My family doesn't celebrate Christmas. We don't even have a Hanukkah bush, that multiculti concession to the holiday's ubiquity and allure. However, every year we watch Elf, sometimes even in summer.
Elf the musical, warming up the Walnut Street Theatre's main stage, attempts to capture the film's oddball appeal and repackage it with an even wider-eyed, toe-tapping, more universal appeal.
With a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, music by Matthew Sklar, and lyrics by Chad Beguelin, the story remains mostly the same. Buddy, living at the North Pole with Santa (under the mistaken impression he's an elf), discovers he's human and sets out to find his father, a children's book editor who works, of course, in the Empire State Building. Along the way, he meets a girl, gains a family, and saves both Christmas and his workaholic father's job. Sort of. The denouement turns out to be a bit sweeter and as unrealistic as an elf's four main food groups. ("Candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.")