Remember how at the end of Elf, the Will Ferrell movie, Buddy’s Grinch-like dad (spoiler!) ditches his job so he can spend the holidays with his family? Well, in the Broadway musical version of that movie, running through January 2, the same thing happens. Only the guy who plays Buddy’s dad, along with the rest of the cast, will actually have to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas. When we asked around at the show’s lavish opening night party last Sunday (sundae bar, crêpes station, a wall of desserts, and two tables full of candy), most of the performers were aware of their ironic predicament, claiming to just be happy to have a job. “I think you’re definitely right about Thanksgiving,” said Mark Jacoby, who plays said Grinch-like dad. But then we asked if he knew about the two shows he was scheduled to do on Christmas. He did not. “Two shows on Christmas day? All right. I’m definitely calling my agent. This is not working for me. The song I sing is ‘Christmas Always Gets in the Way,’ and I guess this year it will.”
The cast will spend Thanksgiving morning in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then do an evening show, while carefully monitoring their food intake in the hours in between. “No way I can do [the show with] a food coma,” said Sebastian Arcelus, who plays Buddy. Other concerns include not being able to fit into costumes and possible puking from eating a large meal and dancing for two hours. On Christmas, their families will have to come to the show, since they’re doing both a matinee and evening performance that day. We heard a lot of waxing on about how this is showbiz, and that the greatest gift of all would be bringing the Christmas spirit to other New Yorkers. But Beth Leavel, who plays Buddy’s stepmom, was the only one able to put a positive spin on working through holidays: Working on Christmas means someone else will have to clean up the mess. At least they have the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve off.