This weekend, local second through eighth graders will put on a production of “Elf the Musical Jr.” at Dawson County Middle School.
The production is based off of the 2003 movie “Elf” and features the story of Buddy the Elf, a human who was raised by elves in the North Pole and embarks on an expedition to New York to find his birth father.
The play will be put on by 56 members of the Little Tiger Theatre Co., ranging in age from second to eighth grade and representing Riverview Elementary School, Blacks Mill Elementary School, Dawson County Middle School and Dawson County Junior High School.
Mac McGriff, who is in eighth grade at Dawson County Junior High School and plays Buddy in the production, said that he and his fellow actors in the Little Tiger Theatre Co. have been rehearsing and working hard on the musical since about August.
“We’ve been working just about every day and we’ve really put a lot of work into it, so we’re very proud of it,” McGriff said.
In the production, Buddy meets Jovie, a New Yorker who he immediately develops a crush on. Annabella Berry, who is in eighth grade at Dawson County Junior High School and plays Jovie in the production, said that acting has always been a huge passion for her.
“This will be something like my 18th play; I’ve done a lot of plays and acting is my passion,” Berry said. "I think that everybody puts in a lot of effort; we all work very hard on our lines and it takes a lot to remember everything — I’m really excited.”
McGriff and Berry’s fellow student actors echoed their excitement about the musical finally opening after so much hard work being put into it.
“We’ve practiced forever now; it feels like we’ve come so far from when we started,” Anna Leigh Kinney, who is in fifth grade at Black’s Mill Elementary School and plays Charlotte Dennon, a Macy’s employee and a New Yorker in the production, said. “It’s just a good, family-friendly show.”
“I’m so excited about it,” Riverview Elementary School fifth grader Brody Smith, who plays Walt, said.
Ellie Wilson, who is in second grade at Blacks Mill and plays an elf in the production, said that this will be the first musical she’s performed in.
“I’m excited and kind of nervous too; it sounded like a good play to be in and it’ll be a good show,” Wilson said.
Riverview third grader Catherine Jenkins, who plays an elf and a reindeer, said that this is her second production she’ll act in and that she’s excited for members of the community to see her and her fellow actors in the play.
“It’s a great children’s show and a family show and it’s good for little kids to come see too,” Jenkins said.
“It really helps support the arts in our community and we’re going to put on a really great show,” Berry added.
The play is co-directed by Jordan LeFevre and Becca Johnsen, with assistance from Jeremy Lavender. Johnsen said that she would encourage community members to come see the production as a way to not only support the young actors but to also get into the holiday spirit.
“It’ll put you in the Christmas spirit,” Johnsen said. “The kids are really excited, their energy is high and these are our future performers of Dawson County so we’ll see them on the stage for many years to come."
“Elf the Musical Jr.” will be playing at Dawson County Middle School from Friday Dec. 2 through Sunday Dec. 4. The shows will take place on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m. Johnsen added that the play on Saturday is always the best showing.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the upcoming production, go to https://www.facebook.com/littletigertheaterco/.