Current VPA News

Joanna Penalva

The good news from Syracuse Stage is that there are still excellent seats available for the holiday family show “Elf The Musical,” a co-production with the College of Visual and Performing Arts' Department of Drama, scheduled to run Nov. 23 – Jan. 6. While many performances are full or near capacity, the Syracuse Stage Box Office recommends patrons check dates after Dec. 28 as performances with good availability.

Tickets may be obtained at www.SyracuseStage.org, by phone at 315-443-3275 and in person at the Box Office.

Based on the popular 2003 movie “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell, the musical recounts the story of Buddy, a human child raised at the North Pole by Santa’s elves, who journeys to New York City to reunite with his family, including his father Walter Hobbs, a successful and cynical executive.

Adapted for the stage by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin (book), Matthew Sklar (music) and Chad Beguelin (lyrics), the musical opened on Broadway in November 2010. It returned to Broadway the following year and launched a national tour in 2012.

The Syracuse Stage production features Donna Drake’s direction, musical direction by Brian Cimmet, and choreography by Brian J. Marcum. The production marks a return to Syracuse Stage for Drake who directed last season’s acclaimed “The Wizard of Oz.”

“I’m so happy to be back at Syracuse Stage,” Drake said. “I feel like I left a little piece of my heart here last year.”

Drake added that her job this year is easy because “Elf The Musical” is written with “such heart, such warmth and such hilarity.” Drake especially urged people to bring children to the show, “They are going to have a blast.” Like the movie, however, the show would be rated PG for mild language and sarcasm.

This production also represents a kind of homecoming for choreographer Marcum, who was the associate choreographer on the original Broadway production. Marcum started with the musical when it was still in workshop development in 2009. It was his job to help shape the look and feel of the dance numbers.

While Marcum’s experience will be valuable to the Syracuse Stage production, he does not to intend to simply recreate the Broadway dances.

“This will be a fully Donna Drake version of the musical,” he said. “The idea is to pay homage to the Broadway choreography not to replicate it. That’s more fun.”

“Elf The Musical” marks the eighteenth holiday collaboration between Syracuse Stage and the Syracuse University Department of Drama. The annual show has become a tradition with many Central New York families and represents the value the 46-year partnership between Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University Department of Drama has for the students, the theater and the community.

“The holiday time is special at Syracuse Stage,” said Bob Hupp, artistic director of Syracuse Stage. “We look forward to welcoming thousands of Central New Yorkers to our theatre to celebrate this most magical time of year with this most magical musical for the whole family.”

Special Events

Nov. 28           Pay-What-You-Will Performance @ 7 p.m.
There will be 76 tickets available for whatever price patrons wish to pay. Pay-what-you-will tickets must be claimed in person at the Box Office on the day of the performance, subject to availability. The Box Office opens at 10 a.m. and will remain open until the start of the show. There is a limit of two tickets per person.

Nov. 30           Opening Night Party (free for ticket holders)
Join the cast for a post-show celebration with live music presented by CNY Jazz, featuring Moe Harrington, food and drinks.

Dec. 2              Prologue at 1 p.m. (free for ticket holders)
An intimate, pre-show discussion with “Elf The Musical” actors one hour prior to curtain. Prologues will be held in the classroom in room 141.

                        Actor Talkback (free for ticket holders)
A Q&A session with the actors following the 7 p.m. performance. The talkback will be held in the Archbold Theatre.

Dec. 5              Wednesday @ 1 Discussion (free for ticket holders)
Join Syracuse Stage for a fun and festive Wednesday @ 1 lecture with Dr. Miles Taylor, English professor at Le Moyne College. Taylor teaches courses on comedy, the Catholic imagination, C.S. Lewis and language and linguistics.  The lecture will begin at 1 p.m. in the Archbold Theatre.

Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dec. 6              Happy Hour at 5:30 p.m. (free for ticket holders)
Enjoy complimentary light fare from local restaurants, half-priced drinks and $5 drink specials at the bar.

Dec. 8              Prologue at 2 p.m. (free for ticket holders)
An intimate, pre-show discussion with “Elf The Musical” actors one hour prior to curtain. Prologues will be held in the classroom in room 141.

Audio Described Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are blind or visually impaired.

ASL Interpreted Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dec. 12            Dinner & Show ($50, includes dinner and show admission)
Enjoy a buffet dinner at 5:30 p.m. with fellow theatre lovers in the Sutton Pavilion. Seasonal fare prepared by Phoebe’s Restaurant followed by great theater.

Dec.13             Prologue at 6 p.m. (free for ticket holders)
An intimate, pre-show discussion with “Elf The Musical” actors one hour prior to curtain. Prologues will be held in the classroom in room 141.

Dec. 14            Last Call
The Syracuse Stage bar will remain open after the show. Patrons will have the opportunity to mingle with the cast and crew of “Elf The Musical.”

Dec. 15            Students @ Stage
Join the Young Adult Council for “Elf The Musical.” Tickets are available to high school students for $18 with no added fees. At 7 p.m., join other students for cookie decorating followed by “Elf The Musical” at 8 p.m. After the show there will be a Kahoot quiz with prizes. Those participating in Students at Stage must present valid School ID upon entry.

Open Captioning at 8 p.m. performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dec. 16            Open Captioning at 2 p.m. performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Dec. 29            Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly Performance at 3 p.m.
Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performances provide a welcoming environment that lets all patrons express themselves freely without judgment or inhibition. These live theatre experiences invite and encourage individuals with autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and sensory sensitivities to enjoy the performance in a “shush-free” zone. All tickets for the relaxed/sensory-friendly performance are $25 and include a 100 percent refund right up to the start of the show. Tickets can only be purchased by phone, 315-443-3275, or in person at the Box Office for this performance.

Jan. 4               Last Call
The Syracuse Stage bar will remain open after the show. Patrons will have the opportunity to mingle with the cast and crew of “Elf The Musical.”