Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: “Elf – The Musical” at the Alhambra

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW: Elf – The Musical

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

The Alhambra Theatre & Dining opened its annual Christmas holiday show with the return of “Elf – The Musical” on November 29, which remains on stage through December 24, 2019. Last year’s production of this holiday classic filled with Christmas cheer was sold out in August, and played to full houses throughout the run. 

Managing Partner, Craig Smith, decided to reschedule the play this year so theatergoers who were disappointed that they couldn’t get tickets last year could see it. The current production also sold out in August, and Craig says it’s their “fastest-selling show ever.” So while it’s probably too late to get tickets for this performance, if you do want to go, you can try calling the box office during office hours to see if any seats have become available due to cancellations. 

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

The story is that of Buddy, a human raised as an elf, who travels from his home at the North Pole to Manhattan in search of his father. The Alhambra’s production has twenty actors who bring Buddy’s story to life as the stage is filled with song, dance, and comedy.  Almost all of the cast members and production staff were involved in last year’s production, and delivered polished high-energy performances.   

The cast included Dustin Maxwell as Buddy the Elf; Jessie Booth as Buddy’s girlfriend Jovie; Mark Poppleton as Buddy’s father Walter; Jennifer Medure as Buddy’s stepmother Emily; Trey Murphy as Buddy’s brother Michael; Lisa Valdini as Walter’s secretary Deb; Jereme Raickett as a Macy’s manager, and Shaun Rice in the dual roles of Santa and Mr. Greenway.

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

Joining the ensemble of eight adults and four children this year were Rodney Holmes, Mark Wildman, Katie Nettle, Jessica Hayden, and Salka Corring. 

 Shain Stroff was both the stage manager and choreographer. He has been the theatre’s stage manager for several years, and has extensive experience as a choreographer. And while last year’s Elf choreograhy (by another choreograher) was great, Stroff’s current version seems even more lively. We would guess that viewing last year’s production multiple times inspired new ideas for the dance numbers. Shain is also a fine actor, whom we have had the opportunity to see on stage. Bryce Cofield was the assistant director; Jessie Booth was the Dance Captain.

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

Kudos go to both Tod Booth, Producer/Director and Cathy Murphy Giddens, Musical Director who have once again staged a holiday show winner.    

Chef DeJuan Roy’s menu was also a treat, offering four entrées, which included a holiday feast complete with turkey, ham, and sweet potatoes. The menu includes choices for vegetarians and kids.

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

The Alhambra Theatre & Dining has a full year of great entertainment ahead, beginning with a New Year’s Eve celebration that includes a fantastic menu, entertainment, and danceable music. 

Nine shows are scheduled 2020; beginning with “Love Letters (January 9 – February 9), starring lovebirds Tod and his wife Lisa Valdini, followed by “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” in February. Listings for the full season and their Alhambra After Dark series are available on their website and Facebook pages. The season ends with the musical version of “A Wonderful Life.” Early reservations are recommended. 

The theatre is located at 12000 Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida. Visit alhambrajax.com or call 904-641-1212 for additional information. 

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.

october, 2021

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