Youngstown Playhouse Presents Fresh, Heartwarming ‘Elf’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Like the movie on which it is based, “Elf, the Musical” is an instant classic.

The story of one of Santa’s elves who goes on a journey of self-discovery, it’s a heartwarming tale that is familiar but fresh, and very family-friendly. The Youngstown Playhouse will bring the musical to its stage for six performances Dec. 3-12.

Anyone who has seen the 2003 movie starring Will Ferrell – and that’s just about everyone – knows the plot. Buddy, a human who was raised as one of Santa’s elves, heads to New York to learn his true identity. 

A true believer in a cynical world, the child-like Buddy struggles but wins out in the end.

Nathan Beagle, who is directing the Playhouse production, calls “Elf, the Musical” a heartwarming story. 

“It has lots of elements of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and other stories that we are familiar with,” he says.

Buddy’s father, Walter, is a variation on Ebenezer Scrooge, consumed with his work. Buddy, on the other hand, is “the embodiment of Christmas,” Beagle says. “He ends up bringing people together.”

The veteran cast is led by James Major Burns who plays Buddy. Terry Shears plays Walter and Emelia Sherin plays Jovie.

The cast also includes Mikey Zocalli (Dec. 3, 5 and 11), James Matig (Dec. 4, 10, 12), Ashley Milligan Smith, David Waldman, Denise Sciulli, Eric Chevlen and Wayne Bonner III.

The script closely follows the movie, and the music will also ring a bell with audiences.

“There are musical numbers that sound very similar to the Christmas classics that you may have heard before,” Beagle says. “It’s fun, and a lot of the lyrics are catchy.”

Instead of relying on traditional sets, the Playhouse production uses images projected on the stage’s rear wall to set the scene.

“There are street scenes, with a projection of the Empire State Building,” Beagle says. “If we’re inside the skyscraper, we see what’s outside.”

Theater is turning cinematic, the director says, and the use of projection is part of the trend. The Playhouse’s “Elf, the Musical” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11; and at 2;30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 12.

For tickets, call 330 788 8739 or go to YoungstownPlayhouse.org.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.