For the second consecutive year, West and Central middle schools are collaborating on a musical. This year they will present Elf the Musical Jr. The cast of 55 students in grades seven and eight, along with a crew of eleven students, will perform Friday, February 3 and Saturday, February 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Central Middle School auditorium.
The show is a musical adaptation of the popular Will Ferrell movie, which follows the journey of Buddy the Elf from the North Pole to meet his family in New York City. The show is directed by Central Middle School teacher Tristan Tolle and High School Drama Director Rene Mauck. “We had a lot of excitement from the start and a good turnout for the auditions. And through the rehearsal process, the students seem to be having a lot of fun while working hard,” said Mauck.
Finding the right show is a key component of doing school musicals. “We actually spend a good deal of time just selecting the show each year. We like to stick with the Jr. or Young Performer versions, which are tailored to the needs of the students we are working with. When picking the show, we consider our students first. Do we feel that the show suits the talents of the group? Do we feel that the students will enjoy the show and be excited about the script? Next, we consider the audience. Is the show family-friendly, so that a broad audience can come and enjoy the performance? We also have to be sure the show is something we can produce. Do we have the resources for the sets, costumes, and other elements in the show? So, it is really a process and we start looking at scripts months before the auditions.”
The students benefit greatly from performing in these shows. “I think the greatest reason for doing musicals is the ability to work as a team and to develop the skills in acting and performing. You have to learn to step out of yourself and be the character, which can be scary for many but helps in teaching self-confidence to many in their early teen years,” said Tolle.
Mauck feels it will be an enjoyable show. “I think the audience will enjoy this show because it has both humor and heart. The show is funny and has some silly, fun humor. But it is also smartly written, with a genuine message about what it means to have your priorities in order and find joy and wonder in everyday living.”