REVIEW BY JESSICA HERMANN
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” exclaimed Justin Ferguson on stage of the most recent Off-Broadstreet musical production.
Ferguson played Buddy the Elf in Wadsworth Middle School’s version of the popular musical Elf Jr. and the play proved to be a great way to kick off the holiday season for young audience members.
Elf Jr. is based upon the motion picture Elf starring Will Ferrell and follows the same plotline. In the original version, a baby by the name of Buddy crawls into Santa’s sack of toys and is accidentally taken to the North Pole. Not wanting to return him to the orphanage he came from, the elves decide to raise him as one of their own. But when Buddy finds out that he is not an actual elf, Santa sends him on a trip to meet his father, Walter Hobbs. The real adventure starts when it is discovered Hobbs is on the naughty list and Buddy tries his best to make him change.
Although the play followed the same story line, the musical aspects and humorous quips incorporated in the show is what made it appeal to a younger audience. Cast members were very exceptional in the areas of singing and dancing, but one of the many noticeable talents was that of Kara Moore.
Moore played the character of Jovie and had a strong vocal arrangement along with dance movement. This of course, was not achieved without significant amounts dedication.
“The middle school students would walk over to the high school right after school and meet in the choir room until 4:30 PM then 5:00 PM closer to the show…a choreographer would come in once or twice a week for several weeks to teach the dances as well. I block, which is telling the actors where to stand and what to do, the show as we go along,” director Mrs. Lake stated, detailing how a typical rehearsal for the play happened.
Rehearsals started as early as late September and a lot of hard work and dedication was put into the many runs. Some students were casted as having multiple roles, but the challenge did not get in the way and individuals were able to make the characters believable in their own, unique way.
When it came to choosing a musical to be performed, Elf Jr. is certainly a more unique choice than what one would imagine.
“Mrs. Davis and I look over many scripts and try to pick one that has a fairly large cast and simple sets. This one seemed like a fun one to perform,” Lake explained when asked how she had chosen this holiday production.
The prop positioning and bright bursts of color sprinkled throughout the various scenes and costume design made a whimsical set three dimensional and magical.
The middle school’s production of the twist on this often classic Christmas movie showed only a small sample of the amazing talent that Wadsworth High School will soon have in their drama department.