Sunday, December 2

Theater Review: Beef and Boards: ELF the Musical

Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre continues on the path toward reinventing itself by switching its typical variety-style holiday production with a modern holiday classic: ELF the Musical.

The musical (and well known film, ELF (2003), starring Will Ferrell, Bob Newhart and Zooey Deschanel), retraces the life of an orphan human named Buddy, portrayed brilliantly by Dan Bob Higgins, who is raised by elves at the North Pole.

Walter Hobbs, Buddy's birth father, is given top-notch treatment as an insensitive and stressed out corporate executive by Mark Epperson.

Bringing an (at first) subdued-but-increasing exuberance match to the holiday-happy personality of Higgins' Buddy, is Lanene Charters as Hobb's personal secretary Deb. She and the elf are kindred spirits and Charters shines as Buddy allows her to show Christmas spirit once again. Jonathan Fluck is spectacular in his explosive, and too short, appearances as Hobbs' angry boss Mr. Greenway.

Love interest Jovie, a young woman who has stopped believing in anything happy or Christmas-y, is played by Emily Grace Tucker. Tucker knocks it out of the ballpark with her solo, "Never Fall in Love."

A few differences from film to stage include Santa (Doug  E. Stark), rather than the top elf, shares Buddy's tale. Also ... there isn't an angry elf racing across the boardroom table to throttle Buddy. Disappointing certainly, however Peter Dinklage is committed elsewhere these days (Game of Thrones, anyone?).

This zany and delightful production runs through December 31 at the north-side venue. However, if you plan on getting a table, buy tickets immediately. At last check there are verrrry few tickets left.

There's definitely a transformation this season at B&B. New talent, new shows and a new direction aimed at retaining its core audience while attracting the younger demographic. 
Check out the 2019 season lineup by clicking here.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards' Elf: The Musical is the perfect family show to capture the holiday spirit. Don't miss it.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a fine-living, travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, performing arts, wine and restaurant critic. She also is a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.