Monday, November 22, 2010

Elf the Musical

Elf the Musical, recently opened on Broadway. It is the live-musical-theater interpretation of the movie Elf (2003) starring Will Ferrell. I recently had the opportunity to create illustration and animation for the show's projection designer, Zachary Borovay, who was in charge of telling the parts of the story that needed telling through supplemental visuals. My job was to illustrate a children's book that was projected on the stage while Santa (played by George Wendt) reads it in miniature form from the set on the stage's bottom corner. The picture book that is projected shows the progression of the protagonist, Buddy the Elf, as he goes through his journey from an over-sized Elf in the North Pole, to a New Yorker who finds a new family and then starts his own.
Below is a study for Rudolph, who appears in one of the illustrations.

In addition to creating the eleven illustrations that tell this story, I also had my Broadway choreography debut, animating a dancing penguin who is projected on one side of the stage during a dance number, and a prancing Rudolph who enters on the other side of the stage to be fed a carrot by Buddy. Below is an rough animatic for the Penguin doing his thing.

While it was fun and an honor to work on this project, a magical aspect of this experience is that Elf is being performed at the Al Hirschfeld Theater, on 45th Street in New York City.
Al Hirschfeld has been one of my Illustration Gods since I can remember. His work, which captures
the essence of his subjects in such economical line, has been my favorite since I was a little girl and my Mom would clip his illustrations from the newspaper so that I could hunt for the hidden "Ninas" in his drawings. I have needed to write about him on this blog, and this is a good time to do so.
So, to be continued...