Words by Penny Neef. Photos by Ken Ek.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I feel grateful, joyous and almost giddy that live theater is returning to Hampton Roads. I’m vaccinated and happy to see staged readings by Norfolk Playwrights Collective at Little Theatre of Norfolk, big Broadway musicals at Chrysler Hall,
jazz at Attucks Theatre, and family friendly holiday shows.
One great big holiday show is coming to Norfolk for one night only. The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical will be at Chrysler Hall on Tuesday, November 30 at 6:00 pm. It is inspired by the wildly popular box set The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. The stage show is an original story and score by some of Broadway’s best, like director Sam Scalamoni, whose credits include Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Elf the Musical.
If you are not familiar with Elf on the Shelf, you’ve been hiding under a rock since the early 2000’s. Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition was self-published in 2005 by Carol Aebersold and her daughter, Chandra Bell. It is based on their family tradition of hiding a little toy elf around the house in the days before Christmas as a “Santa scout elf”. The book came with a little toy elf. The elf would report back to Santa on the behavior of good little girls and boys. The only rule was no one could touch the Elf.
Parents and kids loved the concept. Millions of books and elves were sold. Elves would show up each morning around the house, in a game of hide and seek that has become wildly creative.
I spoke to 18-year-old Bryanna Colon from Chicago, who is on her first national tour, playing 14-year-old Ella. Ella is the oldest daughter of a family who is having some tough times during the holiday season.
Colon has been performing since she was four and is a seasoned professional. She doesn’t want to give away the story, except to say that Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical is the story of “behind the scenes of what the Santa’s elves are doing, and behind the scenes of what some families are going through during Christmas.”
There are many elves, both girls and boys, in this musical. They make for some great, toe-tapping production numbers. One “particularly impressive” Scout Elf is assigned to a new, human family that needs help finding the joy in Christmas again. Bryanna Colon promises that no matter “how old you are or what you may or may not believe in”, Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical will be “joyous, unique, and perfect for the holidays.”
This is a show that the whole family can experience together. Colon says being out on the road, performing in front of a live audience “makes my heart flood with emotion.” Seeing the audiences, grandparents, parents and children coming together for a live performance on opening night, “the cast held hands and cried together” at the curtain call.
There will only be one show of Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical in Hampton Roads this holiday season - Tuesday, November 30 at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.