Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”
Production: ELF – The Musical
Theater: Seven Angel Theater
Book: Thomas Meehan, Bob Martin
Music/Lyrics: Mathew Sklar, Chad Beguelin
Directors: Semina DeLaurentis, Jimmy Donahue
The Howard’s Exhale – “This Holiday We Believe in Entertaining “Angels”!
Folks- I just saw a “star” in the theatrical heavens! This sighting took place on the stage of the Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury, CT, with their current production of “Elf the Musical”. I happily took note of an extraordinary young man’s talent that astonished me and an entire audience – this gentleman, costumed on stage with green ELF overalls and orange adorned hair was absolutely captivating, his talent was legion – singer, dancing, actor, comedian – the role, the bigger than life – “Buddy the Elf” and I urge everyone to see this young man in this role that he was meant to portray. By the way this future Tony/Academy/Emmy/Grammy star is Mr. Jimmy Donohue – this is “star” quality – I want you to remember his name, Jimmy Donohue, and that you read it here first – yes we believe in Angels!!
As stated this live production is – “Elf the Musical”, based on the 2003 Christmas comedy film of the same name which starred Will Ferrell, James Cann, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen and Bob Newhart. The musical originally opened on Broadway in November 2010 for a limited holiday engagement at the Al Hirshfeld Theater. The tale, as narrated by Santa Claus, ….schusss…. now it’s a secret you know – “Buddy the Elf” – is not really an elf – he’s really a human! For on Christmas Eve, little orphan child “Buddy” Hobbs (Jimmy Donohue) had crawled into Santa’s gift bag, and was unknowingly brought back to the North Pole where Santa and the Elf’s raised him up as an official Santa’s helper – an Elf – just bigger and taller than all the other Elfs. However, upon learning that he was indeed human, Buddy travels back to NYC, no not to meet that other little orphan – Annie, but to meet his real life dad, Walter Hobbs, (Lou Guertin) and to teach everyone, even his father, the true meaning of the holidays and to believe in Santa Claus.
It was an extraordinary holiday film and now at Seven Angels it’s a live, exhilarating, musical comedy for the entire family to enjoy. This my friends is “ELF the Musical” at Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury, CT. and believe you me – it’s an outstanding live production that entertains everyone of all ages. During my matinee visit- the theater is indeed like Santa’s workroom at the North Pole- Seven Angels’ Artistic Director, Miss Semina De Laurentis is manning the tickets, crew and actors are busy preparing for the stage, and the theater is literally abuzz with families eager to see the one and only “Buddy the Elf” live on stage. By the way, as usually the case here at Seven Angels, kids of all ages are immersed in the holiday and Elf, many are adorned with holiday clothes, angel wings, Santa caps, one dad has even donned a “Buddy the Elf” sweater, with a likeness of original Buddy- Will Ferrell, that avows – “The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer is Singing Loud For all to HEAR”! Amen!
Now as I stated , this audience is enthusiastic, not only our younger crowd, but the grown-ups as well – in fact when Santa makes his first appearance, a gentleman seated in front of me eagerly exclaims, “ hey its Tom Chute”! Yes indeed – that Tom Chute! – the one – the only, indeed the legendary Tom Chute – Connecticut’s most famous and favorite radio personality on WATR AM Radio in Waterbury, CT. Throughout the entire 90 minute production it’s actually like a game of “Where’s Tom”, for not only does Tom portray Santa, but he pops up portraying a myriad of characters, a police officer one moment than an office worker the next, and several other characters throughout the production. At this time, I would like to personally thank Mr. Chute, for all the “good works” he does for our community and throughout Connecticut- yes Tom Chute was so rightfully cast as Santa Claus-! Bravo Tom!
I send Kudos to the entire cast of “Elf the Musical” including Lou Guertin as Walter Hobbs, Marcia Maslo as Emily Hobbs, Lilah Pape as Molly, Autumn Eliza Sheffy as Jovie, Michelle Gotay as Deb, and Joe Stockport as Mr. Greenway. But as mentioned at reviews entrance – please keep an eye out for this future star – this talented young man – Mr. Jimmy Donohue – we expect “BIG” things from him and as expected he has earned the coveted “ Howard Noticed You Award”! Thank you Mr. Donohue – we so appreciated your performance today – it brought forth a needed smile to so many! My friends, wishing all a very Merry Yuletide and a Happy Turning of the Calendar. Enjoy!
“Elf the Musical” is currently being produced at Seven Angels Theater. For tickets call the box office at 203-757-4676, online at SevenAngelsTheatre.org, or at the box office at 1 Plank Road, Waterbury. Free Parking. Just off I-84. GPS directions use: Hamilton Park, Waterbury.
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.