Capital One Hall presents ‘The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical’ in Tysons

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Elf on the Shelf' at Capital One Hall (Part 1)

It’s become an annual holiday tradition for families to spot The Elf on the Shelf at home.

Now, check out “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical” at Capital One Hall on Nov. 28.

“It’s a fantastic story about faith, hope and love — that’s what brings Christmas spirit to everybody,” Director Sam Scalamoni told WTOP. “It’s a real Broadway-style musical, a two-act musical, there’s a great story involved … there’s amazing dancing done by our choreographer Charlie Sutton from Broadway, our elves are fantastic tap dancers.”

The show follows two storylines both of a grieving family and the elves at the North Pole.

“It tells you all the great secrets about where these elves come from, how they train and what they do,” Scalamoni said. “There’s also this wonderful story about this family who has recently lost their dad. They’re trying to make it through the holidays and grandpa brings this elf to them to try to cheer them up. It’s a struggle everybody can relate to these days.”

The songbook features all original songs with a closing touch of a traditional carol.

“It’s actually all original work by two great writers, Sara Wordsworth and Russ Kaplan, who wrote the Broadway show ‘In Transit,'” Scalamoni said. “All of the songs are original to the story, but there is the classic ‘Silent Night’ that we touch on at the end.”

The music is combined with dazzling visual effects and festive set design.

“It snows on stage,” Scalamoni said. “This year we have some new special effects that we’ve never had before. We also have some great projections and LED effects that make the show feel three dimensional. … You go to the North Pole, you get to see the elf get his magic and fly through the air, and you go to this family’s house.”

“The Elf on the Shelf” began as a popular children’s picture book illustrated by Coë Steinwart and written by Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell in 2005. It also inspired a hit toy figurine that won the Best Toy Award by Learning Express in 2008.

“We’ve been really lucky to partner with them,” Scalamoni said. “They are wonderful people who love storytelling and love the spirit of Christmas. They were really keen to make a musical that not only told the story, but told it in a really high-level way.”

The tour began Nov. 12 in Easton, Pennsylvania, before traveling the country.

“The tour plays a different venue every night,” Scalamoni said. “Tonight they’re in Indianapolis, last night they were in Fort Wayne, Indiana, they’re going down south to Atlanta, they’re going to be up north in Boston. … We’re so excited to come to Tysons.”

It might not be Thanksgiving yet, but it’s never too early to get into the Christmas spirit.

“You get that burst of Christmas spirit,” Scalamoni said. “It’s never too early. People say, ‘How do you work on a show that’s so Christmasy so early in the season?’ Christmas is all year long. It’s about spirit. It’s not just about trees and lights, it’s about that spirit.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Elf on the Shelf' at Capital One Hall (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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