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Broadway unwraps ‘Elf’ for Christmas

Long-brewing musical opens in November

The long-gestating musical adaptation of “Elf” will finally get a holiday run on Broadway, beginning perfs at the Hirschfeld Theater in November.

Legit version of the 2003 New Line pic is produced by Warner Bros. Theater Ventures in association with Unique Features, the company founded in 2008 by former New Line toppers Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne.

Tuner has a score by “The Wedding Singer” team of composer Matthew Sklar and lyricist Chad Beguelin, with book by Thomas Meehan (“Hairspray”) and Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”). Casey Nicholaw (“Drowsy”) directs.

Limited-run holiday fare has become increasingly common on Broadway in the last few years, with two annual outings of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” followed by a couple of visits from “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.”

While the holidays traditionally bring an influx of business to the Main Stem, a limited-run musical can still prove a challenge in terms of commercial viability: offerings have the high production budgets of a musical, but only a short number of weeks in which to recoup those costs. Last season’s outing of “White Christmas,” for instance, didn’t make its money back.

Plot of “Elf,” which starred Will Ferrell on the bigscreen, follows a human-sized helper of Santa who travels from the North Pole to Gotham to discover his true identity.

Stage project has been in development for several years, originally under the auspices of New Line’stheatrical division, which was a producer on “Wedding Singer” and “Hairspray.” Unique Features also has a stage version of New Line pic “Secondhand Lions” in the works. Company has a three-year first-look deal with Warner Bros.

Casting and design team have not yet been confirmed for “Elf.” Show begins perfs Nov. 2 ahead of a Nov. 10 opening, and will run through Jan. 2.

If the tuner is successful, it has the potential to return the following season in an attempt to establish itself as an annual holiday production. Show also could find future life in yearly regional incarnations, as “White Christmas” has.

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