• Post youngsters present ‘Elf Jr.’ Dec. 4, 6

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    For the past 10 weeks, 22 children, ranging from age 6 to 15, have been hard at work preparing for the Child and Youth Services EDGE! Curtain Call’s Christmas production of “Elf Jr.,” which will be performed at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 and 6 at the Post Theater.
    “I am so excited to bring ‘Elf Jr.’ back to Curtain Call for the second time. This is the third Christmas show Curtain Call has performed in the last 10 years,” said Marianne Tennant, production director. “This show has fun music and is a delightful children’s show.”
    “Elf Jr.” is based on the 2003 film “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell.
    “Buddy, the Elf finds out from Santa that he is not really an elf and sets off on his adventure to find his dad, Walter Hobbs, in New York City,” Tennant explained.
    Tennant said there is a benefit to exposing children to theater at such a young age.
    “(The children) have had the opportunities to work together, learn lines, develop their character, perform in front of others and, most of all, make new friends,” Tennant said.
    For several of the children, this production was their first taste of the theater.
    “I had always wanted to do theater,” said 13-year-old Irie Cecil, who plays “Santa Claus” and “fake Santa Claus” in the show. “I like being a part of it and helping out with everything.”
    Cecil, a self-proclaimed shy person, said being in the show has helped her a lot.
    “It is a really cool way to just be yourself and to be able to go into a different character,” she said. “It is not you, it is someone else and it is a lot of fun.”
    Caleb Cupp, 14, who is portraying “Walter Hobbs,” said he wanted to see if he really had acting ability after performing in a school musical at Xavier Elementary School in Leavenworth.
    “Other people said I was really good at it and I was pretty good at it. So, I decided to do this to see if I was actually as good as they said,” Cupp said. “I like the acting and being with other people.”
    Some of the children in the production are veterans of the stage, including 13-year-old Ellie Payne, who participated in a similar program at Fort Polk, La.
    “I love to make people laugh. That is probably the biggest part of (theater),” Payne said. “I like to entertain people. I like to make people feel emotion.”
    Payne said working with the younger children has been her favorite part of this production.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I love how much energy they have and how funny they are without meaning to be,” she said. “It is so great to me.”
    Though Payne has acted before, this is her first time landing a lead role as “Buddy, the Elf.”
    “You feel really special,” she said. “That is the only word to describe it.”
    Payne said she would encourage others to get involved in the theater.
    “It seems really scary, but, at least for me, once you get up on stage, all your worries go away,” she said. “You just get into it and come out of your shell and that is really awesome.”
    Payne’s mother, Katie Payne, said she thinks Curtain Call is a great program.
    “Ellie really likes to sing so it gives her an outlet to do that and she is enjoying the drama part more and more,” Payne said. “It is important to give (children) a creative outlet and it is hard to find chances to do that at their age.”
    The EDGE! Curtain Call program, currently in its 12th year, is open to military children ages 6-16 who are registered with CYS. For more information about “Elf Jr., the Musical” and the EDGE! Curtain Call program, contact CYS at 684-5138. The production is free and open to the public.
    The next Curtain Call show is “Peter Pan Jr.” For sign-up dates, contact CYS.
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