When Adventure Theatre’s Artistic Director Michael Bobbitt was offered the chance to premiere the stage adaptation of Harry Connick Jr,’s animated Christmas classic The Happy Elf, he didn’t hesitate to add a second holiday show. “How could I say ‘no’ to something like that?” said in a phone interview.
To do so – Adventure Theatre has only one stage – he partnered with Montgomery College, which allows Adventure to have two holiday shows running at the same time: The Happy Elf, Nov 12 – 28 at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center in Rockville and Bobbitt’s own adaptation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on the Adventure stage in Glen Echo Park, MD.
The Happy Elf is the story of Santa’s elf Eubie, whose always happy attitude is put to the test when he decides to bring joy to the sad little town of Bluesville, and hopefully win a coveted spot on Santa’s sleigh team. Inspired by Harry Connick Jr.’s song “The Happy Elf”, the composer has penned all the music and lyrics, with book by Lauren Gunderson and Andrew Fishman.
Adventure Theatre has been attracting top talent to direct and star in its productions of late – Holly Twyford recently played a tap dancing pig, and Joe Banno, Jennifer Nelson, Jerry Whiddon and Michael Baron are all signed to direct this season’s plays. For Happy Elf, Bobbitt has assembled a team that would make any composer happy. Broadway director John Rando (Urinetown – Tony Award winner, The Wedding Singer, The Toxic Avenger) will be at the helm; Michael Rupert (Broadway: Legally Blonde, Ragtime, Falsettos – Tony nomination) recently said ‘yes’ to the role of Norbert; playing Santa will be Elliot Dash, whose voice has been compared to James Earl Jones’, and was last seen here at Ford’s Theatre in Civil War and heard as the voice of Audrey II in Ford’s Little Shop of Horrors and Three Mo’ Divas star Nova Y. Payton who plays Gurt.
Clint Johnson gets the role of Eubie – the littlest elf with big ambitions, and the cast rounds out with Zack Colonna, Valerie Issembert, Tina Ghandchilar, Jobari Parker-Namdar, and students from Montgomery College’s Theatre Department.
While parents are used to relatively long runs for children’s theatre productions, The Happy Elf will have a limited run of only 15 performances from Nov 13 thru 28. Since this show is likely to draw adult fans too, it might be wise to buy tickets early. For tickets, click here.