Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Performing Arts

Try a little ‘Elf’ help for the holidays at the Detroit Opera House

See also

ELF The Musical


Buddy the Elf came to town last night as part of the Broadway in Detroit season and will hang out at the Detroit Opera House until December 15 to help Motown get its Christmas spirit on.

More Photos

Yes, that Buddy the Elf.

“Elf” broke on the Christmas scene in 2003 as a film starring Will Ferrell – a film that quickly grew to “holiday classic” status. We were happy, if not surprised, when the story was converted into a Broadway musical in 2010 by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (the duo behind “The Wedding Singer”), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (“Annie,” “The Producers,” “Hairspray”) and Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”). The production is directed by veteran Sam Scalamoni, who teams up again with choreographer Connor Gallagher, with whom he worked on “Beauty and the Beast.”

If you saw the film, you already know that this is the delightfully silly tale of Buddy, a young orphan who crawls into Santa’s bag one Christmas Eve and winds up at the North Pole, where he is raised to believe that he is an elf. A really, really tall elf. Buddy is horrified when he learns the truth – that he is actually a human with a father on the “naughty” list. But being an irrepressibly spunky guy, he sets out for Manhattan on a quest to find the dad who doesn’t even know Buddy exists.

Unlike the film, the story is narrated by Santa himself, and the dialog tosses in several pop culture references to keep it current. The biggest difference, of course, is the music, which carries forward the over-the-top cheerfulness of the film with such songs as “Sparklejollytwinklejingley” and hilarious choreography using “elf” dancers who perform on their knees. Iconic New York scenes, including the skating rink in front of Rockefeller Center with its giant Christmas tree, add to the festive feel of this show.

The production stars Matt Kopec as Buddy, who somehow packs all that sugar-sprinkled cheerfulness into every song while dancing up a storm in his curly-toed elf shoes. Kate Hennies is adorable as Buddy’s cynical love interest, Jovie, and really sells the unlikely love song, “Never Fall in Love With an Elf.” Recent U of M grad Jane Bruce (see last week’s interview) shines as Buddy’s step-mom Emily, and she has a couple of lovely duos with stage son Michael, played by stand-out young singer Tyler Altomari. Matthew Alan Smith plays Buddy’s dad Walter, who is transformed by a little Christmas magic into a man worthy of Santa’s “nice” list by the end of the play.

This is a family-friendly show in the best tradition, with dialog geared toward adults in the audience, but plenty going on to keep the kids entertained. Your family can catch “Elf” at the Detroit Opera House, located at 1526 Broadway St., through December 15, 2013. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m., with matinees on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The performance on December 5 at 7: 30 p.m. is a signed performance.

Tickets for “Elf” range from $24 to $72 and are on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, online, or at either the Fisher Theatre box office and the Detroit Opera House box office. For group sales (12 or more), email or call (313) 871-1132.

Broadway In Detroit and Michigan Education Savings Plan (MESP) are hosting a special “Elf” Kids’ Night, with pre-show activities that begin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4th. Kids will have the opportunity to make their very own holiday crafts courtesy of Arts & Scraps, interact with cast members, sample free ice cream from Treat Dreams and much more. For Kids’ Night, tickets for all patrons 18 and under are free with the purchase of an adult ticket at full price on select seat locations. Visit the web page for details and to purchase tickets online.


Today's top buzz...

  • NBA point guards
    The other guys: NBA's top 5 underrated point guards
    NBA Buzz
  • Gwen Stefani
    From Snoop Dogg to Gwen Stefani: The special Coachella guests we loved seeing
    Music News
  • The Ultimate Warrior
    An autopsy on the Ultimate Warrior reveals what suddenly killed the wrestling hero
    Fight Sports
  • Marlon Wayans
    Exclusive: Marlon Wayans dishes on 'A Haunted House 2' and getting sexy with a doll
    Movies Buzz
  • Scott Harnell
    Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell has been fined $5K for spearing
    NHL Buzz
  • Game of Thrones
    The stars of 'Game of Thrones' react to the shocking purple wedding
    TV Buzz

Related Videos:

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!