“A SPLASHY, PEPPY, SUGAR-SPRINKLED HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT!
The score is polished and hummable. Chad Beguelin’s lyrics have a bright comic zest and are well-matched to Matthew Sklar’s gently swinging music. Their boogie-woogie ‘Nobody Cares About Santa’ is a rowdy parody of the rival Rockettes show at Radio City.
Bookwriters Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan follow the film’s screenplay but also stuff it with some decent jokes, boosting the fruitcake with extra nuts.”
—Charles Isherwood, The New York Times
“A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! ELF IS A ZIPPY, FUNNY AND BONA FIDE TREAT!
A cross between ‘The Book of Mormon’ star Josh Gad and Jonah Hill, Jordan Gelber is a whirlwind of infectious joy as Buddy the Elf. He delivers wicked line readings and he’s no slouch when it comes to physical comedy, either. Director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw (‘The Book of Mormon’) had the good sense to keep the best performers from the first incarnation and to find excellent replacements for others. Leslie Kritzer is her usual sharp self as Jovie. As the big man himself, Wayne Knight has the same manic undertones he brought to Newman in ‘Seinfeld.’”
—Elizabeth Vincintelli, New York Post
“BRIGHTEN YOUR HOLIDAY SEASON WITH ONE OF THE BEST HOLIDAY TRADITIONS!
Jordan Gelber creates a softer, more childlike Buddy at the center of the show, while Leslie Kritzer is more pensive and understated as love interest Jovie. There’s a wonderful supporting cast, including the perfectly cast returning players Mark Jacoby and Beth Leavel. Valerie Wright’s beaming smile as a secretary puts you immediately in the holiday spirit. Newcomer Mitchell Sink possesses a downright shocking voice for an adolescent — ‘voice of an angel’ would not be an overstatement. ‘The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,’ says Buddy repeatedly in the show. Mission (still) accomplished!”
—Elizabeth Vincintelli, New York Post
“SLICK, SPLASHY AND SPECTACULAR! JUST THE THING FOR ANY CHRISTMAS LIST—KID OR GROWN UP!
ELF the musical is back with the same charm, the same stellar creative team, and all the joy we've come to expect from the industrious toy-maker in green tights. And it doesn't have the feel of a show that was plucked from the screen and retrofitted for the stage. Rather it plays like a faithful but fresh revival of a golden-age Broadway musical, with its artfully towering sets, large company and lush arrangements of polished, traditionally jazzy songs. Directed by ‘The Book of Mormon’s Casey Nicholaw, this production is a stocking-stuffing array of eye candy, fluid motion and vibrant color.
Jordan Gelber spreads a wealth of good cheer with arresting appeal as the always-grinning, irresistibly likable Buddy. Those expecting to laugh as much as they did at the movie won’t be disappointed. As Buddy’s 12-year-old brother, Mitchell Sink is an impressive star-on-the-rise and Leslie Kritzer, as Buddy’s love interest Jovie, reveals her stunning voice on a catchy swing tune under an enchanted elm tree. There’s no telling when we’ll see Buddy again in New York, but one can only hope it’s the beginning of a holiday tradition.”
—Peter Santilli, Associated Press
“A TERRIFIC JINGLY-JOLLY MUSICAL COMEDY!
Set more or less in the present, this tasty holiday musical recalls light-hearted 1960s Broadway shows in style, looks and tunes. The amusing script by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin is brightened by a thoroughly jaunty score from composer Matthew Sklar and lyricist Chad Beguelin and David Rockwell’s snazzy settings. These ultra-professional elements are expertly marshaled by director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw, who assembles an excellent company to make the most of it all. With his shiny face and roly-poly form suiting, Jordan Gelber makes an adorable and ingenious Buddy.
ELF remains tasty holiday entertainment, served with high spirits to family audiences — as well as to Broadway regulars who will appreciate the terrific musical comedy expertise displayed by the show’s makers and performers. Cheers to you all!”
—Michael Sommers, New Jersey Newsroom
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw and his game, nimble cast allow us to enjoy the ride.”
—Elysa Gardner, USA Today
“ELF IS HAPPY ENOUGH FOR FAMILIES, SAVVY ENOUGH FOR CITY KIDS AND PLENTY SMART FOR ADULTS!
Casey Nicholaw’s staging successfully retains the many charms of the movie, and his choreography is filled with delightful touches. The creators have taken a highly enjoyable film and enhanced it for theatre audiences.”
—Steven Suskin, Variety
“WHO NEEDS WILL FERRELL?
ELF, the musical, stands on its own with great sets and design, a funny adapted script, and a top-notch behind-the-scenes creative team featuring songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and a book by Tony® winners Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin. They’re only the top of a talented group that also includes David Rockwell’s set designs and Gregg Barnes costumes. The production is a tight, polished affair that has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects for the kids.”
—Mark Kennedy, Associated Press
“Even the biggest Cotton-Headed-Ninny-Muggins will leave the theatre with
A WARM FESTIVE GLOW!
Offering a stockingful of pleasantly melodic tunes, some humorous modern flourishes and a sugarplummy supporting cast, ELF is a sleigh-length ahead of recent seasonal fare on Broadway.”
—Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly
“JOLLY HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT, DECKED OUT WITH A BUNCH OF CROWD-ROUSING SONGS!
Neatly scripted by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, the musical briskly skates along upon a bright, jingly score. While the story is contemporary, its merry treatment and jaunty music recall 1960s Broadway shows done in the style of Jule Styne or Charles Strouse.
A handsome succession of clever sets designed by David Rockwell and many colorful costumes by Gregg Barnes foster the impression further that ELF is fashioned as a throwback to yesteryear Broadway. The result is a comfortably retro entertainment given much vivacity by a crackerjack company under the expert guidance of director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw.
Among the featured players, seasoned pros light up the musical like ornaments on a holiday tree. Craggy Mark Jacoby smoothly depicts the grumpy dad. His neglected wife and son are spiritedly portrayed by ever-dynamic Beth Leavel and Matthew Gumley, a capable youngster. Amy Spanger is all cinnamon and spice as the sadder-but-wiser girl Jovie, who warms to Buddy’s ingenuous presence. Backstopping them ably, a dozen ensemble members comprise a lively array of elves, Macy’s staffers, corporate workers and sundry New Yorkers.
—Michael Sommers, NewJerseyNewsroom.com