Elf the Musical, presented Dec. 16-21 at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, is a perky romp with a heartfelt message of joy to the world and songs that stay with you the next day — “Just sing a Christmas song and keep on singing all season long…”
The musical’s storyline — which finds an orphan boy turned man in pursuit of his true identity — is simple but not simple-minded, and the wacky-wise characterization of Buddy Elf by Daniel Patrick Smith brings to mind the charismatic Danny Kaye. His Elf glides through serious business with a wink and a nod.
- Doug Blemker
- Daniel Patrick Smith's Buddy Elf in excellent tights.
Mark Fishback’s adroit Santa sets the pace in his domain at the North Pole. He’s up-to-date about sports and general matters in Indianapolis — and we smile at the inside joke, since Fishback is one of our own, having honed his character acting skills on stages all around our city.
Daryn Harrell is a standout as Jovie, the immediate love interest of Buddy. She delivers “Never Fall in Love [with an Elf]” with New Yorker heartrending savvy. "You made it snow," she tells Buddy, and so she opts for the long haul of life with a person whose over-the-top exuberance annoys just about everyone else.
- Doug Blemker
- The Indianapolis run of Elf the Musical closes Dec. 21.
The entire cast gives an edge to what easily could be an ho-hum story with stock characters. With a whiff of Wizard of Oz, we learn what really powers Santa’s jet-set deliveries on Christmas Eve. The Elves could double for Munchkins.
There’s a comfortable connection with the original film by David Berrenbaum, but if you missed it, no worries; the musical sashays on its own with an upbeat live orchestra, funky costumes and suggestive sets.