October 5, 2023

Newtowne Players’ ‘Yuletide Yuk-Fest’


Prepare to laugh until you shake like a bowl full of jelly because “Elf” is coming to “sleigh” audiences at Three Notch Theatre in Lexington Park.

This yuletide yuk-fest, based on the movie directed by Jon Favreau, with a score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, and the adaptation written by Bob Martin and Thomas Meehan, will definitely warm hearts and put a massive, elf-like grin on your face this holiday season.

The story of Elf should be familiar to anyone who already loves the classic Christmas comedy from 2003. The central character, Buddy (played by Kenneth Faison with joy, hilarity, and just a slight hint of attitude) is an “elf” who lives in the North Pole with Santa (Paul Rose, who imbues St. Nick with a funny, subtle hue of warm crankiness) and the other elves, played in this production as hilarious puppets.

The twist, of course, is that Buddy is no elf, but rather a man, who must travel to New York City to find his real family. He soon meets his long lost father, Walter Hobbs (played as a business-minded grinch by Patrick Schoenberger). After thoroughly annoying said father, Buddy is swept off to the department store “North Pole,” and meets and instantly gets a crush on Jovie, a Macy’s employee who has forgotten about the magic of Christmas and refuses to sing for anyone (wistfully performed by Kellie Podsednik). After causing yet another hilarious ruckus after meeting a knock-off Santa Claus, Buddy is shipped off once more to his father’s home, where he meets Walter’s wife, Emily (Dawn Weber playing a mom with a New York edge), and son, Michael (who’s friendship with Buddy is heartwarmingly depicted by Finn Kantor).

Will this new family accept the eccentric Buddy into the fold? Will Jovie overcome her skepticism of the holidays? Will Buddy inspire peace on earth and good will toward men in the Big Apple? Come see “Elf” for all of those answers and more.

The Elf Himself, Kenneth Faison, spoke about his character: “It’s finding the right balance of being super cartoony, but also having those moments of realism, like he’s a real person!” Kellie Podsednik agreed, while speaking on her character, Jovie: “Jovie’s an interesting character, there’s a sense of realism to her … but she falls in love with a 30-year-old man who thinks he’s an elf!”

Dawn Weber added that the show “has such a spirit of whimsy and delight,” and Paul Rose “liked working with a very diverse and eclectic group of people. I have a soft spot for Christmas shows. With a droll little mouth drawn up like a bow, Rose added, “I like dressing up.” When asked about surprises during the rehearsal process, Director Tim Joyce described how one of his actors was “cast in a role that required them to be able to tap-dance, and I did not realize that when I cast them … turns out that they are a trained tap-dancer. I was very lucky to find that out.”

Integral to the show’s sense of festive wonder is the set, which makes ample use of the rotating stage (courtesy of set designer Chris Maulden), as well as a rotating backdrop, which makes shifting from the North Pole to New York City a breeze. The costumes (designed by Shawn Davidson) recall all the warm, fuzzy feelings of Christmas, and a veritable Santa’s sack worth of props are ably managed by Rosann Stamper. Last but certainly not least, the wonderful, show-stopping dance numbers were choreographed by Kristan Kauffman.

The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 pm November 12 – December 12 at the Three Notch Theatre at 21744 South Coral Drive, Lexington Park, MD.

Tickets may be purchased online here. Discounts are available for seniors, students, military, and children younger than 12.

This article was provided by the Newtowne Players.

Random Act of Kindness

For more about Lexington Park, visit the St. Mary’s County Community Development Corporation’s Leader member page.

46940 South Shangri-La Drive, Suite 7, Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-863-7700 / [email protected]

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