Jett The Elf


Anabelle Taylor, Journalist

CdM Vocal Music’s production of Elf was not something to be missed. Producers did an excellent job of keeping most original lines and scenes while still finding creative ways to integrate new songs and dances. The scenic design was especially impressive thanks to Meriam Chebil and Olivia Knowles, Trident’s favorite was the elf shop, but a close second was the publishing office where Walter Hobb’s works.

As the lights dimmed, a spotlight shone on Mr. Ball who played Papa Elf. And, not a moment later, Buddy the Elf burst on stage. The casting for this part could not have been better. Jett Collins exuberant energy spilled into this role and made each scene and musical number that much more spirited. Similarly, Tom Eastman, Sabina Martin, and Ava Manly had a stunning performance. Eastman’s commanding and exasperated voice was perfect for Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s no nonsense father who is (gasp) on the naughty list. Sabina Martin was also the ideal choice for Jovie, Martin seemed shy and stand- offish, then blossomed into the spirited person who saved Christmas with her amazing solo at the beginning of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Lastly, Ava Manly, a dancer at CdM, surprised the audience with how easily she transformed into an annoyed, demanding manager at Macy’s.

In Trident’s opinion, the most dynamic scene was when Buddy’s past is revealed- he is not an elf, he’s a human who crawled into Santa’s bag, and his real dad lives in New York City. In this scene, Buddy is in the workshop and overhears the elves talking about his past, and then Santa confirms the truth. Then the scene cuts off stage to Walter Hobbs in his office, then back to Buddy. This transition was done really well. Also, in the following chapter of the play, Buddy leaves the North Pole and says goodbye to the Arctic puppets and they wish him farewell. At this point, Principal Hill emerged in a narwhal onesie and said “Goodbye Buddy!”

Olivia Knowles did an incredible job as the leader of the Triads- the music publishing company for children’s books. Her favorite scene was when the Triads give their pitch to Walter Hobbs and act like divas. Nadia Khazei, who played the vendor of “The World’s Greatest Hot Dogs,” noted that scene as her favorite as well and also added, “I think removing the entire Miles Finch subplot helped the show run smoother and gave more time for other aspects of the show to get a spotlight, such as creating a context for all of the ensembles that performed. I really liked how it was dealt with because it gave the Triads the time to go all out and kind of replace him. Also, I’m glad we removed the shower scene with Buddy and Jovie. It’s a bit creepy.” Looking back on the whole experience, Knowles admired her fellow actors saying, “[Their] performances were spectacular, everyone gave it their all, even though they might not be in Drama.”

Elf was a great way to start off the holiday season; it showcased a variety of CdM talent without missing any iconic details that made the 2003 movie a classic.