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An 'Elf' story

By Jennifer Peryam - jperyam@h-ponline.com

WARREN — A production of “Elf Jr.” is taking the stage at Pulse Opera House.

Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok, play director, said there are 32 cast members ranging in ages 7 to 18 who are from Huntington, Wells and Grant counties.

This is the first year the opera house is performing the play based on the holiday classic movie “Elf” starring Will Ferrell.

“This is a family-oriented play and has a lot of children in it,” Smyth-Wartzok said.

She described the plot and said it is about a baby who is an orphan who crawls into Santa’s bag at Christmas and gets taken to the North Pole and becomes an elf. As he gets older he discovers he is human and returns to New York and goes back to find his father.

The main character, named Buddy The Elf, is played by Thom Grieving, 15, a sophomore at Huntington North High School. His parents are Heidi and Evert Grieving.

“Buddy is a very energetic and loving Elf,” Grieving said. “From living his life at the North Pole, he is the epitome of all things Christmas and happiness.”

He said people should see this production because it’s a fun adaptation of everyone’s favorite Christmas movie. He added it features a ton of local youth talent and is full of everyone’ s favorites moments from the movie along with some new, funny additions.

“I enjoy being able to play a character I have so much freedom with,” Greving said. “I get to really have fun onstage and just be excited about the Christmas season.”

This is not his first time for performing at the Pulse and he has performed in Peter Pan Jr., Orphan Train, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

He’s also been in shows at Riverview Middle School and Huntington North and is currently a member of Varsity Singers.

The script comes from Music Theater International that does scripts that are shortened versions of musicals that are for young performances and audiences.

“The actors and actresses are dressed as elves for all the people who live in Christmas Town and we have office ware and when they go to New York City its more modern day clothes,” Smyth-Wartzok said.

“The costumes are very bright and colorful and very much Christmassy.”

Her husband, Ron, does all the lighting and there are many Christmas lights that puts people in the Christmas spirit.

The music is recorded by a full orchestra and comes with the package that comes from Music Theater International.

Opening night was Friday Dec. 8 and she said there was a full house and was a big exciting night.

“This is a good way to get in the Christmas spirit because it has Santa, kids and music and it’s a great family activity,” Smyth-Wartzok said.

For the elves in Christmas Town a Fort Wayne resident Ralph Tuttle built the toys for the elves to pretend to build made of wood. They include trains and cars with wheels and colorful paint.

The performance features dancing and singing.

“We have some amazing voices in this and people will be surprised with the talent we have with our young people,” Smyth-Wartzok said.

Children from Huntington Community Schools, Grant and Wells County will attend the performance Thursday and Friday during four shows.

Performances are scheduled for December, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17.Tickets are $15 for general admission and $5 for children 12 and under. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. Sunday shows are at 4 p.m.

The theater is located at 127 ½ Wayne St. in Warren. Reservations may be made online at www.pulseoperahouse.org or by leaving a message at 260-375-7017.