie Kritzer’s understated Jovie pulls him back enough to eventually win us over. And Kritzer is a stand-out.
Under Casey Nicholaw’s lively direction, "Elf" is a tall glass of eggnog spiked with a much needed New York state of mind.