TUTS Gets Ready to Wield Some Holiday Stage Magic With Elf The Musical

Quinn VanAntwerp as Buddy in TUTS' production of Elf.
Quinn VanAntwerp as Buddy in TUTS' production of Elf. Photo by Laura Hagen
It's a story of joy and finding one's true self all wrapped up in a Christmas bow of belief in Santa Claus. It's Elf The Musical coming to the Hobby Center thanks to Theatre Under the Stars.

Based on the motion picture starring Will Ferrell as the oversized elf, the musical tells the story of William "Buddy" Hobbs who thanks to a mistake is transported to the North Pole and raised as an elf. Eventually he discovers he is human and goes on a classic journey to discover his true identity.  Which takes him to New York City.

This will be the second time Julia Krohn has been on stage in Elf (last time she was Deb, the secretary) and this time she plays the mom Emily who is married to Buddy's birth father Walter Hobbs. "Getting to do this show again is wonderful and getting to do a different role is very exciting, " she says.

"I always liked the movie. I wasn't really sure how it was going to transition into a musical. but I think it's been created really beautifully," she says. "It's so fun and energetic and I love that I have a 4- and 8-year-old and they're going to be able to come and just be so entertained and I have no doubt it will hold their attention for the entirety which is really hard to do with my kids."

As devoted followers of the show know, Buddy tries to help Walter who has ended up on Santa's naughty list because he doesn't believe in Santa Claus. Walter and Emily have a son named Michael.

Describing her Emily character, Krohn says: "I think she obviously is keeping things together at home because Walter is working all the time and that is his focus in life and not necessarily on her, not necessarily on her son. He's so career-oriented and driven that he's not really part of the family. With my son Michael as the show goes on we’re both just wishing with holiday spirit that this year will be the year that Walter comes back to us and we'll really be a family.

"So I think she's an optimist in the sense that she sort of needs to be to keep things together. She’s concerned that things are going this way and then when we, myself and my son, discover that Santa is real it’s cool that it's not just the kid who is convinced but that Emily goes whole hog, back to being a child herself and feeling that magic again.

Asked how she got involved with theater to begin with, Krohn laughs saying "I think it was in the womb. Both my parents are performers." Her father is actor Charles Krohn and her mother is prima ballerina Chesley Krohn. Her mother was her first dance teacher when she was two. Julia went on to graduate from Houston's High School For the Performing and Visual Arts before going on to the Boston Conservatory. 

The opportunity to perform in Elf again was something she couldn't pass up, she says.

"It's just really joyful and always nice to do if you’re going to have to work over the holidays. It brings me joy; brings other people joy."

Performances of Elf are scheduled for December 7-22 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information call 713-558-8887 or visit $40-$139.
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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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