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Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
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Indiana
Indianapolis, IN
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Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre's Elf the Musical tickles your inner happy

by Rita Kohn
November 30, 2018
Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
9301 N. Michigan Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
317-872-9664
Rita Kohn, member: Dance Critics Association, Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild
Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre serves up mighty fine dancing in their delightful version of Elf the Musical, the hoofing deftly matching the infectious zaniness of Dan Bob Higgins as a believably bubbly Buddy the Elf.

Inside the craziness is a reality-check take-away… I won’t be a spoiler. Attend to catch the spirit and leave with a Christmas song to sing all holiday long…and maybe ever after. Emily Grace Tucker is spot-on as Jovie, coming in from the wings to power Santa’s sled mired in Central Park. The power of one. Think about it when you get to feeling unnecessary.

Deftly directed by Douglas Stark [who makes a cameo as Santa], with choreography by Ron Morgan and musical direction by Kristy Templet, from beginning to end the dance numbers flow with the story, which is tucked into the lyrics and the music by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, with new songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn.

The book, adapted by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan from the 2003 film, offers a different take for some of the characters and is open for productions to slide in localized and current event elements, along with now-in-fashion costuming—except for what has become iconic for Buddy, the corps of elves and Mr and Mrs Santa. The audience on Nov. 29 loved the local and current references, and even a roomful of election red-staters weren’t put off by Walter Hobson [portrayed by Mark Epperson] handily explaining the omission of key book pages as being “unfortunate and I’m fully prepared to blame my staff.”

With a sense of ensemble at the core, the cast for this sprightly Beef & Boards interpretation takes ownership of each character, particularly differentiating as the ensemble moves through the scenes with a variety of portrayals. Higgins, Tucker, Epperson and Lanene Charters as Deb, come to Beef & Boards with previous Elf the Musical connections.

There’s not a mis-step by anyone in the ensemble, and there are definite highlights, including from Kenney M. Green as the store manager who “stumbles” into dancing and then stops the show as an old-time hoofer. The dancing Santas is a localized glyph on Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s annual “Yuletide” blockbuster number. Fifth grader Aiden Shurr, a seven-time B & B veteran, portrays Michael Hobbs; fourth grader Sylvie Templet returns in an ensemble role after her B & B debut as Molly in ANNIE this past summer.

P.S. There’s lots of green veggies on the holiday buffet spread overseen by Chef Odell Ward.

Also on stage on select dates, A Christmas Story: The Musical especially for family and school audiences.

Next up: 2019 season opener, They’re Playing Our Song, January 4- February 3, 2019.

More information at: beefandboards.com.
Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins) kicks up his heels as he sings that he’s “Happy All The Time” in Christmastown at the North Pole in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins) kicks up his heels as he sings that he’s “Happy All The Time” in Christmastown at the North Pole in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Photo © & courtesy of Patricia Rettig


Overwhelmed with excitement at their first meeting, Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), center, rushes to hug his father Walter Hobbs (Mark Epperson) but is pulled back by Deb (Lanene Charters) in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Overwhelmed with excitement at their first meeting, Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), center, rushes to hug his father Walter Hobbs (Mark Epperson) but is pulled back by Deb (Lanene Charters) in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Photo © & courtesy of Patricia Rettig


After being taken to the “North Pole” at Macy’s, Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), left, sees Jovie (Emily Grace Tucker), right, and is overcome by her beauty in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

After being taken to the “North Pole” at Macy’s, Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), left, sees Jovie (Emily Grace Tucker), right, and is overcome by her beauty in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Photo © & courtesy of Patricia Rettig


After confirming to Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), left, that he’s human, Santa gives him a snow globe to show him what the Empire State Building, where his father works, looks like in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

After confirming to Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), left, that he’s human, Santa gives him a snow globe to show him what the Empire State Building, where his father works, looks like in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Photo © & courtesy of Patricia Rettig


After showing the staff how to decorate properly for Christmas, Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), center, explains everything must be “Sparklejollytwinklejingly” in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

After showing the staff how to decorate properly for Christmas, Buddy (Dan Bob Higgins), center, explains everything must be “Sparklejollytwinklejingly” in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Elf, The Musical, now on stage through Dec. 31.

Photo © & courtesy of Patricia Rettig

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