By Bob Evans
If you and your family missed “The Happy Elf” this year at The Theatre in the Park’s Indoor venue on Metcalf, fear not. The family-friendly musical by Harry Connick, Jr. will return again next year for an encore run at the former King Louie Ice Chateau/bowling alley along Metcalf’.
“A new musical comedy by the Grammy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist, Harry Connick, Jr.’s ‘The Happy Elf’ tells the tale of Eubie the Elf, a lovable fellow who wants to spread Christmas joy throughout the town of Bluesville,” a spokesman for TTIP Indoors said. “Hoping to introduce a new generation of children to the joys of jazz, Connick has crafted a musical landscape against which Eubie’s story unfolds.”
Eubie, the happiest elf in Santa’s workshop just can’t behave or tone down his Christmas spirit, even though it’s Christmas Eve and the North Pole is overwhelmed to get all the toys done, wrapped, and loaded into Santa’s sleigh for his annual ride to deliver this year’s Christmas presents around the world. Eubie, just seems too effervescent for his own good. And, his cheerfulness gets him in trouble.
As a special bonus this year, Santa wants a trio of elves to join him on his delivery trek. Of course, Eubie wants to be on the “sleigh team.” The problem, though, Norbert, the mean-spirited workshop foreman, wants to be leader of that sleigh team. Their conflict only complicates things for Eubie.
Eubie, of course, finds himself in trouble and re-assigned to the “Naughty and Nice” room where he needs to separate the recipients into two groups… But, wait. All the children in Bluestown are on the naughty list an need Eubie to change their fortunes in one 24-hour period.
With his elf friends and elf magic, Eubie finds his project bigger than even he expected, but teamwork and Christmas spirit can cure many ills. Count on Christmas to come and for hearts to be changed. Every Christmas story must resolve impossible obstacles, and so does “The Happy Elf.” What a great family tradition to begin for young families.
But, it’s not just the Christmas musical that shines in this holiday tale. Expect good, solid performances from the actors who deliver this charming story. A combination of adult and youthful actors unite to bring this story to life.
Good performances come from Eubie, Hamm and Gilda. But, this reviewer found the villainous Norbert to be the most fun character in the show….he’s really naughty. The music is fun throughout and the story is fun and family friendly. Probably the most outstanding aspects of the show is the choreography of Guy Gardner and the costumes of Georgianna Buchanan.
The Happy Elf follows Eubie, the happiest elf at the North Pole. More than anything else, Eubie longs to be a part of Santa’s sleigh team. Instead, he’s stuck checking the naughty-or-nice lists. Then, one Christmas Eve, he sees something strange: in the whole town of Bluesville, not a single person has been nice. With a pinch of elfish magic and a magical whoosh, Eubie’s off to Bluesville. But can he turn a whole town of naughty children nice in just one day?
Families will love this festive tale of overcoming adversity, friendship, the power of positivity and believing in yourself! The Happy Elf is destined to become a holiday classic.
The cast and crew as provided by The Theatre in the Park Indoors are:
Eubie: Colin Rohach
Molly: Bridget Walsh
Hamm: John Alden
Gilda: Emily Vargo
Norbert: Fritz Sullivan
Santa: Mike Brown
Mrs. Claus: Carrigan Rohach
Mayor: Clay Cartwright
Gurt: Alyson Golladay
Curtis: Caden Moffitt
Little Norbert: Dominic Adams
Elves, Citizens of Bluesville: Sophia Adams, Amber Bracken, Jonah Cartwright, Angela Engel, Annalise Gray, Carrigan Rohach, Veronica Wilson, Brooklyn Werth.
The creative team for “The Happy Elf” is: Directed and Choreographed by Guy Gardner, Musical Director, James Levy; Associate Choreographer, LB; Costume Designer, Georgianna Buchanan; Props Designer, Amanda Albert; Scenic Designer, J. Patrick Inlow; Lighting Designer, TBA; Sound Designer, Josh Koan; Stage Manager, Rebekah Greib; Asst. Stage Manager, Amanda Albert.
“The Happy Elf” ends Dec. 23 for this year. Watch for the show to magically re-appear next season.
Tags; The Theatre in the Park Indoor, “The Happy Elf”, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Theater, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment