When Jason Meyer saw the Paradise Community Theater calling for auditions for âElf the Musical,â he knew playing Buddy in the beloved vacation classic would be the right thing to do.
âI love the movie so much,â Meyer said of the comedy movie with Will Ferrell. âI’ve seen the movie 1,000 timesâ¦ When I was working at Family Video, it was basically ‘Elf’ non-stop from November to December 31st. If it was just the movie, I wouldn’t have had to practice at all. It would just play in my brain.
Meyer, a resident of Owatonna, originally from Faribault, has enjoyed his time on stage by becoming the childish character that Buddy is, and is hoping audiences will see the fun from the cast members.
The holiday-themed musical begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, in the midst of the Winterfest festivities on Main Street Faribault. The other weekend show dates are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Other dates are scheduled the following week at 7:30 p.m. from December 8 to 10 and at 2 p.m. from December 11 to 12. The December 9 show is performed in ASL, and the December 8 show is sensory with a special price of $ 10 per ticket, with a maximum of $ 30 per family.
Artistic Director Sandee Hardy Hagen and Music Director Shelley Fitzgerald worked with 25 actors to tell the story of Buddy, a young orphan, who accidentally slips into Santa’s bag. The bag is filled with gifts that are transported to the North Pole.
A press release explains that the potential elf is high, unaware that he is in fact a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. Buddy embarks on a trip to New York to reunite with his biological father, played by Ron Hager. There he is faced with harsh realities that his father is on the villain list and his half-brother, played by Addison Young, doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, played by Luke Havamaki.
Other elves include Jasher Young, Evelina Caldera, Diane Hagen, Aviella Young, and Kalista Gibson. Courtney Kryzer plays Buddy’s friend Jovie, Amber Holven plays her stepmom and Cody Jensen plays Macy’s manager. The other members of the ensemble are Holly Jorgensen, Gary Hoganson, Tanner Jorgensen, Garrett Fitzgerald, Jordyn Tesch, Morgan Jones, Philip Gibson, Hannah Peterson, Julie Longshore, Curt Jorgensen, Max Gibson and Melanie Maniglia.
Director Hardy Hagen says many of the cast members are local, live in the Faribault / Medford / Owatonna area and have taken the stage before. Although the youngest actor is 8 years old, the oldest in the 80s, many of the cast have become good friends.
For Courtney Kryzer, who plays Jovie, attending performances at Faribault and Owatonna is more than a chance to take the stage. This is the time to make friendships with each other. And that turns into a family that continues to grow with the addition of new cast members.
âThere are a lot of people I’ve been to shows with here,â Kryzer said ahead of the opening performance on Friday. “It’s almost like a family reunion every time you do a show, you dive back into it and it’s always very enjoyable.”
The Faribault native and resident of Owatonna says it’s been a fun experience getting romantic lead in a musical, something that’s fairly new to her. Since she’s worked with Meyer before, Kryzer believes they already have the chemistry and are able to bounce back easily.
Medford resident Garrett Fitzgerald also enjoys working with the actors in this performance and the family atmosphere created with the ensemble. In addition to his high school theater experience, Fitzgerald has previously performed in two plays with the Community Theater. Compared to high school, he says it’s nice to work with people outside of his school on bigger projects.
âIt’s more fun here, there’s a bigger choice of shows and directors to work with, more people, more fun, more diversity and more of everything,â Fitzgerald said.
He explains that the musical is an interesting adaptation of the movie, and that it takes everything that people love about the movie “Elf”, and make it “louder and more entertaining”.
Kryzer thinks the show is great to see right before the holidays and says audiences will recognize a lot of things in the movie.
Meyer, who has the lead role, predicts that the show will be fun for those who love everything about the holiday season and having a good time in the theater.
“It’s fun to be up there no matter how much I fuck.” It’s even fun to make mistakes because I can play because Buddy is an idiot, âMeyer said with a chuckle. âIt’s just fun to play. I think that’s what we want to present to the public, it’s a fun show.
Contact reporter Michelle Vlasak at 507-333-3128. Â© Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.