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Santa’s big helper spreads the cheer

In the Broadway production of “Elf,” based on the 2003 hit film, Sebastian Arcelus crams as much Christmas cheer into a pair of vibrant green tights as he possibly can in the role of Buddy, the most enthusiastic of all of Santa’s helpers.

In the Broadway production of “Elf,” based on the 2003 hit film, Sebastian Arcelus crams as much Christmas cheer into a pair of vibrant green tights as he possibly can in the role of Buddy, the most enthusiastic of all of Santa’s helpers. Arcelus took a break from a grueling production schedule before opening night to share his holiday spirit.

Is it possible for anyone to love Christmas as much as Buddy? How do you feel about the holiday?

I think Buddy would say that everyone should love Christmas as much as he does! I mean, what is there not to love? Personally, I’ve always particularly enjoyed the holiday season, but I will admit that playing Buddy has certainly upped the wattage on my Christmas joy.

Was it a stretch to play a role that optimistic and sweet? You do live in New York, where pessimism is ingrained in our day-to-day lives.

Well, I’m a New Yorker, born and bred, so I would argue that we’re not so much pessimistic as we are, say, focused. And realistic. And, while I like to think of myself as a pretty nice guy, I will say that Buddy easily puts most nice guys to shame. He’s a deep, deep well of positivity. … And, yeah, OK, I suppose that might be a rarity in this town. … Or any town.

We hear the schedule preparing for “Elf” has been really tight.

We had three weeks of rehearsal and just under two weeks preparing in the theater. We officially opened on Sunday, so that’d be about six weeks from start to finish. For mounting a Broadway show, that’s a tight schedule.

What will you be doing for Christmas this year?

Well, besides donning Buddy’s tights every night, I think it might just be a quiet Christmas at home for me and my family. After our run, you can bet this elf will be heading south to a warm, sunny beach.

 
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