Elf the Musical, which has just hit the regional theater market after making a ton of money in New York, tells the story of Buddy, a human child who accidentally ends up at the North Pole after crawling into Santa’s bag one Christmas. His discovery that he’s not just a really big fairy creature leads him to try to reconnect with his roots in, where else, New York City. There, his task is to persuade his doubting father and others to believe in the spirit of Christmas. Ah, those cynical New Yorkers.
Jessica Rush, an Orange, Texas, native, has returned to Houston (where she was last seen in Miss Saigon) to play Buddy’s girlfriend, Jovie, who has to be reinspired to find the magic in the holiday season. Fresh from her Broadway performance in Jersey Boys, Rush says she jumped at the chance to play the “quirky” Jovie in the Theatre Under The Stars production. “I tend to play more traditional ingenues or girls who are not the nicest.” The other advantage is that she can invite the youngest of her relatives to see the show (not the case with Miss Saigon). Even people who’ve already seen the 2003 movie should recognize that live theater is its own special experience, Rush says. “Besides, I think it’s fun to see people dancing around in brightly colored costumes.” The story doesn’t differ much from the Will Ferrell film, but by using music and dance, it tells it in a slightly different way, Rush says.
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7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Through 22. The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-558-8887 or visit tuts.com. $24 to $121.
Fri., Dec. 6, 2 & 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: Dec. 6. Continues through Dec. 22, 2013