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Elf: new family musical for the winter holidays
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures in association with Unique Features have announced that a new family musical Elf, will arrive on Broadway for the winter holidays, opening at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on 10 Nov 2010, following previews from 2 Nov for a limited engagement through to 2 Jan 2011.
Based on the 2003 New Line Cinema movie which starred Will Ferrell in the title role, Elf will feature music by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar ('Music') and Chad Beguelin ('The Wedding Singer'), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan ('The Producers,' 'Hairspray') and Bob Martin ('The Drowsy Chaperone'). Elf will be directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Casey Nicholaw ('The Drowsy Chaperone,' 'Monty Python’s Spamalot').
Elf tells the tale of 'Buddy,' a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Buddy is raised unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.
Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list and his step-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. The musical is based on the 2003 New Line Cinema film 'Elf,' which starred Will Ferrell as 'Buddy.'
Elf was given a 'full production' reading in Dec 2009, with costumes and sets, and starred George Wendt as Santa Claus, Christian Anderson as Buddy (the big elf - Will Farrell's character in the movie), Mark Jacoby as Buddy's father and Beth Leavel as his mother, and featured direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.
Casting, and further production details, for the musical are still to be announced, and it is not known if any of the stars from the Dec 2009 reading will be selected to star when the show arrives on Broadway.
Thomas Meehan (Book) won the 2003 Tony Award for co-writing, with Mark O'Donnell, the book for 'Hairspray' after having won the 2001 Tony Award for co-writing the book, with Mel Brooks, of 'The Producers.' He received his first Tony Award in 1977 for writing the book of 'Annie,' which was his first Broadway show, and he has since written books for the musicals 'I Remember Mam,' 'Ain’t Broadway Grand,' 'Annie Warbucks' and the American version of 'Bombay Dreams.' His most recent works are the Broadway musicals 'Young Frankenstein,' for which he co-wrote the book with Mel Brooks, and 'Cry-Baby,' co-written with Mark O’Donnell.
Bob Martin (Book) is a co-creator of 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' and has performed in many of its incarnations: Toronto Fringe, Theatre Passe Muraille (Toronto), Winter Garden (Toronto), Ahmanson Theatre (Los Angeles), Marquis Theatre (Broadway), Novello (London). Bob won a number of awards for his work on Drowsy including a Tony Award. He is also co-creator of “Slings & Arrows,” a critically acclaimed dramatic series about life at a large not for profit theatre company, which was recently named one of the ten best TV shows of the decade by a number of publications including New York Magazine. As well as Elf, Bob’s recent work includes 'Minsky’s' (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Sue Birkenhead), a musical about burlesque in 1930’s New York which he hopes will come to Broadway in the Spring of 2011.
Matthew Sklar (Music) received a Tony Award nomination (Best Original Score) for his work on 'The Wedding Singer.' He co-produced the show’s original Broadway cast recording for Sony/BMG Masterworks Broadway. Matthew is a recipient of the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theatre Award and the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award.
Chad Beguelin (Lyrics) is the Tony Award Nominated bookwriter and lyricist of 'The Wedding Singer,' which premiered on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. Along with his writing partner Matthew Sklar, Chad has also written 'The Rhythm Club' (Signature Theater Company), 'Wicked City' (American Stage Company, Mason Street Warehouse) and various projects for Disney.
Casey Nicholaw (Director/Choreographer) received 2006 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his work on 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' and 2005 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Choreography for 'Monty Python’s Spamalot,' directed by Mike Nichols. Additional New York credits: for City Center Encores! include 'Anyone Can Whistle' and 'Follies' (direction and choreography), 'Bye Bye Birdie' (choreography) and 'Can-Can' (musical staging). Current projects include 'Robin and the 7 Hoods' at the Old Globe this Summer as well as the new musicals 'Minsky’s' and Elf
Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures (Producer) is the live stage play division of Warner Bros. The division currently has 15 licensed properties in production worldwide and more than a dozen other projects in various stages of development, including co-productions with aBroadway and film producers.
Unique Features (Producer), a new independent company that will be producing two to three movies a year, was launched in 2008 by Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne, who together built New Line Cinema into an industry powerhouse. The company has a three-year first-look agreement with Warner Bros. and is currently developing and producing several projects, including an adaptation of Paul McCartney’s "High in the Clouds," with original music by McCartney; and trilogies based on Cassandra Clare’s young-adult fantasy "The Mortal Instruments" and Maggie Stiefvater’s "Shiver"; as well as two stage musicals, Elf and 'Secondhand Lions.'
Elf: Poster for 2003 movie