'Elf Jr.: The Musical' features 42 young actors

Courtesy photo by Matt Robinson

Campanile Productions presents “Elf, Jr.” featuring 42 local children in two performances this weekend at the Performance and Event Center, Christian County Middle School, 215 Glass Ave.

This weekend Campanile Productions presents "Elf Jr.: The Musical," a hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy.

The story follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity.

"'Elf Jr: The Musical' closely follows the movie," said director Anna Beth Riggs. "We have some of your favorite jokes and there are some new jokes. Buddy the elf, a bunch of elves, Macy's employees, the grumpy manager, Santa Claus, they're all there."

Although she has choreographed several Campanile plays, Riggs makes her directorial debut in this kid-friendly performance. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater from Samford University in Alabama.

"I've taken director classes. I grew up in the theater world, so I'm not too far off from my frame of skill," she said. "I've watched my dad direct for years, but I guess I never really understood all the time and the thought processes you have to go through up until now."

Her father, Dr. Jeff Riggs, has been a Campanile director for several productions and suggested the project for Anna Beth.

"I have 42 kids that I'm in charge of. That means I have about 80 parents I have to communicate with. Then you have all the creative team," she said. "It's a lot more management than I ever expected. It's not just about where does everybody go, it's about communicating everything with everybody. That's been a big learning lesson for me."

The junior in "Elf Jr." means this is a shorter version of the show presented by a cast of actors age 18 and younger. The run time is 70 minutes.

"There's no intermission. It's quick and easy, but it still has all the same heart as the full (length) show," Riggs said.

For those who are not familiar with the movie, Riggs said it's a heart-touching, funny production.

"It's hilarious," she said. "It's Will Ferrell inspired, so even if you don't know the movie, if you know Will Ferrell, it's very similar humor. He had a huge hand in creating the original humor, so that has definitely transferred over to the musical."

Riggs said "Elf Jr.: The Musical" is for all audiences.

"Even if you've never seen it, we have 42 kids in this show. Forty-two local kids," she said. "That is just absolutely incredible. All the creative team is local. So, if you don't know the show, you don't know the movie, you should just come support the people who are in your town."

Performances are at 7 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Performing Arts Center at Christian County Middle School, 215 Glass Ave.

Tickets are $10 in advance at campanileproductions.com and $15 at the door.

"The wonderful thing about theater and about art is it brings people together," Riggs said. "It's a really great show that unites the community. The way that Buddy unites the characters, I believe the show will do the same for whoever comes to see it."

Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or mvowell@kentuckynewera.com.

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