The University of California, Pennsylvania is the region’s first educational theater to secure the rights to the stage version of the holiday classic “Elf the Musical” and performers will head to the Mainstage Theater of Steele Hall on campus at 7:00 p.m. November 21. 23 and 2 p.m. 23-24 November.
The musical is based on the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf and follows Buddy’s quest to find his true identity.
“It’s very exciting for us to be the first (such) theater in western Pennsylvania to obtain the rights to produce the show,” said Performance Director Dr. Michele Pagen, Professor and Co-Chair of the music and theater department. “When we were waiting for a notification this summer morning, it was a bit like waiting to get tickets to Elton John or Cher!”
Pagen wanted Cal U Theater to produce this show since she became the Holiday Show Director six years ago.
“The musical is very, very similar to the story told in the movie, but there are scenes in the movie that are not in the series (snowball fight, mailroom), and there are also scenes in the show that are not in the movie, “she said.” There is a delicious scene in a Chinese restaurant that quickly became one of my favorites.
With all of the original music, Pagen said many songs reveal information about the characters while others advance the plot.
“There are several that are very eye-catching, including ‘The Story of Buddy’, ‘Happy All the Time’ and ‘Never Fall in Love with an Elf.'”
With a show of this magnitude, there are always challenges, the biggest being the budget.
“But only by creating our dream production,” said Pagen. “The team succeeded in creating a very colorful, fun design. We use the video as part of the show and we had a lot of fun with it.
There are 73 in the show’s cast which covers ages 5 to 52, including the dean of the school’s College of Liberal Arts.
Jeromy Mackey of Waynesburg will take on the lead role of Buddy.
“I was very lucky to play amazing roles in Cal U, including JD in ‘Heathers the Musica’l my first year, which was a very dark and difficult role,” he said.
On the last holiday show, Mackey played his very first elf named Norbert in Harry Connick Jr.’s “The Happy Elf”, but he was the bad guy.
“Playing the part showed me how much fun a Happy Holiday character can be, and when I found out we were doing ‘Elf the Musical’ I immediately got excited because I grew up with this movie, and I felt my previous role as Norbert had provided me with some preparation to play that character, and I would be lucky enough to be the right guy for once, ”Mackey said.
But there’s good and bad about playing the part.
“In the whole series, there is only one scene that I do not appear in,” he said. “What’s great is that I can share quite a journey with the audience with this character that I have worked so hard on, but the hardest part is that I have to have physical, vocal and mental stamina. increased to get out of it. the show. “
Pagen said she was eager to share their production with audiences.
“Jeromy Mackey does a great job with Buddy, but honestly everyone is doing it,” she said. “I like to watch the whole create our world for us. The young man playing Michael (Hunter Antonucci) was a lot of fun to watch. He’s new to acting and seeing him settle down and develop relationships with his mom (Alex Wilson) and dad (Daniel Nuttall) is the reason I went into educational theater.
It is the first large-scale traditional Broadway musical that the theater program has made in some time.
“The demands of every member of the cast and crew have been heightened,” Mackey said. “It gave so much perspective and respect to the professional artists and technicians who make these shows possible. He also reaffirmed the immense value that a Cal U theater degree holds. We are receiving such an amazing education with opportunities like this, for such a competitive financial rate. “
Tickets cost $ 12 for adults and $ 6 for those 60 and over and 12 and under. Cal U students with valid CalCards pay a $ 5 deposit which is refunded at the salon.
For ticket information or to bill tickets over the phone, call the Steele Hall box office at 724-938-5943.