Director of Music Deanne Zogleman said producing the show has been on her and Musical Director Paul Graves’ radar for quite some time.
“This is a show we have wanted to do since we started doing musicals together,” explained Zogleman. “It was available and then it was pulled three years ago due to the show going out on tour. But as I did with ‘Mamma Mia,’ I kept checking, and the minute it became available this summer, I sent the request for royalties that morning.”
The cast has 27 members, which includes 18 Newman students, five local elementary students and four adults from the Wichita theater community.
“Elf the Musical” is the story of orphan Buddy, who accidentally crawls into Santa’s sack of toys and grows up as one of Santa’s elves. When Buddy becomes too tall for toys, Santa encourages him to go to New York City to find his dad.
Though Buddy has high hopes for his new family, his dreams are dashed when he finds that his father is on the naughty list and his stepbrother doesn’t even believe in Santa.
Freshman Christian “Alex” DeHoet will perform the main role of Buddy, who is known for his positive demeanor and his love for Christmas and singing.
“Being a freshman and receiving the lead role is extremely exciting and nerve-wracking because there is a lot of pressure to do well,” said DeHoet. “But with all the support of the upperclassmen, it has been really enjoyable.”
Junior Victoria “Tori” Jansen, who will be playing the spunky secretary, Deb, said the rehearsal process has been fantastic.
“This cast has been wonderful to work with,” she said. “We have a lot of new faces that have brought a new energy to this department.”
New student Elijah Klein will play Buddy’s overworked, too-busy-for-Christmas dad Walter Hobbs.
“Walter is a great role because he is the everyman character in this weird scenario where he is just trying to work through stuff.,” he said. “My goal in this whole thing is to get one person in the audience to sympathize with Walter.”
Zogleman said her excitement is twofold.
“Musical theater is my passion, and to watch my students share their talent while working together behind the scenes and on stage to create magic warms my heart,” she said. “On a more personal note — to get to share my passion with my daughter as well as work with one of my best friends, Paul, as co-creator is very special.”
Zogleman’s daughter, Sara, will play the feisty Macy’s employee, Jovie.
“It was a blessing to get this part,” Sara said. “This is my first musical with a lead character and I am very excited to make my character come to life.”
Freshman Talia Powers, who plays Emily Hobbs — Walter’s wife and Buddy’s stepmom — said she is looking forward to growing closer to the cast and performing in her first musical at Newman.
“It’s such a good group of people, and I enjoy spending time with them at rehearsal and getting to know everyone better,” said Powers. “I’m also just super excited to be able to perform. I love musicals and being able to express myself on stage.”
Junior Elijah Spellman-Sak takes on the iconic role of Santa Claus in the production.
“I hope to do the role justice,” he said. “But, no matter what, I have the greatest family of elves with me on stage, and I hope to spread the joy of Christmas on and off stage.”
Zogleman said the show is for anyone, ages 5 to 95, so each audience member will take away something different from the performance.
“I want them to find their own message,” said Zogleman. “But no matter what, they will leave happier than when they walked in — it’s contagious.”
“Elf the Musical” will run Nov. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. The show’s running time is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes with a brief intermission. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $12 for the general public; $10 for seniors and military; and $5 for Newman faculty, staff and non-Newman students. Newman students get in free with their student ID.