A beloved holiday movie is set to become an unforgettable theatrical treat when the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse opens its 41st season with the area debut of ELF THE MUSICAL, a new stage version of the Will Ferrell comedy smash. Running through Dec. 30, this fast-paced, hilarious, touching production is sure to start your family’s holiday season in style and will be brought to life by a fantastic cast of area favorites and gifted actors new to the Rock Island venue.

ELF THE MUSICAL will be staged at Circa ’21 on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:45 p.m., Sundays at 5:45 p.m., and Wednesday matinées at 1:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $51.98 for the evening dinner-and-show productions and $45.15 for the plated-lunch matinées, with reduced prices for students and seniors, and groups of 12 or more also available for all performances.

Reservations are available through the Circa ’21 ticket office. For reservations, contact the theatre at 1828 Third Ave., Rock Island, ILL., or by calling 309-786-7733 ext. 2. Online reservations also can be made by visiting circa21.com.

In ELF THE MUSICAL, the young orphan, Buddy,  mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to, and eventually raised in, the North Pole. Buddy, though, is unaware that he’s actually a human and not an elf, 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. But when he’s faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true spirit of Christmas.

A modern-day holiday classic that’s sure to make audiences embrace their inner elves, ELF: THE MUSICAL made its Broadway debut in the fall of 2010 and boasts songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (Disney’s ALADDIN on Broadway), with a book by Tony winners Thomas Meehan, of THE PRODUCERS, and Bob Martin, of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. The show found crowds and critics united in their praise, with the New York Times calling it “a merry treat for the holiday season,” and NewJerseyNewsRoom.com labeling the show “jolly holiday entertainment decked out with a bunch of crowd-rousting songs.”

Directing and choreographing this area premiere of ELF: THE MUSICAL is longtime Circa ’21  favorite Ann Nieman, whose other productions for the venue have included Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS, ANNIE and JOSEPH…..DREAMCOAT. Travis Smith is back as musical director after just doing the same in Circa ’21’s last production RING OF FIRE.  He is also a cast member in the show!  Taking on the Will Ferrell role of the sweet and goofy Buddy is debuting Circa ’21 performer Luke Rose, whose credits include roles in such musicals as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE and MAMMA MIA!

Joining Rose in this delightful holiday musical are a number of talents familiar to frequent patrons at Circa ’21: Erin Churchill, CATS, Paige Denton, GHOST THE MUSICAL, Joey Boos, PHANTOM, Sarah Philabaum, THE MUSIC MAN, Caitie L. Moss and Miranda Sloan, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, and married performers and Circa ’21 favorites Tom and Shelley Walljasper.

Also appearing in ELF: THE MUSICAL are several gifted actors making their first appearances on the Circa ’21 stage, including TJ Besley, ANYTHING GOES, Jeremy Littleton, SHREK: THE MUSICAL, Felicia Martis, SISTER ACT and Michael Fisher, who appeared in the National Tour of ELF THE MUSICAL last year! And 10 area students appear as the musical’s youth ensemble: Julian Anderson, Croix Baker, Joseph Brune, Nate Cederoth, Trey Gordon, Brennan Hampton, Lily Hansel, Leah Kuehl, Josie Roland and Macy Stierwalt.

Circa ’21’s entire team is delighted to be opening its 41st season with a tuneful, colorful, laugh-filled production that audiences are sure to adore. They urge patrons to make reservations for what is certain to be the theatrical smash of the holidays. Call the Circa ’21 ticket office at 309-786-7733, ext. 2 for tickets, and treat your family, and yourself, to the seasonal gift of  ELF THE MUSICAL!


Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who has been writing professionally since debuting at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California masters program, he has written over 50 books including the best-sellers The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone and We Are All Characters.