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Elf - Broadway

A musical version of the popular film returns to Broadway for the holiday season.

How Sweet It Is! Elf's Matthew Gumley Makes Merry on Broadway

How Sweet It Is! Elf's Matthew Gumley Makes Merry on Broadway
Matthew Gumley Photographed at Serendipity 3 by Jenny Anderson
I love Christmas, and seeing other people open the gifts I’ve given them.

Age & Hometown: 13. West Palm Beach, Florida

Current Role: Michael Hobbs, a New York teen who discovers the joys of Christmas from his long-lost half brother (newly arrived from the North Pole) in the new holiday musical Elf.

He’s a Little Tea Cup: By age seven, the precocious Gumley had already landed his first Broadway role as Chip in Beauty in the Beast. “I couldn’t wait. I wasn’t scared. I had probably never felt more relaxed,” he says. The only problem with playing a teacup: “You couldn’t run around a lot or you’d get really hot." Gumley remained in the Disney family as one of the original kid stars in Broadway's Mary Poppins. “Michael Banks is in every scene, so it was quite taxing," he recalls. His favorite moment came on Halloween, when an actor he alternated with in the role suddenly became sick. “I had to go on in the middle of Act One, when George Banks’ line to his children is, ‘What are you doing here?’ So I walked on, and [Daniel H. Jenkins] just looked at me and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ It was the best feeling. The audience loves that kind of thing. It’s live theater!”

All in the Family: As a standby for Pugsley in The Addams Family, Gumley shared the stage with Tony winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth and joked around with video blogger Jackie Hoffman (including a memorable incident involving a cigarette). “Nathan has such impeccable comedic timing," the young actor marvels. "I would watch his body language and movements and the way he said his lines. That was better than any acting school.” Behind the scenes, the cast became like a second family to Gumley. “The show’s Chicago tryout was one of the best times of my life. Everyone was away from their hometown, so we did everything together as a community. We had so many parties…Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, opening night…it was like we were all related.”

Christmas Time Is Here: In his fourth Broadway show, Gumley shares two duets with Tony winner Beth Leavel as his character's doting mom and is featured in three more Elf musical numbers. “I love that Michael is a cool kid, but he never loses sight of his Christmas spirit,”Gumley says. And with eight holiday-centric shows a week, Gumley finds himself in full-on Yuletide mode. “I love Christmas, and seeing other people open the gifts I’ve given them. I’m always the one screaming ‘Open mine next! Open mine next!’”Luckily, his job is like an early holiday present: “This show is so much fun to do," he says with a smile. "We’re goofing off backstage, so sometimes it’s hard to keep a straight face, especially with Beth Leavel and [stage dad] Mark Jacoby. They’re geniuses.”

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