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Local theater group performing ‘Elf: The Musical’ in Idaho Falls this month

Arts & Entertainment

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Actor portraying Buddy the elf in the Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre production of “Elf: The Musical.” | Courtesy photo

IDAHO FALLS – The Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre will soon be spreading lots of Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear when they stage their production of “Elf: The Musical.”

The play, which runs November 13-14 and 16-18, is an adaptation of the popular Will Ferrell film. It tells the story of Buddy, an orphan boy who grows up amongst Santa’s elves at the North Pole. After realizing he’s human, Buddy journeys to New York City to find his birth father, teaching everyone he meets to embrace and spread the Christmas spirit along the way.

“Elf: The Musical” is being produced by and stars members of the Idaho Falls community. Director Becky Bryan told the production is a perfect antidote to the scary, trying times we’re currently living through.

“It’s really fun,” Bryan said. “I love the humor in it. In fact, I laugh every day at the show. I think there’s just a really special spirit about the show that is particularly timely.”

“When we decided to do ‘Elf’, we felt like we were taking a risk doing a holiday show because we’d never done that before,” continued Bryan. “But we had no idea what 2020 was going to be like and to me, it just feels like it was inspired because it’s exactly what we need. We all need something that’s fun and light.”

Bryan said that while “Elf: The Musical” includes songs and the plot differs slightly from the original film, it actually follows it fairly closely. Most of the changes made to the source material were made to make it easier to pull off as a stage play.

“There are some logistical things that don’t work in a play versus a movie,” she said. “The changes that happen from a movie to a musical are usually logistical things like instead of a coffee shop, (the scene is set in) a hot dog stand that’s easier to come on and off stage.”

Actors gather for rehearsal. | Adam Forsgren,

While it was important to meet the technical challenges of transferring “Elf” from the big screen, Bryan said highlighting themes and other underpinnings of the story were equally important.

“Trying to find in each scene, what’s the heart of the scene,” Bryan said. “There’s so much heart in the movie that I don’t think it was that hard for (the cast) to find the heart from the movie, from the songs, from the lines and from the characters. They’re such rich characters that the songs probably wrote themselves.”

“It’s surprisingly touching,” she added. “The show is really surprisingly emotional. Even though it’s so much fun and it’s so light, there’s this deeper family connection.”

The Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre provides local youth with a plethora of ways to develop their talents and skills. The Centre helps to foster self-esteem in kids and hone abilities that will benefit and enrich the community. Bryan says its theater programs aim to not only help kids grow but provide local lovers of the stage with professional-quality productions in Idaho Falls.

“We have a great cast of wonderful actors,” Bryan said. “Our fall musicals are outstanding quality. What I tell my cast all the time is we can have a great show here in Idaho Falls. It’s just having heart. You have to have the heart and the will and the desire to be great.”

The Idaho Falls Youth Arts Centre’s production of “Elf: The Musical” will be performed at the Idaho Falls Civic Center for the Performing Arts. The show begins at 7:30 each night. There will also be a Saturday matinee on November 14 at 2 pm. Visit the IFYAC website for tickets and information. Further details can also be found on IFYAC’s Facebook page.