Buddy the Elf spreads joy at Erie Playhouse

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” That is exactly what is happening this holiday season at the Erie Playhouse as it presents “Elf the Musical,” a Broadway show based on the book by Tony Award winners Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan.

The plot follows loveable Buddy the Elf, an orphan who finds his way to the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop.

After many years of his life, he comes to the realization he is a regular human being — not an elf — and starts on his adventure to New York City to search for his biological father.

Michael Hipwell stars as Buddy at The Erie Playhouse.

“It’s very similar to the Will Ferrell movie version, so a majority of adults and teens will be familiar with it,” Hipwell said.

When Buddy arrives in New York City, he finds that some of the holiday traditions and facts about holiday cheer that he believed to be true have been long forgotten by the people he cares most about. His father, Walter, as well as his new friend Jovie have become very cynical about the holiday spirit and power of Christmas magic. Yet, Buddy becomes determined to spread the Christmas spirit to the people of New York.

“[Buddy] goes through so much in this show, but the whole time he stays positive and still tries to make everyone happy and cheerful,” Hipwell said.

The positivity and cheer carry over to many energetic and uplifting songs. Jessie Montanye portrays Jovie, Buddy`s cynical yet relatable friend.

“There’s a little bit of something for everyone because there are different types of music, from traditional sounding Christmas music to choral-type music, to jazz-inspired music,” Montanye said.

The excitement and festivity of “Elf” is shown by the opening number “Christmastown” and “Nobody Cares about Santa Claus.”

“[These songs] really captures how much has changed in our modern world, along with great choreography and being a really fun piece of music,” Montanye said.

The modern music and theme make the show unlike any traditional holiday musical or movie.

It  shows how far our world has really gotten from the real meaning of the holiday season, with Thanksgiving being more about Black Friday than spending time at dinner with those we love and Christmas being more about the boxes under the tree than the warmth in our hearts.

In the show, Jovie reveals the change our world must make.

“[Jovie] allows herself to be open to Buddy in spite of her history of disappointment and cynicism, and it ends up changing her entire view on the holidays, love and life,” Montanye said. “Jovie takes a big risk, and it pays off for her.”

Audiences can experience this holiday spirit at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The show continues Dec. 11-14, 17-21, 27-28 and Jan. 2-4, 2015, at the Erie Playhouse.

Perhaps you also may be changed by Buddy`s positivity and light.

 

 

ALIZABETH LENG

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