Elf the musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS

The Broadway Production (2011)
Elf the Musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS


ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole.

Buddy is raised unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.

Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list and his stepbrother doesn t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Act I

When he sits down to watch TV after his Christmas deliveries and realizes that the football game he tried to TiVo has been recorded over, Santa decides to tell the Christmas story of Buddy, the Elf.

Lights up on Buddy, an oversized elf, excitedly getting ready for another day's work in Santa's workshop. At work, Charlie the shop manager informs the Elves they must work twice as hard this year, because more and more humans no longer believe in Santa and that Christmas spirit is what makes Santa's sleigh fly. Later, Charlie checks on Buddy's progress making his toys. As usual, he is way behind the others and feels terrible about it. Charlie asks him take a break, and as he does Buddy overhears a conversation in which Charlie reveals that Buddy is actually a human. It is Buddy's worst nightmare. Santa sits Buddy down and tells him the story of how he accidentally brought him back to the North Pole when Buddy's mother died. He tells Buddy that his father lives and works in New York City but is on the "naughty list". Determined to save his father with Christmas spirit, Buddy sets off for New York.

When he arrives at his father, Walter's office in the Empire State Building, he finds him ranting to his wife and son about Christmas being a complete annoyance. Walter is stunned to hear Buddy's declaration that he is his son and calls security to take him away. They drop him at Macy's where a manager mistakes him for an employee sent down from the corporate office to check on things. As they decorate the store all of the employees begrudge their overly happy new co-worker, until they too catch Buddy's infectious Christmas spirit. When everyone goes to leave for the night, Buddy asks, Jovie, his favorite co-worker on a date. She accepts. The next morning a department store Santa arrives. Buddy accuses him of being a fake and they fight. The police are called and take Buddy to his father's apartment.

Emily and Michael are at home, trying in vain to build Michael's science project. Buddy agrees to help if they will in turn summon some Christmas spirit to write Christmas letters to Santa. They sit down to ask Santa for the one thing they never get, some quality time with Walter. Buddy fixes the science project to high-fives and hugs just as Walter walks in. Resistant at first, Emily talks him into allowing Buddy to stay the night. In the morning a Fed-Ex man arrive with the results of a DNA test. When they first met, Emily plucked one of Buddy's hairs and sent it off for testing. The results confirm he is Walter's son. Buddy is elated. Walter is not, especially since he must take Buddy with him to work so Emily can attend a meeting.

Newly clothed in a business suit, Buddy excitedly accompanies Walter to work. When Walter's boss comes in and threatens to fire him, Buddy's rambunctious curiosity and playfulness are not a welcome distraction. Later that night, Jovie and Buddy go on their date. At first it isn't going well, but soon things turn around. Buddy promises to give Jovie a real Christmas and a Christmas Eve dinner at Tavern on the Green like she's always dreamed. They kiss. Meanwhile Walter, still at work, has been just been given a manuscript for a Children's story that could save his job. Buddy bursts in to tell Walter he's in love, and while Walter talks with colleagues, Buddy decides to make "snow" by putting the manuscript through the shredder. The manuscript destroyed, Walter explodes with anger and tells Buddy to get out of the apartment and his life.


Act II

The Santa from the beginning of the play hurries back from intermission to again take-up the tale of Buddy, the Elf.

Back at the apartment Buddy leaves an apology and goodbye letter for Walter, Emily, and Michael. Then he wanders New York until he ends up at a Chinese restaurant with several other "Santas" and "Elves" on Christmas Eve. They complain about the state of Christmas and children these days. When they leave to return home to their families Buddy remembers he was supposed to go on another date with Jovie. Elsewhere, Jovie stands in front of the Tavern on the Green, upset and waiting for Buddy as she has been for 2 hours. Buddy arrives, apologizes, and gives Jovie the snow-globe Santa gave him when he left the North Pole. Still upset, Jovie leaves.

When Emily and Michael find Buddy's note they are deeply saddened. Emily tells Michael that though she loves him, Buddy is crazy for believing in Santa at thirty years old. Just then Santa's sleigh flies through the sky and makes a renewed believer out of both of them. They rush to Walter's office to tell him and find him in a desperate plea to come up with an idea for a new children's book before his boss arrives to hear the pitch. Greenway, Walter's boss arrives and as Walter begins his awful pitch, Buddy comes in. As a present to Walter, Buddy gives Greenway the story of Buddy, the Elf. Greenway loves it, but he wants to change it to a Horse instead of an Elf, and he wants Walter to work with him on it all night and the next day, Christmas. Walter quits, having finally decided to spend time with his family, and Greenway storms out.

When Michael tells Buddy they saw Santa's sleigh land, Buddy realizes the sleigh has run out of the Christmas spirit that allows it to run. They run to help and find Santa sitting glumly beside his sled. Nearby Buddy spots a camera news crew. He grabs the microphone and begs all of New York to believe, sing and spread Christmas spirit so Santa can fly again. Jovie arrives, convinced, as other random New Yorkers join the movement, and Santa's sleight again takes flight. Santa invites Buddy to return to the North Pole with him, but Buddy decides to stay, finally feeling like he belongs. We now transition back to the Santa that began both acts as he closes the storybook and goes to answer the knock at the door. In come Michael, Emily, Walter, Buddy, Jovie, and their new baby, Buddy Hobbs to celebrate Christmas as they now do every year.

Read more: Elf: the Musical Lyrics
Synopsis to Elf the Musical plot