‘Elf: The Musical’ inspires Christmas spirit

Broadway hit arrives in Jacksonville


Holidays got you down? Feeling a bit jaded this Christmas season?

If so, you’ve got something in common with Jovie, a character played by Tieisha Thomas in the upcoming production of “Elf: The Musical.”

Jovie is working as a store elf at Macy’s in New York City and has become a bit cynical. But something is about to happen that will transform the way she sees her world. It’s a journey she will share with audiences when the hit Broadway show comes to Jacksonville in December.

“If someone is maybe lacking a little Christmas spirit, I guarantee that once you come and see ‘Elf,’ you will leave feeling a lot better than when you first walked in,” Thomas said.

The show is based on the 2003 New Line Cinema film “Elf.” The Broadway version, however, is a musical featuring songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin and book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin.

It tells the story of Buddy, an orphan who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is taken back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is not an elf, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making skills force him to face the truth. He embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help the Big Apple remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Though “Elf” may be mistaken for a kids-only show, Thomas said it’s really a show for everyone.

Audiences, she said, “can expect a Christmas musical that will be big and flashy and colorful and lot of fun. We’ve got an amazing orchestra. We’ve got amazing costumes and scenic designs. Amazing dancers. You can literally see the love and care it took to really build this show.”

Thomas said she finds Jovie an easy character to play, since they are both a lot alike. Originally, she had tried out for a different role but was asked to read for Jovie.

She calls “Never Fall In Love With An Elf” — which she sings — one of her favorite songs of the show. In fact, the relationship between Jovie and Buddy is one reason the show appeals to audiences of all ages.

Thomas grew up in New York and attended The High School of Performing Arts, the school featured in the movie “Fame.” After graduation, however, she didn’t believe in herself enough to pursue an acting career.

That changed five years ago when she stepped off a curb and severely injured herself. She spent the summer in physical therapy, relearning how to walk. During that time, she re-examined her professional choices. She credits God with giving her the strength to make a change.

She said she’s also a big believer in vision boards, which help people clarify their goals.

“I love to write down the things that I want in my life,” she said. “I wrote down: I want to book a national tour.”

She learned about the auditions for “Elf” and did indeed get that national tour.

“Elf: The Musical” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays from Dec. 6 through 11 at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Water St. It is part of the FSCJ Artist Series.

For tickets, go to fscjartistseries.org. Tickets can also be ordered by phone at 904-632-5000 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I’m excited for the audience to travel with us on this journey,” said Thomas. “It’s going to be fun.”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here