Autumn leaves fall. Slightly petrified the leaves and twigs crack underfoot. Football season is in full swing, college rivalries live or die. And hockey is but an ice cold breath away. Halloween has come and gone, belly’s full of candy. It’s that time of year.

Yes, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

It’s time for Christmas decorations to magically fill the stores. It’s time to plan for the season ahead. And even should the stores lag behind for any reason, the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime and UpTV are right there to remind us! C’mon folks. It’s time to get your “SparkleJollyTwinkleJingly” on!

I know. I know. “Too soon!” you say. However, for anyone in the theater/music/dance biz we’ve been immersed in it for months. It is the nature of the beast we call show. In order to make your Holiday Season complete, we have to ready our people, their talents and the performance selections well in advance. Just as the retail outlets you’ll frequent in the next weeks began their planning and purchasing way in advance, so have we all.

I only bring this up because I’ve personally been immersed in “SparkleJollyTwinkleJingly” now since late last year. Only a little at first, when I sought the license to perform “Elf, the Musical” at the Old Town Playhouse. I was able to gain early access to this new, hit musical for presentation this holiday season. Then there was the director selection process late last spring. Production meetings and plans began right alongside the Hallmark Channel’s “Christmas in July” presentation sweep. Since mid-September we’ve been off to the races with auditions and rehearsals.

Now, there’s an incredibly tall man (6-feet, 8-inches or so!) impersonating an elf running around the theater daily wreaking havoc, albeit controlled havoc, as demanded by the deliciously funny script. Throw in a whole bunch of more normal sized elves — is there really such a thing? Stir in a warm-your-heart romance, a search for the family you’ve never known, add a dollop of Santa Claus and you’ve got yourself an instant holiday classic musical based on the hit film starring Will Ferrell that fills our TV sets every Christmas for 24 hours.

Whether you are a Ferrell fan or not, this musical is a treat. A slightly softer story than the one you may be familiar with from the film, including a few different characters and twists. It is fun, joyous and maybe more to the point, infectious. There are earworms galore to carry you through the holidays. I catch myself singing some of them throughout the day with a smile.

The music is by the young composing team of Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin: “The Wedding Singer,” “Elf, the Musical,” and this year’s Tony-nominated “The Prom,” which they wrote along with “Elf” book writer Bob Martin. He shared book credit on this show with the late, great Thomas Meehan, who knows a good family show when he sees one having penned the super hit “Annie.”

“Elf, the Musical” is destined to become another Christmas classic that will grace many a stage in the ensuing years. We, at Old Town Playhouse, just get a chance to be among the first to present this happy, holiday candy cane to audiences. Opening Nov. 15 and running through Dec. 14, you’ll want to get your tickets early … you know, like right now after Halloween, when, as we all know, Christmastime really starts!

Phil Murphy is the executive director for the Old Town Playhouse. Find out more at

Recommended for you