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"Elf The Musical" brings holiday cheer to the Bing Crosby Theater. 

Christian Youth Theater Spokane’s (CYT Spokane) “Elf the Musical” arrived just in time for the holiday season. This spunky musical aired from Nov. 5-14 at the Bing Crosby Theater in downtown Spokane. 

Approaching this musical, I had low expectations. I am obligated to say these expectations were entirely set by my own stunt in youth theater programs when I was younger. 

I anticipated seeing forgotten lines, overlooked choreography, missed cues and the occasional moment when an actor just stares into the audience because they forgot their song. Even then, I would have been satisfied with the performance because I am aware that I can’t expect child actors to perfectly pull off a full-length musical. 

However, CYT Spokane’s “Elf the Musical” blew my expectations out of the water. From promising actors to talented singers, the musical offered an array of talent that I couldn’t have possibly foreseen.  

The actor of the musical’s main character, Buddy the Elf, perfectly encapsulated the spunky and absurd nature of the character. He was accompanied by two astounding actors, who played Walter Hobbs and Emily Hobbs respectively. 

Aside from the characters playing Buddy and the Hobbs family, a few other characters particularly stood out to me. 

I was especially impressed by the astonishing belt and range of the actor who played Jovie. It was surprising to me that there were several harmony sections of music in the show, especially because of how young some of the actors were, but they all pulled it off relatively well. 

The actor who played Deb perfectly encapsulated what it means to be a spirited desk assistant to a grinch-like businessman. Also, the character of Santa Claus was portrayed so flawlessly that I’m sure the children in the audience went home thinking they had truly seen the real deal. 

The musical follows nearly the same story as “Elf” (2003), with most of the same characters and plot points. It’s the tale most of us grew up with; Buddy the Elf takes a magical adventure to New York City after discovering his father lives there.

Alas, his father is on the naughty list, but eventually Buddy evokes just enough Christmas spirit to both save Christmas and restore jolly spirit in those around him. 

The musical itself, written by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, boasts several of the jokes that we all know and love from the movie, but several new ones as well. I didn’t anticipate laughing too much at child-targeted humor, but I was once again proven wrong. 

Of course, the musical excluded some of the more adult content present in the film, including Buddy’s thoughtful yet scandalous gift to his dad. Yet, the performance largely remained captivating.

The actors performed their own set changes, which is fairly uncommon in youth theater, and a volunteer orchestra assured that the music was played without a hinge. 

While the first act did seem a fair bit longer than the second act, I wouldn’t say it detracted too much from the overall energy of the performance. 

Overall, “Elf The Musical” incorporated just enough comedy, touching moments and belief in Santa Claus that entertained both children and adults. The musical was packed with family friendly Christmas fun so that all ages could enjoy the holiday spirit. I really enjoyed this show, and I would love to see what CYT Spokane does in the future. 

Kaelyn New is a staff writer.

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