“Elf the Musical, JR.” takes the stage at St. Ephrem School for the holiday season

The St. Ephrem School Drama Club, led by musical director Susan Huizinga, staged “Elf the Musical, JR.” just in time for the winter holidays. The participating students performed four shows over the weekend of December 8-10, after two months of preparation.

This was the drama club’s second year, and they chose a kid-friendly version of the musical that was originally based off the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel and James Caan.

Last year, the drama club had a huge success performing Disney’s “Aladdin JR.” Many of the children who performed last year returned for this year’s production, as they enjoyed their acting experiences.

The cast consisted of 28 students from Grades three through seven and five members of grade eight who worked in the stage crew behind-the-scenes. This year, Huizinga asked Richard Diffendale, the seventh grade homeroom teacher at St. Ephrem School, also to be a part of the production and perform in two shows as Buddy the Elf’s biological father, Walter Hobbs.

“I’m excited to be acting at St. Ephrem School again,” Diffendale, 33, said. “It’s been 20 years since I portrayed Slippery Sam Slattery in my eighth grade play “The Castaways” on this very stage.”

In an attempt to give all the children an opportunity to perform, the cast was split into two groups, with some of the budding actors performing in the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon shows. The roles were then assumed by other students for the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon shows.

The children worked out their opening night jitters to shine through by the final matinee performance of the weekend. They can’t wait until next year’s show, which has yet to be determined!

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