Elf The Musical
Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity.
Show Essentials
11
Roles
+ Ensemble
PG
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

When he sits down to watch TV after his Christmas deliveries and realizes that the football game he tried to TiVo has been recorded over, Santa decides to tell the Christmas story of Buddy, the Elf.

Lights up on Buddy, an oversized elf, excitedly getting ready for another day's work in Santa's workshop ("Christmastown"). At work, Charlie, the shop manager, informs the Elves that they must work twice as hard this year because more and more humans no longer believe in Santa, and that Christmas spirit is what makes Santa's sleigh fly. Later, Charlie checks on Buddy's progress at making toys. As usual, he is way behind the others and feels terrible about it. Charlie asks him to take a break and, as he does, Buddy overhears a conversation in which Charlie reveals that Buddy is actually a human – Buddy's worst nightmare. Santa sits Buddy down and tells him the story of how he accidentally brought him back to the North Pole when Buddy's mother died. He tells Buddy that his father lives and works in New York City but is on the "naughty list". Determined to save his father with Christmas spirit, Buddy sets off for New York ("World's Greatest Dad").

When he arrives at the office of his father, Walter, in the Empire State Building, Buddy finds him ranting to his wife and son about Christmas being a complete annoyance ("In the Way"). Walter is stunned to hear Buddy's declaration that he is his son and calls security to take him away. They drop him at Macy's, where a manager mistakes him for an employee, sent down from the corporate office to check on things. As they decorate the store, all of the employees begrudge their overly happy new co-worker until they, too, catch Buddy's infectious Christmas spirit ("Sparklejollytwinklejingley"). When everyone goes to leave for the night, Buddy asks Jovie, his favorite co-worker, on a date. She accepts. The next morning, a department store Santa arrives. Buddy accuses him of being a fake, and they fight. The police are called and take Buddy to his father's apartment.

Emily and Michael are at home, trying in vain to build Michael's science project. Buddy agrees to help if they will, in turn, muster up some Christmas spirit to write letters to Santa. They sit down to ask for the one thing they never get: some quality time with Walter ("I'll Believe in You"). Buddy fixes the science project to high-fives and hugs just as Walter walks in. Resistant at first, Emily talks him into allowing Buddy to stay the night. In the morning, a Fed-Ex man arrives with the results of a DNA test. When they first met, Emily plucked one of Buddy's hairs to send off for testing, and the results confirm that he is Walter's son ("In the Way – Reprise"). Buddy is elated, but Walter is not... especially since he must take Buddy with him to work so Emily can attend a meeting.

Newly clothed in a business suit, Buddy is excited to accompany Walter to work ("Just Like Him"). When Walter's boss comes in and threatens to fire him, Buddy's rambunctious curiosity and playfulness are not a welcome distraction. Later that night, Jovie and Buddy go on their date. At first, it isn't going well, but things soon turn around. Buddy promises to give Jovie a real Christmas, starting with a Christmas Eve dinner at Tavern on the Green like she's always dreamed ("A Christmas Song"). They kiss. Meanwhile, Walter is still at work and has just been given a manuscript for a children's story that could save his job. Buddy bursts in to tell Walter that he's in love and, while Walter talks with colleagues, Buddy decides to make "snow" by putting the manuscript through the shredder. With the manuscript destroyed, Walter explodes with anger and tells Buddy to get out of the apartment and his life ("World's Greatest Dad – Reprise").

Act Two

The Santa from the beginning of the play hurries back from intermission to take up the tale of Buddy, the Elf, once again.

Back at the apartment, Buddy leaves a letter to apologize and say goodbye to Walter, Emily and Michael. He then wanders NYC until he ends up at a Chinese restaurant with several other "Santas" and "Elves" on Christmas Eve. They complain about the state of Christmas and children these days ("Nobody Cares about Santa"). When they leave to return home to their families, Buddy remembers that he was supposed to go on another date with Jovie. Elsewhere, she waits in front of Tavern on the Green, upset that Buddy is two hours late ("Never Fall in Love"). Buddy arrives, apologizes and gives Jovie the snowglobe that Santa gave him when he left the North Pole. Still upset, Jovie leaves.

When Emily and Michael find Buddy's note, they are deeply saddened. Emily tells Michael that, although she loves him, Buddy is crazy for believing in Santa at thirty years of age. Just then, Santa's sleigh flies through the sky and makes a renewed believer out of both of them ("There Is a Santa Claus"). They rush to Walter's office to tell him, finding him desperately trying to come up with an idea for a new children's book before his boss arrives to hear the pitch. The boss, Greenway, arrives and, as Walter begins his awful pitch, Buddy enters. As a present to Walter, Buddy gives Greenway the story of Buddy the Elf ("The Story of Buddy the Elf"). Greenway loves it, but he wants to change the elf to a horse... and he wants Walter to work on it all through Christmas Eve and the next day. Walter quits, having finally decided to spend time with his family, as Greenway storms out.

When Michael tells Buddy that they saw Santa's sleigh land, Buddy realizes that the sleigh has run out of the Christmas spirit that allows it to run. They run to help, finding Santa sitting glumly beside his sled ("Nobody Cares About Santa – Reprise"). Buddy spots a camera news crew nearby and grabs the microphone to beg all of New York to believe, sing and spread Christmas spirit so that Santa can fly again. Jovie arrives and is convinced, as other random New Yorkers join the movement ("A Christmas Song – Reprise") and Santa's sleigh again takes flight. Santa invites Buddy to return to the North Pole with him, but Buddy decides to stay, finally feeling like he belongs.

We transition back to the Santa that began both acts as he closes the storybook and goes to answer the knock at the door. In enters Michael, Emily, Walter, Buddy, Jovie... and their new baby, Buddy Hobbs, to celebrate Christmas as they now do every year ("Finale").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible
Cast Type: Children
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Buddy
Born a human but raised at the North Pole as a Christmas Elf, Buddy is eager to find his place in the world. He is a child at heart and that child-like curiosity makes him both endearing and gets him into trouble.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: Ab2
Jovie
Buddy's girlfriend. She works at Macy's and has a bit of a cynical outlook on life and love because of the men she's dated. She is caught off guard by Buddy's genuinely big heart.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 30
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Walter
Buddy's workaholic father. He is a Children's book writer, but lacks any of the childlike spirit that Buddy has. He is selfish, tense, and generally angry with life.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Emily
Walter's wife. Though she is sweet and willing to take him in, she thinks Buddy is crazy at first. Wishes her husband would spend more time with the family.
Gender: female
Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Michael
Buddy's stepbrother who is excited to have a new friend and brother. Unlike his mother, he doesn't take much convincing to have Christmas spirit, but like his mother, he wishes his father would spend more time with the family.
Gender: male
Age: 12 to 16
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Deb
Walter's secretary. Takes an instant liking to Buddy simply for the novelty of it. Though she aims to please and is a bit of a suck-up, she feels under appreciated.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 55
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: D4
Manager
A heavy-set manager at Macy's. He is a good, friendly guy just trying to do his job and get by.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 40
Vocal range top: F#4
Vocal range bottom: B2
Greenway
Walter's boss. He is what Walter will become if he continues down the path he is on. A tyrannical, workaholic who cares nothing about the people around him or who work for him.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Santa
Just another workingman. Loves his job and Christmas, but also likes to kick-back and watch the game when a rare opportunity arises. A natural storyteller.
Gender: male
Age: 65 to 80
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Chadwick
One of Walter's right-hand men. He is desperate to keep his job, and perhaps the dumber of the two.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Matthews
One of Walter's right-hand men. He is desperate to keep his job and is the schemer of the two.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 40
Ensemble
Mrs. Claus, Elves, Charlie, Shwanda, Mr. Narwhal, Teenager, Employees, Security Guard 1&2, Customer 1&2, Saleswoman, Store Elf 1&2, Fake Santa 1&2&3, Boy, Mother, Policeman 1&2, Sarah, Jim, Vendor, Waitress, Charlotte, Man, Woman
Full Song List
Elf The Musical: Overture
Elf The Musical: Christmastown
Elf The Musical: World's Greatest Dad
Elf The Musical: In The Way
Elf The Musical: Sparklejollytwinklejingley
Elf The Musical: I'll Believe In You
Elf The Musical: In The Way- Reprise
Elf The Musical: Just Like Him
Elf The Musical: A Christmas Song
Elf The Musical: World's Greatest Dad - Reprise
Elf The Musical: Nobody Cares About Santa
Elf The Musical: Never Fall In Love (With An Elf)
Elf The Musical: There Is a Santa Claus
Elf The Musical: The Story of Buddy
Elf The Musical: Nobody Cares ... (Santa's Reprise)
Elf The Musical: A Christmas Song - Reprise
Elf The Musical: Finale

Show History

Inspiration

Elf The Musical, with a book by Tony winners, Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Thomas Meehan (The Producers), music by Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer), and lyrics by Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), is a musical comedy based on the 2003 holiday film of the same name.  The original film starred Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel and quickly became a Christmas classic.  The musical brought together the vintage comic styles of Martin and Meehan, with the high-energy contemporary music of Sklar and Beguelin.

Productions

Elf premiered on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on November 24, 2010, after an industry reading the year before.  It ran for a limited engagement during the holiday season, until January 2, 2011, after 57 performances.  During the 2012 holiday season, the production company, NETworks, launched a "mini-tour" of the musical, traveling all the way from Rhode Island to Florida.

Following the huge success of the original production, Elf returned to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on November 9, 2012, and ran until January 6, 2013, with a revised book and a completely new opening number.  The changes in the musical carried through to two separate national tours that started in 2013, one union and one non-union.  Outside of Broadway, the show has seen a fair amount of engagement.  The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle produced its first regional production, while the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, housed the international premiere.

Cultural Influence

  • Elf broke box office records at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre three times during its first run.
  • The original run of Elf was the third-best selling show in the 2010 Thanksgiving weekend, behind Wicked and The Lion King.

Trivia

  • Elf was nominated for a Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical in 2011.
     
  • Celebrities that have starred in Elf include: George Wendt (Santa), Wayne Knight (Santa), Beth Leavel (Emily), Sebastian Arcelus (Buddy), Amy Spanger (Jovie), Mark Jacoby (Walter), Jordan Gelber (Buddy), and Matthew Gumley (Michael).

Critical Reaction

"Even the biggest Cotton-Headed-Ninny-Muggins will leave the theatre with a warm festive glow!"
– Entertainment Weekly

"A merry treat for the holiday season...A cheerful, melodic score by Matthew Sklar, the composer, and Chad Beguelin, the lyricist, keeps the show rolling along."
– The New York Times

"Elf The Musical sails by quickly, with energetic and sugary appeal. ...The show can't be accused failing to entertain. It's a syrupy confection Buddy himself would approve."
– The Washingtonian

"Hilarious and heart-warming, this Elf delivers."
– The Chicago Tribune

"A tight, polished, expensive-looking affair that has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects for kids."
– ABC News

"Elf The Musical is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids, and plenty smart for adults!"
– Variety

"Jolly holiday entertainment, decked out with a bunch of crowd-rousing songs!"
– NewJerseyNewsroom.com

"Endearingly goofy!"
– USA Today

Connect

Billing

Based on the New Line Cinema film by David Berenbaum.

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
 
ELF - THE MUSICAL
(100%)
 
Book by
Music by
Lyrics by
THOMAS MEEHAN and BOB MARTIN
(50%)
MATTHEW SKLAR
(50%)
CHAD BEGUELIN
(50%)
Based upon the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum
(25%)
 
The names of the Composer, Lyricist and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness and prominence.  No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent that the billing to the Authors except for the title of the Play.  If the credit to the Authors is greater than 50%, the film credit shall be no less than 60% the size of the Authors’ credit.
 
In addition, you agree to include the following on the main credit page in all programs:
 
Originally produced by
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures
in association with Unique Features
 
In advertisements of 1/4 page size or less, and online and mobile ads where in each case only the title of the play, performance dates and venue are provided and in outdoor advertising, transit and taxi ads and marquees where no other person is billed, the following "shortened billing" is permissible:
 
ELF - THE MUSICAL

Video Warning

If you purchase a separate license to allow non-commercial video recording of this production, you must print the following in your program. ANY VIDEO RECORDING MADE OF THIS PERFORMANCE IS AUTHORIZED FOR PERSONAL, AT-HOME, NON-COMMERCIAL USE ONLY. THE SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF SUCH RECORDING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED UNDER FEDERAL COPYRIGHT LAW. If you do not purchase the separate license for video recording, you must print the following in your program. The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
KEYBOARD1 - CONDUCTOR SCORE1
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK25
PIANO VOCAL SCORE1

Production Resources

Resource
FULL SCORE ACT 1
FULL SCORE ACT 2
LOGO PACK
REFERENCE RECORDING
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIDEO LICENSE

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSACOUSTIC BASS , ELECTRIC BASS
CELLO
DRUMSBELL TREE , BONGOS , COWBELL , DRUM KIT , FINGER CYMBAL , MARK TREE , SLEIGH BELLS , TAMBOURINE (MOUNTED), TEMPLE BLOCKS , TRIANGLE , WOOD BLOCK
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSIONBELL TREE , BONGOS , CHIMES , CONGAS , CROTALES , FLEXITONE , GLOCKENSPIEL , SLEIGH BELLS , TEMPLE BLOCK , TIMPANI , VIBES , XYLOPHONE
REED 1ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
REED 2CLARINET , ENGLISH HORN , FLUTE , OBOE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 3BARITONE SAXOPHONE , BASS CLARINET , BASSOON , CLARINET , FLUTE
TROMBONE
TROMBONE 2
TRUMPETFLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
TRUMPET 2FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
VIOLIN
VIOLIN 2