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Student-Directed Holiday Show Preview: Elf Jr. the Musical

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Grace Rose '19
6 December 2018

Elf Jr. cast during rehearsal; photo credit: Ms. Shue Every December, the Theatre Department presents its student-directed Holiday Show. The 25+ year tradition continues with Elf Jr. the Musical, premiering December 10th. This is often the first production that showcases the freshmen talent. It will be presented to the elementary schools of the sending districts and to the Passaic Valley Community the week of December 10th.

Preparation for the show began over the Summer. Ms. Jennifer Shue and Mr. Michael Deluccia, who advise the show, asked juniors and seniors to write a written statement on why they wanted to take on a leadership role in directing the show. Eight students were chosen and split into different roles for the production. Elf is directed by Gabriella Rose '19 and Marc Garcia '19. The Music Directors are Sophia Ayoub '19 and Mia Preziosi '20. The Choreographers are Nell Grabowksi '19 and Brooke Berrigan '20. Hair and Makeup is headed by Gabriella Volonino '19. Finally, the Stage Manager is Alexandra Paese '21.

Elf Jr. cast in dress rehearsal; photo credit: Ms. Shue Since 2010, the Holiday Show has been student-directed. Mr. Jeff Budd, former director, knew he had a group of kids that could do it, so it turned to the leadership of the upperclassmen. It went over so well, the tradition continues. 

"The student directors are doing a fantastic job," remarked Ms. Shue. "They work together very well. It's a challenging process because we only have four weeks to put together the show, but the kids rise to the challenge."

Directors Rose and Garcia, decided on Elf as a tribute to their first freshman appearance in the Schneider Auditorium. The musical is based off of the movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell. It has quickly become a holiday classic with many comical and endearing scenes.

"Elf was probably my favorite show to be a part of because it was my first," said Garcia. "And now it has completely come full-circle as I have the power to bring it back to life again for someone else to have the same experience I did!" Elf Cast List; photo credit: Gabriella Rose, '19

Auditioning students were asked to prepare any Christmas song of their choosing. The directors were all pleased with the interest in the show. "It was a difficult process picking out the cast because there was so much new talent!" exclaimed Rose. "However, the outcome has been amazing!"

Freshmen Gabriella Cielo and Christopher Perez both hold lead roles in the show. Cielo plays "Jovie," who does not have much Christmas spirit until she meets Buddy. Perez plays "Michael," Buddy's new brother, and instantly connected with the character and the production.

"The directors are very hardworking, caring, and fun to work with," said Perez. "They worked endlessly to put together our musical over a short period of time. The cast and I look up to them."

Please come out to support the show on Monday, December 10th at 7 p.m. when the show opens for community members.