‘Elf, Jr.’ opens Saturday

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ
“Elf, Jr.” the musical opens Saturday at the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse, put on by young thespians through the Marshalltown Community Theatre. Twenty children, ages 8-15, appear in the show. Showtimes are Dec. 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ “Elf, Jr.” the musical opens Saturday at the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse, put on by young thespians through the Marshalltown Community Theatre. Twenty children, ages 8-15, appear in the show. Showtimes are Dec. 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.

What happens when a young child named Buddy accidently crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is taken to the North Pole, and is then raised by elves? What happens when he discovers he is different from the others and wants to travel to New York to meet his birth father? These are questions that are answered in “Elf, Jr.” the musical, which opens Saturday at the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse, put on by young thespians through the Marshalltown Community Theatre.

For those familiar with the screen adaptation, the play is very similar, but with more musical numbers. It also sports a kids-only cast.

“It’s fun to hear adult lines come out of little people,” said the play’s director, Vanessa Engel.

Twenty youngsters, ages 8-15, play 40 roles. In addition, students from MHS have helped with set design and with lighting. Assistant directing is provided by Scott Lindborg, with assistant production by Nicole Lynch.

“We really try to make sure kids get to put their creativity in it,” Engel said.

With a script by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin, the show runs a little over an hour. The main characters are as follows: Buddy, played by Jason Strand; Jovie, by Averi Bolar; Walter Hobbs by Lucas Hagen; Emily Hobbs by Liz Lange; Michael Hobbs, by Garrett McKibbin; Santa, by Sammuel Wilder.

“It’s exciting to instill a love of theater in young people,” Engel said. “For some, this is their first time being in a show, and it’s fun to see the sparkle they have to continue on.”

Lenihan Intermediate School pupils were invited to come see the play today.

“It’s a high-energy show. I think people will like it,” Engel said.

The show runs Dec. 9 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for students, and kids 12 and under are $5. This play is not on the season ticket, and is general seating. The box office is open from noon to 2 p.m. Monday-Saturday by calling 641-752-4164, and one hour before each show starts. To learn more, visit www.marshalltowncommunitytheatre.org.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com