We normally hear about Broadway productions turned into movies but Broadway in Chicago took a different approach and turned Elf the 2003 movie into a musical.
Though the movie was made in our decad, throughout the production there were many pop culture references that weren't present in the original. This added the elements of time period and actor to audience relation. It made an impact on how over time things keep changing.
At times, the actors appeared to be talking to us and santa was the narrator reading a story to the audience. They used the fourth wall in some parts of the show and not others. With slight audience engagement, it was quite teasing.
They spoke to us like we were part of the scene but didn't involve us in it any more. In one of the last scenes Buddy (Will Blum) said "I wish I had a lot of people to…." and said it towards us. He was referring to all of New York to sing a song in order for Christmas spirit to fly Santa's sleigh. At this point it seemed like he was going to conduct us to sing a Christmas tune.
With adding in musical numbers, they did a terrific job in having each number tell the story better than just speaking the part. They included different types of songs, which was noticed in a good way. Adding elements of diversion is always different. It was interesting that there were no typical Christmas songs; all the numbers were originals.
With the addition of music, there were also additions and subtractions of scenes. They did a fluid job conjoining certain scenes from the movie into one scene on stage. Though in the musical aspect it was all original, since it is a rendition of another screen play, there were exact lines quoted. Elf was even casted with similar traits as the original.
There were three sets of curtains which made for smooth transitions between scenes. Having one layer come down made for set change behind it quick and not noticeable. With one curtain was see through when light was behind it which added dimension to certain scenes. The others were dimensional through the 3d paintings on the one dimensional set design.
The dance numbers were choreographed well. The pace and movements made for the appearance of work in the shop, walks on the streets and so forth. It was clever of them to have the elves dance on their knees to make them appear elf like. They even had elf shoe knee pads.
Another way they used costume was how they made the main characters stand out. Although Jovie (Lindsay Nicole Chambers) was just another elf in Macy's, she was wearing different colored tights and different brand of shoe than the others. The extras wore neutrals while the Hobbs family wore patterns.
Elf was already an original as a screenplay. It was a classic tradition to watch during the season. As if it couldn't get any better, the addition of music made for a more jolly show. Broadway does it again with making many peoples evenings.
This page contains a single entry by Mark Harvey published on November 28, 2013 11:04 AM.
The Lion King - The Minskoff Theatre, New York City, NY was the previous entry in this blog.
Born Yesterday - The Guthrie Theater is the next entry in this blog.
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