AURORA – The Paramount Theatre's production of "Elf: The Musical" is everything that a holiday musical should be – and more.
Brightly colored sets, catchy songs, sparkling choreography and a stellar cast combine to create a joyful production that leaves audience members full of good cheer.
The musical is based on the 2003 movie "Elf." For those not familiar with the story, "Elf: The Musical" tells the story of Buddy the Elf, who finds out that he is actually human and goes to New York City in search of his father.
In her director notes, director/choreographer Amber Mak took note of the challenge to live up to the audience's expectations, given the film's popularity. In her capable hands, Mak puts a fresh face on the production, as she did in presenting stellar versions of "The Little Mermaid" and "Hairspray."
Kyle Adams, who is new to the Paramount stage, captures some of that wild-eyed enthusiasm that actor Will Ferrell brought to the role of Buddy in the film "Elf." He also has the vocal power and strong stage presence the role requires.
We discover his love for Christmas during the rousing opening number, "Christmastown." But the production is full of outstanding performances, including Roger Mueller's hilarious take as Santa Claus. Samantha Pauly also turns in a fine performance as Jovie, Buddy's love interest.
Pauly understands the complexity of her role as she transforms from someone who is not a fan of Christmas to one that embraces the wonder of the holiday. Kudos also go out to 14-year-old Oliver Boomer, who makes his Paramount debut in the role of Michael Hobbs. He already has an extensive theater resume under his belt, and his performance in this production will hopefully lead to bigger roles in the future.
Sometimes, theatrical productions can suffer from a drop in energy level, with the second act not living up to the energy of the first act. That is not the case with this production.
It's almost like the first act was just a warm up for the cast. Case in point – the rousing song and dance number "Nobody Cares About Santa," which opens the production's second act.
Start off your holiday season right by seeing "Elf: The Musical" at the Paramount Theatre.
The show is being presented at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, through Jan. 7. For tickets, go to ParamountAurora.com or call 630-896-6666.
Eric Schelkopf writes about the arts and entertainment scene in Chicago at http://thetotalscene.blogspot.com. He also is an employee of Shaw Media.