Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 12/6/12

It seems like there's no getting away from the gap-toothed face of Michael Strahan these days.  The former New York Giants defensive star splits his week as co-host of "Live with Kelly and Michael" weekday mornings and pops up as an analyst on "Fox NFL Sunday" every weekend. On Wednesday, the ubiquitous Strahan added another skill to his growing resume and made three short appearances at the matinee of "Elf" in his Broadway debut. The musical is adapted from the 2003 Will Ferrell movie of the same name and is about a human raised as an elf at the North Pole who heads to New York City in search of his parents. Strahan played a police officer and a Salvation Army Santa in the first act and appeared as himself in a scene in the second act asking Santa for a present. The single-season sack record holder said he has new found respect for the actors who pound the boards. "I was surprised at how nervous you get and the adrenaline and that feedback from the audience — it really is an amazing thing," said Strahan,  "To see these performers who do it every day — eight or nine times a week — is really amazing." Strahan rehearsed for an hour in the morning and worked with some of the cast before the show. The 6-foot-5 Strahan's stage entrance was met with silence from the audience when he first appeared as the officer but, after he flashed his trademark grin, won over the cheering crowd. In the second act, Strahan waited for Santa to ask him for a present and when he tells the fat man his name is "Michael Strahan" and asks for a red Schwinn bicycle with a bell shaped like Miss Piggy, the audience went wild. Strahan got a big round of applause and a bouquet of flowers from the cast during the curtain call.  He didn't rule out a return to The Great White Way. "I will take it off my bucket list, but if the opportunity came across again, I might just take it up and do it again," he said.  "I had a great time." If you haven't jumpstarted your holiday cheer already, you can see Kelly Ripa fawn all over her co-host when they show highlights from Strahan's adventure on the Live with Kelly and Michael show.

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