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'Elf: the Musical'

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Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), left, is eager to helphisfather, Walter (Mark Epperson), center, pitch a Christmas story to his boss, Mr. Greenway (Jonathan Fluck).
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After confirming to Buddy (Dan BobHiggins), left, that he’s human, Santa gives him a snow globe to showhimwhat the Empire State Building, where his father works, looks like.

Play Review by John J. Guglielmi

Thanksgiving is a memory and November faded fast. But Beef and Boards was dressed for Christmas with sparkling trees and holiday decorations.

Santa (Doug Starks) appears onstage and starts to tell the story of Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins) the Elf.

As a small child, Buddy crawled into Santa’s bag of toys when he was delivering presents one Christmas. The child was not discovered until Santa returned to the North Pole. With no way to back track where he came from, Santa’s elves offered to raise the child.

The elves named him Buddy. Buddy grew up always happy and he loved to sing. But he was not very good at making toys.

Colorful elves joined Buddy in “Happy all the Time,” describing how Buddy has happy ears, happy knees, happy eyes and all other body parts. Santa then revealed to Buddy that he is really human and not an elf.

He is flabbergasted and blurts out, “You mean just like Annie?”

Buddy starts to sing “The Sun Will Come up Tomorrow.” Santa tells Buddy that he needs to go to New York City and find his real father Walter Hobbs.

Dan Bob Higgins plays Elf with an outlandish flair that is captivating and funny. Buddy is tall, gangly, very loud and encapsulates a childish joy and wonder that is very endearing.

So off to New York City Buddy goes and eventually meets his father, Walter Hobbs (Mark Epperson) at his publishing company. Hobbs is on a very tight deadline and is in no mood to be confronted by an Elf who claims to be his son. He has security take Buddy away.

Buddy the Elf somehow ends up in Macy’s Department Store where they are decorating for Christmas. Well Buddy knows exactly how things are supposed to be and he and the store manager (Kenney M. Green) disagree. But they resolve their issues with the singing of “Sparklejollytwinklejingley.” But Buddy the Elf reaches his limit when the store Santa shows up and Buddy is kicked out of the store.

Buddy tracks down his father’s address and shows up to the astonishment of Mrs. Hobbs (Heather Patterson King) and her son Michael (Aiden Schurr). Walter comes home and wants Buddy out by the next day.

Fast forward. Mrs. Hobbs proves that Buddy the Elf is indeed Walter’s son by a girlfriend from his college days. Walter knew nothing of this and accepts Buddy into his family. Walter takes Buddy to his publishing company and there he learns how to make snow with a shredder and meets an attractive employee named Jovie (Emily Grace Tucker).

Buddy falls hard for Jovie. There is a crisis at the publishing company and Buddy comes up with an idea for a Christmas children’s book.

But things don’t go down as expected and Walter quits the company.

A room full of depressed Santa’s, something you don’t see often, sang about their funk with, “Nobody Cares about Santa.” Funny scene.

There are a few more plot twists and turns and a delightful ending to this joyful musical. Dan Bob Higgins is a standout with his happily demented portrayal of Buddy. Emily Grace Tucker as Jovie, blew the audience away with her rendition of “Never Fall in Love with an Elf.”

“Elf” is a wonderful pick me up for this Christmas season. The children in the audience, and there were many, giggled and laughed. The costumes were colorful and bright. And the story was uplifting. So put on your Santa hat and elf shoes and head to Beef and Boards to enjoy an evening of fun.

“Elf the Musical” plays at Beef and Boards from now through Dec. 31.

For reservations and information call 317-872-9664 or email beefandboards.com