RCT’s Elf performs for elementary students

By MaryBelle Tuten

On Tuesday, November 29, the cast of Ruston Community Theatre’s Elf: the Musical performed for elementary students at the Dixie Center for the Arts. Over 450 students attended this special performance. The students enjoyed experiencing the joys of live theater (the music, dancing, and acting) as they laughed and enjoyed the story of Buddy the Elf. Each season, Ruston Community Theatre plans one or two productions for area schools to attend.

Elf: the Musical will open for the general public at the Dixie Center for the Arts on Thursday, December 1, at 7:00 with performances continuing on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3rd at 7:00 and Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2:00 pm. This production is performed and produced by Ruston Community Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at rctruston.org. Adult tickets are $20 and youth tickets are $10.

Elf: the Musical is based on the 2003 film and was adapted for Broadway in 2011. The original Broadway production broke records at the box office three times, grossing over a million dollars in one week! Buddy Hobbs, a young orphan child, performed by Jacob Guilliot, mistakenly crawls into Santa Claus “bag of gifts” and is transported back to the North Pole. After discovering the baby, Santa, performed by Mark Graham, and his elves decide to raise the child as an elf. Years later, Buddy finds out that he is actually a human being and, with Santa’s prompting, leaves for to New York City in search of his father, Walter Hobbs, performed by Joe Brown. You will be able to follow Buddy’s adventures in New York City as he searches for his father and seeks to bring the spirit of Christmas back to the city.

Steele Moegle, the musical’s director stated that cast and crew have spent a lot of time laughing and when not rehearsing she misses this group! When asked what had surprised her about the show, she responded “When holding auditions, almost the entire group of leads auditioned in the same group of 10”. This is not how casting usually works. She has also been surprised at the massive amount of help and support from her fabulous crew. Moegle began preparing for the show in July. She knew, listening to the music for the production, that it would be challenging to execute with a lot of moving parts and a demanding set design and property list. Moegle mentioned the most difficult aspect of a directing a musical is finding people who can sing, dance, and act. Her goal as director is to help each person reach for a higher artistic level in all three areas. Megan Wilkins, a talented and dedicated choreographer, has been hands on helping the actors with their dancing skills.

The musical effects for the show will be both instrumental and vocal. Lighting has been designed by Ashley Palmer and sound has been designed by Brent Gay. Mark Graham designed and built the set for Elf. Others playing roles in the performance are Brooke Belle, Renee Cook-Cockerham, Heather Hampton, Rebekah Heiden, Carrick Inabett, Lisa Claire Mian, Riley Moegle, Cole Morganthall, Katie Peters, Nathan Richardson and Levi Stephenson. Joining these actors on stage is an Ensemble of 21 members.

Grisham Locke, an actor for Elf, stated that “This show has been so much fun, but just as challenging. I have stretched my movement and character muscles in ways he could not have imagined.” Locke juggles five different characters in just the first 5 scenes. Another interesting fact is that elves must be short. This requires a new technique for those acting as elves. Elijah Farris, who performs as an elf says “you get used to acting and dancing on your knees…. you just have to remember knee pads!”

Ruston Community Theatre has chosen Elf: the Musical a Christmas extravaganza as an event for families to enjoy. The movie was rated PG and critics of the show have commented that Elf has enough jokes for adults and enough special effects and fun for youth. Reserve your seat today to laugh, smile, and experience the joy of Christmas with Ruston Community Theatre.