CB Interviews Musical Theatre of Anthem’s Cast of Elf Jr

Myself in Jovie’s last costume, when she emerges from the crowd to spread her newly discovered Christmas spirit.

Performing in a show during the holiday season can be a challenging feat. This winter, I was cast as the role of Jovie in Elf The Musical Jr. Although Jovie works at the local Macy’s, has never seen snow, and is a bit rough around the edges, she finds herself falling in love with Buddy the Elf…Who is later the inspiration for a song called “Never Fall in Love (With an Elf)“. Buddy is a character whom our director described as a “labrador puppy”, referencing his fun and energetic attitude.

MTI International summarizes Elf Jr as: “Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh reality that his father is on the naughty list and that his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.”

I was part of the cast of Elf Jr for two months, and throughout the run,  had the amazing opportunity to interview several cast members of Musical Theatre of Anthem’s production of Elf The Musical Jr, and I learned all of their favorite things about community theatre, from the show itself to what they enjoy doing after rehearsals.

I first heard from the star of the show, playing my opposite, Buddy the Elf. His name is J.R., and he embodied Buddy impeccably onstage.

J.R. – Buddy the Elf

Onstage with J.R., who plays Buddy in MTA’s Elf Jr. Photo by Michele Celentano.

Been Performing in Theatre: Almost 1 Year

Favorite Number in the Show: “The Story of Buddy the Elf” 

Theatre Has Made Him: More Outgoing

CB: “What’s the best part about being in a show during the holiday season?”

J.R.: “All my family flies out for the holidays so they get to come see my shows, which is always exciting.”

CB: “What element of your character is most like yourself?”

J.R.: “Buddy is a child in a man’s body, which is me on a daily basis. He also has a short attention span, like me.”

I then interviewed three other spectacular members of the cast:

Derion – Chadwick

Been Performing in Theatre: Just Over 1 Year

Favorite Number in the Show: “The Story of Buddy the Elf”

Theatre Helped Him With: Socializing and Becoming a Team Player

CB: “What’s the best part about being in a show during the holiday season?”

Derion: “It’s being able to share your holiday cheer and inspiring other people to spread holiday cheer.”

CB: “What is the best thing about being in community theatre?”

Derion: “The best thing about community theatre is, when you participate in a theatre show, you make friends- but with a community theatre, you are a family and no words can explain the love you have for the cast and your fellow actors/actresses.”

Grace – Comforting New Yorker & Macy’s Employee

Been Performing in Theatre: 10 Years

Favorite Number in the Show: “Sparklejollytwinklejingley

CB: “What’s the best part about being in a show during the holiday season?”

Grace: “The best part about being in a show during the holidays is that you get to make great memories with friends and get to spend more time with them in the holiday season. Another rewarding thing is when your family comes and sees all the hard work you put into the show.”

CB: “How has theatre influenced you as a person?”

Grace: “Theatre has made me more outgoing and confident. It has taught me that it is important to have your voice be heard.”

Tor – Walter Hobbs

Been Performing in Theatre: 9 Years, and Tech Work for 1.5 Years

Favorite Number in the Show: “The Story of Buddy the Elf”

Theatre Helped Him With: Being More Confident

CB: “What element of your character is most like yourself?”

Tor: “Walter is mean but he’s very focused on his work and loves making money, so I think that’s what is the most like me.”

CB: “What’s the best part about being in a show during the holiday season?”

Tor: “I really enjoy the holidays and Christmas music, and I don’t mind being busy. The best is driving home from rehearsal when everyone’s Christmas lights are on.”

Myself with several of my best friends, all whom I’ve come to know through community theatre.

Elf JR. was performed at a community theatre in Arizona called Musical Theatre of Anthem. MTA is a no-cut theatre, meaning that everyone who auditions is cast. MTA has been my second home for about four years, and I can’t even begin to describe how much I’ve learned there. Community Theatre is a great thing to pursue for anyone, from aspiring Broadway stars to kids and teens that just want to have some fun on the weekends. 

If you’d like more information about Musical Theatre of Anthem, you can check out their Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To find a theatre near you, ask a music or drama teacher at your school, visit a local dance studio, or look it up online! Most states have easily accessible community theaters that you can join today! It has changed my life for the past 7 years, and I can’t wait for all of the years to come!

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