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Tis the season! Young Actors Theatre offers 'ELF The Musical' to kick off the holidays

A man dressed as an elf stands over a man dressed in a "Santa Claus" outfit while yanking on his fake white beard.
Paul Allison Photography
Young Actors Theatre
Grantham Durham (left, Buddy the Elf) and Jack Goodman (Fake Santa)

With a cast of Santa and approximately 100 “elves,” Young Actors Theatre (YAT) in Tallahassee opens ELF The Musical Friday night for a two-weekend run. Buddy the Elf oozes “sparklejollytwinklejingley” joy as he searches for his true identity.

The family-friendly story, based on the hit movie starring Will Ferrell, will kick-off YAT’s 48th season. Students ages 9 to 18 will take the stage for performances on various dates from Nov. 11 – 20, 2022.

The show marks a new era for YAT, as the big pink theater on Glenview Drive has been fully renovated and upgraded for ADA accessibility.

The theater space now boasts updated lighting, sound, electrical and security systems, as well as new carpet, paint, ceiling tiles, and an expanded technical booth. It also sports new seating with donated chairs from Tallahassee Community College. (YAT donated the theatre's original seats to the SoMo PlayHouse on S. Adams St.)

“The charitable gift of like-new chairs from Tallahassee Community College served as a catalyst for necessary improvements in our theater, which sees heavy use with daily classes, rehearsals, and hundreds of showcases and performances every year,” says Executive Director Sarah Roy, who says the changes will enable young people to shine on the YAT stage for decades to come. “The outpouring of support from the community to make the project happen in just ten weeks is beyond inspiring.”

To raise money for the project, YAT's "take-a-seat” campaign sold naming rights for each chair. Audience members will see contributor names on every seat, including alumni stars Tony Hale, Cheryl Hines, and Allison Miller.

Tickets for ELF The Musical are on sale now and start at $15. Click here for more information.

Trevor Waller (Buddy the Elf) sits in the lap of JP Evans (Santa Claus) and excitedly looks at a book. Many of the roles are double cast, giving more students an opportunity for stage time.
Paul Allison Photography
Trevor Waller (Buddy the Elf) and JP Evans (Santa Claus). Many of the roles are double cast, giving more students an opportunity for stage time.

While ELF kicks off the new season of shows, YAT's next project is a star-studded movie musical. Joni & The Whale was written by Broadway vet and YAT alum David Reiser. It was originally developed in New York City with artists from Broadway shows like Dear Evan Hansen and Bring It On.

The film is being executive produced by Broadway’s original Elsa in Frozen, Caissie Levy, and the titular character in Anastasia on Broadway, Christy Altomare. Both Levy and Altomare will give benefit concerts at YAT to support this immersive experience where students will learn how to make and star in a movie musical.

The creative team on Joni & the Whale features YAT alumni who have worked in Hollywood, the West End, and Broadway. More information about the movie project can be found here.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.