John Carroll Theatre brings live rendition of classic Christmas movie ‘Elf’ to the stage


Aeowynn Ayres, Entertainment Editor

In mid-November, John Carroll’s theatre department put on a musical version of the popular Christmas movie Elf.

While Elf was performed on November 9-13, the cast had been preparing since September 1. Students auditioned the second week of school.

Reagan McComas, who portrayed the lead role of “Buddy the Elf,” explained that students had to prepare a song in advance but also had the option to use a song provided.

“We first learned a dance combination, then performed it, and then after that, we sang our songs,” he said. “If you were to receive a callback, students would stay after the second audition, and some might sing, act, or dance again.”

Lane Miller, who played “Santa Claus,” said that auditions were very “relaxed and chill.”

The musical version of Elf is very similar to that of the movie. The musical version didn’t include some of the movie’s more inappropriate scenes, but, for the most part, the musical version stayed consistent with the movie.

Director Larry Hensley chose Elf because he wanted to “do something that was pure fun and happy and to bring joy to the theatre.”

Prior to Tech Week, rehearsals included the breaking down of scenes to rehearse blocking, choreography, and vocals.

Gracious Ndungu, who played the role of “Emily Hobbs,” described the different types of rehearsals.

“They posted the schedule on Sundays, so we knew when we would have to go in,” she commented. “On the days we did vocals, we sat down, and Mrs. Parrish taught us the songs. On days we had dance, we were given directions, and we’d run it a couple times. Then, we’d run it with music without directions.”

Mrs. Julie Parrish served as the Musical Director and led the orchestra during the shows.
Some of the roles required students to get out of their comfort zones to try something new.

Reagan commented, “Buddy was a really challenging role as he was always so incredibly energetic, and I also had to live up to the expectations that the movie had already given. The role was completely out of my comfort zone, but it opened up who I am as a performer.”

Lane added, “The turnout was amazing, and every show was packed.”

Gracious said that the fall musical is a John Carroll tradition. “Even if you aren’t physically in the play, it’s still so versatile that everyone can enjoy it.”

Reagan added that “the turnout was great this year. There were almost 40 people in the cast, and many more joined us for the technical side and the orchestra pit to the production. It’s always great when so many people want to be a part of something that really is so great.”