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Seattle celebrates holidays on stage

Fun stagings of Holiday Inn and Elf sure to please the family

Holiday Inn plays Seattleā€™s 5th Avenue Theatre through the end of December. Photo courtesy 5th Avenue Theatre

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Like traffic and egg nog-spiced everything, you can count on Seattle delivering Broadway-quality musicals on stage during the month of December. And this year is no exception with Elf in town this week only, and Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn on stage a couple more weeks. Both productions are G-rated fun for the entire family.

Elf

If you can wipe clear the hundreds of quotable lines in Will Farrell's movie, Elf, and not expect a stage production to be as funny, you will love Elf on stage this week at Seattle's Paramount Theater. Elf the Musical is funny with superior voices and whimsical dance routines, but it can't match the movie ... nor should it. Let that go -- there are still some lines lifted from the film, and, even better, new, humorous dialogue and songs that make seeing this a must to complete your entire knowledge of the story about Buddy the Elf (human).

Like the film, the musical is based on one premise, Buddy is all in on the holidays, and his naiveté is both charming and a foil to the rest of the characters.  He's over six-feet tall in the mind of a 9-year-old, trying to make sense of his life, connect with the dad he never knew, and even dip his curled toes for the first time into a serious relationship with a girl.

Easy going -- simple -- familiar ... heck yeah!  Fun for kids, festive, full of color and whimsy ... can I hear a "Merry Christmas!"?

Writers Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and the recently departed Thomas Meehan (Annie) nicely took David Berenbaum's screenplay and kept it light.  They did a brilliant job bringing 21st century-isms into the show, especially with Santa's character, and set the songs up with clarity and nostalgia (for the film).

Hurry, though, this show closes Sunday. For tickets and information, go to stgpresents.org.

Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn is a little less for the kids this year than previous shows during the holidays at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, but for any lover of Irving Berlin or Bing Crosby holiday movies, you'll find a lot to like this season watching a classic return to the stage. And, with a new book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, it is even a fresh take on the original 1942 film.

Showing through Dec. 31, this is a local production by outgoing director David Armstrong with bright scenery, excellent dancing, decent voices and a simple story of a man following his dreams, pining for a girl that appreciates him for him, and with his theater friends putting on the big show to save the farm.  

In many cases, it's a story to frame what most people have come to see -- hearing those old Berlin songs again -- "White Christmas," "Easter Parade," and more.

For tickets, go to 5thavenue.org

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