Preparing for Elf Jr., the Fox High School Theater Troupe will be practicing lines, learning songs, and rehearsing until opening day on December 8, 2017. This year’s musical will be held from December 8 to December 10 at Rickman Auditorium.
Elf Jr. follows the story of Buddy the Elf who, despite the name, learns that he is a human, and that he has a human father living in New York. Filled with enthusiasm, Buddy hurries to the Empire State Building to meet the father he didn’t know had existed. Once there though, the joy is not returned. From there, the story continues as Buddy connects with his newly found family as well as Jovie, the girl who has won Buddy’s admiration. He faces ups and downs throughout the musical, and ultimately the fate of Christmas rests on his shoulders.
This holiday musical is directed by Mr. Samuel Meyer and Mrs. Lydia Hill. The cast is made up of students participating in the Theater Troupe. Buddy the Elf is played by Logan Starkey, senior, and James Woolston who is a sophomore. Lead roles like Buddy’s have been double cast in order to relieve some of the pressure that comes with the part. Jovie will be played by Mackenzie Denzl, sophomore, and Regan Jean, sophomore. Seniors, Emmitt Rodgers and Jacob Parks will play the role of Buddy’s father, Walter Hobbs. Featured roles include the Elves, who will be played by members of the ensemble or students from the elementary or middle schools. Also among the cast list of featured roles is Melisa Grabic, junior, who will be Mr. Hobbs’ secretary, Deb. These cast members will be rehearsing lines and practicing the songs almost daily after school from 2:30 to 5:00. They will also be having rehearsals on Saturday mornings.
Buddy the Elf actor Woolston said that he will “Just try to listen to songs and go over lines all the time.” He also said that he plans to “[b]e happy and ask everyone for hugs” as he prepares for his role. Denzl will also be practicing as she gets ready to play Jovie. She will “listen to the music and practice with my counterpart. I don’t normally have stage fright so I’m not to worried, but some of the songs make me nervous.”
Besides knowing the lines and songs, the actors also “have to know all their blocking and choreography,” Meyer said, “and that’s just the acting stuff. They also have to know their costume, prop, and scenery changes.” And the actors are not the only ones who need to know what they are doing to keep the musical running smoothly. “The technicians have to know all their cues, lights, sound, scenery, props, costumes, and makeup.”
All these extra tasks for the actors and technicians is what makes a musical so different from plays when it comes to rehearsal. “It takes a lot more time and effort,” said Meyer. “There’s at least two extra sections you have to add to the rehearsal process. The first kind is music rehearsal, learning the music itself. The second is choreography. Luckily Mrs. Hill will be teaching the music so I’m confident that will go really well,” Meyer added.
Hill has directed many musicals in the past, but this is the first time that she will be getting involved in the high school theater in the last few years. “Me being the music director,” Hill said, “We’ll start going over the music and rehearsing it to make sure they are all ready.”
Also unlike plays, in musicals “the scenery is often much more complicated,” Meyer said. “In a play you have one set or a small number of scenes whereas musicals take place in many locations.”
With all the added stresses of a musical, the Theater Troupe will do it’s best to prepare for opening day. “A show is like a big machine,” he said, “that we help the students build. The students are the machinery and all we as directors do is press start.”