As we near the day when Santa’s sleigh takes off into the night, holiday movies play on repeat. One of the newer films of the genre, Will Ferrell’s Elf, burst onto Broadway as a musical in 2010. With a book by Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Thomas Meehan, music by Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), and lyrics by Chad Beguelin (Aladdin), the musical has followed the film’s seasonal popularity and goes on tour in the U.S. during the winter.
Elf the Musical currently plays Madison Square Garden in New York City through December 29, and a second production will hit Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri, and Knoxville, Tennessee, before 2017 is out. The story of Buddy the Elf, who grew up at the North Pole thinking he is one of Santa’s elves, follows Buddy as he ventures to New York to find his real dad when he learns he’s a human. His elfin roots, unbridled joy, and penchant for sweets make him a fish out of water in the city of hard knocks, but Buddy does his best to infuse his spirit everywhere he goes.
The musical sets Buddy’s story (and joy) to music in songs like “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” and “A Christmas Song.” Here, we look at five moments the writers were sure to include as nods to the fan-favorite film:
1. Buddy’s North Pole Roots
As Buddy the Elf, Will Ferrell plays the human who grew up among Santa’s elves, learning what it means to embody Christmas cheer instead of linguistics and toy construction instead of math. The toy factory is one of the great sets in Elf the Musical. Audiences will fall for the witty and wild elves as they craft gifts in Santa’s workshop during the opening number “Happy All the Time” and more. Between their colorful costumes and energetic dance moves, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of them.
2. The Revolving Door
Escalators, elevators, revolving doors... they’re all new to Buddy. And while it’s a fleeting moment in the movie where Buddy continues circling and circling, trapped in the revolving door, the musical gives a nod to the endearing joke.
3. The Breakfast of Champions
Buddy’s diet basically comes from the creators of Candyland—he subsists on a diet of sugar and, that other child favorite, spaghetti. No one can forget when Ferrell swirled chocolate syrup, maple syrup—all the syrups—sprinkles, and more over a pile of spaghetti for breakfast. The musical uses it as a heartfelt bonding moment between Buddy and the brother he didn’t know he had.
4. Working at Santaland
Like all city elves at Christmas, Buddy finds a job in a department store. In the movie, Buddy develops a crush on his co-worker, Jovie, as they decorate the Santaland display. In the musical, Buddy leads the cast in the explosive showstopper “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” as they decorate the store together.
5. A Sleigh Fueled by Spirit
This is one of the few moments in the movie that already has music. Santa’s sleigh breaks down and crashes in Central Park because there isn’t enough Christmas spirit to fuel his ride. Just as the film version of Buddy leads everyone in singing Christmas carols to get Santa on his way, the musical uses its own tune, “A Christmas Song,” to get the bearded gift-giver off the ground.
For tickets and more information about Elf the Musical, visit ElfTheMusicalTour.com.