East Penn Press

Monday, January 21, 2019

Pa. Playhouse taps inner ‘Elf’

Thursday, November 30, 2017 by LUKE MUENCH Special to The Press in Focus

While many theaters this time of year celebrate the holidays with more well-known or traditional plays, the Pennsylvania Playhouse, 390 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem, stands out from the crowd with “The Happy Elf,” Dec. 1 - 17.

“[The Playhouse] wanted to stay away from ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ‘A Christmas Story’ and ‘Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ because other theaters were presenting them,” explains director Bill Mutimer. “This was a good fit for the Holiday Season.”

“The Happy Elf” works to touch on the holiday season and spirit for all individuals.

While the play is written with a story that young children can grasp, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

“It’s really aimed at families. For kids, the joy of Christmas, Santa and Mrs. Claus but also the elves. Parents get the humor of being a parent at Christmastime. The problems of balancing work, life and the holidays. But both share the humor of the elves and Santa and the music.”

This version of the play will presented with a much smaller cast. Says Mutimer:

“Pennsylvania Youth Theater had two casts of 75 and Scranton had one cast of over 80 people. We are using the musical tracks that Harry Connick and his band laid down for the show. So, in essence, we will be singing with Harry’s band. Plus a few other little surprises you will have to come out to see.”

“The Happy Elf” looks to reinforce some of the most important morals and ideas that come with the season, such as, says Mutimer, “To be kind, to let your happiness shine, that inside everything and everyone there is good. And family is important and spending time with each other is the best present of all.”

Audiences will get to see this as the main character, Eubie, learns to be a better elf and truly embrace the goodness that can be inspired by Christmas.

“He’s not really a role model. He’s an elf who is always happy and gets into trouble by playing around instead of doing his work. His energy and enthusiasm for happiness and joy are contagious but also can be a little much to handle as some of the elves state in the play. But his desire to do good and show Molly and Curtis the joy of Christmas and bring it back to Bluesville is a wonderful journey.”

The Pennsylvania Playhouse Theater looks to give families a chance to get out of the house and enjoy a heart lifting narrative together.

“[It provides] a chance to have a few moments away from the pressures of the holiday season with family and friends to remember what the holiday’s are truly about ... family, happiness and friendship. Plus, a bounce in their step, a song in their heart, and a renewed dedication that not everything is as it seems and sometimes you have to look for the good inside everyone,” Mutimer says.

Tickets: Pennsylvania Playhouse Box Office, 390 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem; www.paplayhouse.org; 610-865-1192.