Elf the Musical
Book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin
Music by Matthew Sklar
Lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Sierra Repertory Theatre- East Sonora Theatre; November-December 2022
Direction: James Christian
Lighting Design: Catherine M. Pratt
Scenic Design: Whitney Lehn Meltz
Projection Design: Steve Channon
Costume Design: Martha Clark
Sound Design: Tatiana Covington-Parra
Photography: Catherine M. Pratt
Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.
With COVID keeping families apart, creating challenges to celebrate together, this season we wanted to bring back the magic of the holidays. Buddy reminds us all that no matter the circumstances, there is always a reason to celebrate the season. For lighting, Christmas decorations allowed us to see the magic that Buddy sees everyday around him. At the North Pole, Christmas lights decorate the village, reminding us of the season. These disappear when we travel to New York City, showing us the reality that many of us face- the stress, hustle, and endless lists to get ready to celebrate the season. As Buddy shows us the magic of Christmas, we see this magic come to life both in warm lighting as well as the Christmas lights. Even Mr. Hobbs office gets the warmth of the holidays in the end.
Lighting followed Buddy's journey, creating a warm, uplifting environment that welcomed the Christmas magic. This is first seen at the North Pole, where Buddy is excited to help build toys and partake in the busy Christmas season. Yet, as he brings this spirit to New York City, there is a void of Christmas. To highlight this void, cool lighting colors come in. Yet, as Buddy brings the Christmas magic, he warms up the environment, allowing the Christmas spirit to grow and flourish.
To pull the audience into the production, Christmas lights were also incorporated into the audience seating area. Lightly glowing as the audience entered the theatre, they helped set the mood for the holiday season. Yet, they also included a bit of magic. Near the end of the production when Santa's sleigh lifts off, these lights grow in brightness to capture the audience's spirits and bring the magic out to the audience, making them a part of the story.