Broadway’s new holiday fare “Elf” opened Sunday night, November 14, at Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Based on Will Ferrell’s 2003 hit movie, this nine-week seasonal...

Broadway’s new holiday fare “Elf” opened Sunday night, November 14, at Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Based on Will Ferrell’s 2003 hit movie, this nine-week seasonal engagement will close January 2, 2011.

Sebastian Arcelus plays 30-year-old Buddy, a human orphan adopted by Santa and raised by elves at the North Pole. Now a super-sized not-so-little helper, Buddy gets Santa’s permission to leave on a quest to find his real father and spread good cheer to his newfound family in New York City.

Casey Nicholaw is director and choreographer for this family friendly tuner. The book is by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, with music and lyrics by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin.

Amy Spanger appears as Buddy’s jaded love interest, Jovie, while George Wendt of “Cheers” fame plays Santa. Other cast members include Mark Jacoby as Buddy’s workaholic father Walter, Beth Leavel as his step-mother Emily, and Matthew Gumley as his younger brother Michael.

The 1,282-seat Hirschfeld Theatre hosted two weeks of previews, beginning November 2. Capacity at the playhouse increased from an initial 80.7 percent up to 86.7 percent for the week ending November 14. The production’s combined two-week gross is $1,206,457, according to the Broadway League.

Show dates and times vary almost weekly during the production’s run, as do ticket prices. Taking full advantage of seasonal traffic, regular ticket prices start in the range of $39 to $137, but increase to the tune of $50 to $152 closer to the holidays. Similarly, aisle seats are priced separately and range from $142 to $187 depending on the show date, while premium seats are marked anywhere from $252 up to $352.

Al Hirschfeld Theatre is located at 302 West 45th Street in New York, NY. “Elf” runs two hours, including a 15-minute intermission. An exact show schedule and ticketing details are available on the official “Elf” Web site.

Opening Night: “Elf”

Publication Critic Review
Variety Steven Suskin “This tuner is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults.”
New York Times Charles Isherwood “…tinseled in synthetic sentiment, performed with a cheer that borders on mania, and instantly forgettable.”
USA Today Elysa Gardner “Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you can guess how it all turns out. But director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw and his game, nimble cast allow us to enjoy the ride, however predictable.”
TheaterMania Brian Scott Lipton “While the musical often proves to be amusingly diverting, it somehow never manages to win theatergoers’ hearts or imaginations as thoroughly as one might hope.”
Hollywood Reporter David Rooney “With few exceptions, the sound-alike numbers blend into one, and the lethargic dance interludes provide minimal elevation. It’s all pleasant, but generic.”
New York Daily News Joe Dziemianowicz “In the overlong first act, Buddy sings one so-so solo after another. Result: You can have too much elf in ‘Elf.'”