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ELF The Musical

From 24 critic and 135 member reviews
Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Delightful, Quirky, Clever

About the show

This holiday musical inspired by the beloved 2003 film returns to the Theater at Madison Square Garden for a seasonal run. More…

In this family-friendly musical comedy, Buddy, a human who was raised as an elf at the North Pole, embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help the town remember the true meaning of Christmas. This year's production of 'Elf the Musical,' features George Wendt, from the long-running television series 'Cheers,' returning to star as Santa Claus, the role he originated in the Broadway production in 2010.

New York Theatre Guide

“One of the main themes of 'Elf' is the importance of bringing the Christmas spirit back to a downtrodden, overworked and gloomy population of Americans that we call typical New Yorkers. Well, it does as exactly what it says on the tin, as they say...The upside - and this really knocked my bell-jingling socks off – is the enormous sound system that amplifies the live 16-piece orchestra...Hearing a Broadway score played out so richly at those increased volumes was quite spectacular.” Full Review


"'Elf the Musical' is your answer to reveling and rediscovering the Christmas spirit for you and your loved ones...Original songs will fill you with the Christmas spirit and have you humming the songs long after the show is over...Gratton's portrayal of the lovable elf captures an innocence and goofiness that is endearing, with the supporting cast rising to the occasion as well...New and old fans of the classic holiday story will enjoy this musical adaptation." Full Review

MD Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Meehan and Martin add their own comedic genius, creating a show that is funny and fun for the entire family. The writers succeed because they understand how to relate to today’s audience...Of course what really sets this show apart from the movie is that this is a musical...Thanks to the funny book, the energetic cast, and the bright and cheery costumes and sets, 'Elf The Musical' is like a tasty sugar cookie with lots of colorful sprinkles on top." Full Review

Our Kids

for a previous production "The pacing can be frantic at times, but kids will enjoy 'Elf the Musical's' peppy, upbeat musical numbers. There is plenty of (funny) adult humor that will probably go over the heads of youngsters under a certain age. My only complaint with the musical is that leaves out one of my favorite scenes from the movie." Full Review


for a previous production "The book culls the best lines from the movie while also smartly managing to distinguish it as its own entity...The actors have the unenviable task of playing to the massive venue, which, in both look and feel, registers as more of an airplane hanger than the ideal spot for mounting musicals. Yet they do it with assurance, delivering unique and charming performances that, like the material itself, aren't carbon copies of their screen predecessors." Full Review

Daily Herald

for a previous production "'Elf the Musical' is a funny fresh, treat for the holidays...The colorful sets and costumes were very visually appealing and the pace and plot of the show progressed very well. It is a unique show, and though you might think it is aimed at children because of the title, logo and look of the show, but I think the satiric humor caters best to teens and adults." Full Review

We Love DC

for a previous production "Being a fan of the film, but not wanting to just see a stage production mirroring the same thing I can see on DVD, I was pleasantly satisfied that 'Elf' was able to keep the integrity of the plot, characters, and humor while, at the same time, giving each of those elements a fresh lift...By combining good music with loveable characters, a fun story, and a ton of holiday spirit, 'Elf' is certainly worthy of becoming an annual family holiday tradition." Full Review

Newcity Stage

for a previous production "A high-octane song-and-dance version of the story of Buddy the Elf that has plenty to keep all ages entertained, from small children to seniors. Lacking the wryness and special effects of the film, this musical version nonetheless boasts a witty book which does develop, update and smooth over plot details that compress the story in a more genre-friendly way for the stage." Full Review

Chicago Now

for a previous production "Although Blum delivers spritely spirit in song and dance, he can’t quite match Ferrell’s dazzling performance...The visual is candy coated cute. This show has strong principals...'Elf the Musical' is a fun way to get in the holiday mood. The elfin magic still charms even sans Ferrell." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

for a previous production "The stage musical version, directed with a high dosage of energy by Sam Scalamoni, has much of the film’s charm and is geared more heavily toward families by playing up the holiday themes and opting for more family friendly humor...The show features a sugary sweet score of holiday-sounding ditties by Tony nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin that start off a bit bland but steadily improve as the show moves along." Full Review


for a previous production "The creative talents behind the show have got some serious musical theatre chops...Their upbeat, oddball and tuneful concoction has a contemporary attitude that's light on the seasonal sentiment, but heavy on the showbiz fun...This production would be better suited for a smaller venue in a city where there's less competition from slicker holiday entertainments." Full Review

Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "Certainly you hope a family show like this one will deliver a transformative experience for young theater-goers. This touring production of the musicalization of the 2003 feature film tries hard to do that, with a colorful, large scale production and a very solid cast – but while it gets off the ground and flies, it never really soars. Not in the way a feel-good family holiday story ought to, and there are many, many role models out there to serve as a guide to accomplish just that." Full Review


for a previous production "It's bright, it's tinkly, it has snow, it has a curmudgeon who gets his heart warmed, it has hustle and bustle, and Santa. In other words, the creators threw in every Christmas trope they could into the two and a half hour running time...They also keep the character development to a minimum, providing types rather than full-blown characters. The short-hand works, if only because of the simplistic nature of the piece - think a Muppet special, but with people." Full Review


for a previous production "If you feel like you didn’t get enough Christmas, you need not look any further than this high-energy show that’s running through early January. It’s so full of holiday cheer, it’s coming out its elven ears... A couple jokes seem to fall flat, barely eliciting a chuckle...But there more than plenty to laugh about...'Elf The Musical' is certainly a holiday treat. It just needs to cut back on the sugar." Full Review

Showbiz Chicago

for a previous production "Thankfully, the material is strong enough to stand on its own as a musical without its associated lead touring the country...Director Sam Scalamoni strikes a nice balance between the fantasy of the piece and the reality of a family being slowly ripped apart. Choreographer Connor Gallagher creates some clever original dances for the height challenged elf’s as well a beautiful ice skating sequence." Full Review

Chicago Splash

for a previous production "What I do wish was that this musical possessed just a little more silly. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good laughs here. But too much of the play feels like a reshaping of a comedy into a musical...'Elf' is recommended for families this Christmas season. I am not sure couples without kids will enjoy this as much, but if you are looking for a family friendly musical this is the one to go to." Full Review

Chicago Tribune

for a previous production "'Elf' is not reinventing the form of the Broadway musical, nor does it have the earthy charm of 'A Christmas Story'...This is not a show that will return you and your brood to a purer holiday era...But if you're looking for a big, glitzy, feel-good downtown show that is a good time, requires no cognitive investment whatsoever, has quite a few decent tunes and comes replete with broad appeal for everyone from 6-year-olds to seniors, 'Elf' likely will exceed your expectations too." Full Review

Daily Journal

for a previous production "This is not a perfect translation to stage of the sweet and charming movie that became a holiday classic...You do smile — even as you tamp down the feeling that this movie-to-stage musical was a blatant commercial attempt to cash in on the popularity of Ferrell's wildly popular performance...Still, this is a talented cast." Full Review

Time Out Chicago

for a previous production "The musical mostly avoids disappointment, travelling in the range between benign and fairly charming...Where Ferrell was all deadpan innocence and incredulousness as Buddy, Blum's characterization is more Chris Kattan: He's the Spirit of Christmas Spazzy...The show as a whole doesn't creep far above nice, really, but that's far preferable to naughty." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "'Elf The Musical' isn’t likely to become a Christmas tradition for everyone. The musical numbers are polished and pretty, but not particularly memorable... Buddy’s infectious spirit at the front of the show turns grating as his romp across New York carries on...All told, 'Elf The Musical' is a great piece of theater to share with the little ones around Christmas. But, if you have a touch of the Grinch already, you may want to steel yourself with an eggnog or two before coming out." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "'Elf' seemed a little lost onstage, its sets flimsy, its good cheer not quite infectious. In Eric Petersen, it can claim a particularly spirited and winning Buddy…There is generally fine work from everyone else, even the elf chorus, whose members must perform several numbers on their knees...The children in the audience seemed most delighted by a number that climaxed in confetti cannonry." Full Review

Around The Town Chicago

for a previous production "The stage version, that is now on the stage at The Cadillac Palace Theatre, as part of the Broadway In Chicago season, is a festive and cute holiday entertainment, and although the star, Will Blum is very close to Ferrell, the musical version falls a little flat... I found this show to appear as one might see in a Community Theater. Our local Community Theater would never touch this show, but if they did, it would far surpass what is on the stage at The Cadillac Palace." Full Review


for a previous production "Will Blum is an energetic and capable performer, so it’s hard to put a finger on exactly why he’s a poor fit for the title character of 'Elf the Musical.' The chief issue: Instead of emphasizing the innocent, childlike nature of a 28-year-old who thinks Santa is real, Blum occasionally inches towards the creepy...'Elf’s' frequently two-dimensional, gaudy sets from Christine Peters lend an amateur feel to some of the show’s scenes." Full Review

The Washington Post

for a previous production "Director Sam Scalamoni’s production, with a lot of flat scenery by Christine Peters, is visually chintzy in its renderings of North Pole workshops and Manhattan skylines. It’s hard to describe the performances when the enterprise is so cartoonish; the actors all seem capable, yet they rarely get an opportunity to display much personal appeal...The show might not want to be anything more than a big silly toy, but it doesn’t spin. It’s wound too tight." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Hilarious, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if truly a show for everyone very funny and light hearted , great cast and clever writing

Don't see it if you dont like elf the movie or hate Christmas

Entertaining, Dated, Funny, Quirky

See it if you still believe in Christmas and you are sad because people are loosing their Christmas spirit.

Don't see it if your attitude is like a Grinch and you criticize most of their blockings rather than enjoy the spirit of the show

Delightful, Funny, Great singing

See it if You’re looking for a family-friendly holiday show.

Don't see it if you don’t like Elf the movie, since they are very similar.

Entertaining, Funny, Fluffy, Quirky

See it if You are into spreading Christmas Cheer by singing loud for all to hear.AND.... if you want to see George Wendt play Santa! He was GREAT!!!!

Don't see it if You expect it to be exactly like the film.

Funny, Great staging, Delightful

See it if Elf was a funny story which made you feel like a kid again

Don't see it if You don't like Christmas stories

Delightful, Funny, Great staging, Refreshing, Entertaining

See it if You like light Christmas feel good stories

Don't see it if You didn’t like the movie, You are looking for spectacular music, or you are not into Christmas stories

Funny, Enchanting, Entertaining, Cliched, Dated

See it if you like good music, dancing & fun holiday musicals

Don't see it if you want something to think about or hum later

Quirky, Fluffy, Funny

See it if You have kids and want to get the Christmas spirit

Don't see it if If you think it will be like the movie.

Enchanting, Entertaining, Fluffy, Quirky, Delightful

See it if You enjoy the movie elf and silly holiday shows. Great for kids!

Don't see it if If you aren’t a fan of movies turned musicals.

Cliched, Fluffy, Great singing

See it if You are a fan of the story or enjoy Christmas themes with traditional characters and childish humor.

Don't see it if You prefer more original productions with less childish themes and interesting characters.

Quirky, Overrated, Cliched, Delightful

See it if You love the movie

Don't see it if They shouldn't made this into stage it's one for the kids

Enchanting, Must see, Hilarious, Funny, Delightful

See it if You love elf the movie- love the holidays... believe in Santa!

Don't see it if You’re a grinch!

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great staging, Refreshing

See it if you just want to have fun! And you will... thoroughly enjoyed myself. Makes you see Christmas and life through a Big kid's eyes.

Don't see it if you'd rather be miserable. Then you should stay home.

Hilarious, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you are in the mood for great lighthearted entertainment

Don't see it if you are looking for something though provoking

Entertaining, Great singing, Christmassy underwhelming

See it if You have never seen the movie

Don't see it if You love set designs

Clever, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You want a funny holiday show and enjoy some great music. The original songs to this show wete great.

Don't see it if You’re expected Will Ferrell type delivery. Could have used less random curse words though... we brought kids.

Ambitious, Funny

See it if You want a light, funny Christmas show

Don't see it if You are expecting Will Ferrell

Delightful, Enchanting, Funny

See it if You need something family friendly

Don't see it if You want a serious production

Cliched, Disappointing, Great singing, Slow, Overrated

See it if If you want to see Elf the movie live, go see this show. It’s pretty much the same, but without the will farrell charm.

Don't see it if If you want to have an enjoyable evening.

Disappointing, Fluffy

See it if Probably okay for children. See it if you like unmemorable, cheap songs.

Don't see it if You are a purest of the elf movie. Plenty of jokes and plot points are changed and the writing isn’t as good.

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if .

Don't see it if .

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Must see, Hilarious

See it if you are in for a classic!

Don't see it if you've seen it before

For a previous production
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Hilarious

See it if You want to have a light-hearted time

Don't see it if You want to see something more weighty

For a previous production
Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Exquisite, Funny

See it if you want to get the Christmas spirit quickly with the help of this musical. And if you're interested in the story of one-legged Palko:)))

Don't see it if you had enough of this story because you've seen the film a hundred times.

For a previous production
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You love glitz and sparkle! It has the same charm as the movie, but with a Broadway twist!

Don't see it if You don't like Christmas.

Cast & Creatives (36)