Auditions are fast approaching for K-12 students for Newton Theater Arts Academy’s production of Elf The Musical Jr.
Auditions will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 21 and from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on September 23, with call-ins at 6:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24. Rehearsals begin Monday, September 30, and are held Sunday from 3-6 p.m. and Monday from 6-8:30 p.m.
Kindergarten and Grade 1 children will be part of a children’s choir, and the cost is $175. They will repeat with Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and Monday from 6 to 7 p.m. The main storytellers and set are for kids in grades two through 12 and cost $300. They rehearse on Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Mondays from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Elf Jr tells the story of an orphan named Buddy who accidentally crawls into Santa’s sack of presents and is transported to the North Pole. This so-called elf is raised unaware that he is actually a human, until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities lead him to face the truth. Buddy travels to New York to find his true identity. When Buddy finds out his dad is on the “bad guy list” and his stepbrother doesn’t even believe in Santa Claus, he’s determined to win over his new family and help New York City remember the true meaning of Christmas.
“Being in these shows builds the confidence of the students and they see that in the end, their fellow actors have become like family,” said Sara Bartlett, director of education at Newton Theater Arts Academy. “We had kids who were in Frozen this summer who came back to watch Jungle Book because they wanted to support their Frozen friends. It’s such a fun and positive experience for the kids and we also have some amazing parents who help us.
Bartlett said she’s discovered over the years that theater also helps kids be more empathetic.
“You have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes while you’re on stage, and you have to learn to work as a team with your fellow actors,” she said. “Elf is such a beloved movie and the musical is adorable – who wants to do Elf at Christmas?”
Junior versions mean a full Broadway show has been shortened to around an hour.
“They’re cutting out dialogue and making songs shorter,” Bartlett said. “They also make shows easier to sing for young voices.”
This year’s winter and spring shows will feature three performances: two for students during the day and one for the public in the evening.
“There’s something magical that happens when kids see other kids playing – that’s why I call it our Kidz4Kidz shows,” Bartlett said. “All of our directors, music directors, choreographers and teachers are seasoned veterans who enjoy working with young people.”
The performance of Elf The Musical JR. will take place on the stage of the Newton Theater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, 2019.
To register for auditions, visit: https://www.skypac.org/arts-academy/.