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Springfield Little Theatre presents 'Elf The Musical' for the holidays

Poster design courtesy Springfield Little Theatre

The stage musical adaptation of the popular 2003 Will Farrell film takes the Landers Theatre stage for three weekends.

Opening Friday, November 17 at the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut St. in Springfield, is Springfield Little Theatre's production of "Elf The Musical," a stage adaptation of the hit 2003 film starring Will Farrell.

Josh Inmon, director and choreographer of SLT's production, joined me on KSMU's "Arts News" to talk about the show.

Like any theatrical director, Inmon is now able to heave a huge sigh of relief: His work is over.

He says, "We're almost to the finish line! We've been rehearsing about eight weeks — we started in mid-September. The cast is doing a great job, and I'm just really excited for audiences to see the work that they've done."

Inmon says now he can just sit at the back of the auditorium and enjoy the show with them.

In the now-familiar story, Buddy, an orphaned baby, accidently crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole, where he is raised as an elf. But as Buddy gets older, it becomes painfully obvious (to everyone except, perhaps, Buddy himself) that he's a full-sized human, not an elf.

His poor toy-making abilities also give him away. Santa gives Buddy permission to travel to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas while he's at it.

"It's everything you love about the film — just enhanced," Inmon says. "All of your favorite moments are there, but it's full of song and dance. It's just a huge musical theater production. It might look a little bit different, just because it's adapted for the stage. But I have to say our scenic designer, Chuck Rogers, is brilliant. We're seeing, with all these contemporary musicals now, that they're very cinematic, because a lot of them are based on films. And the way that Chuck has designed the set, the way that he has designed the world of the show, just fits right with the story. It's great."

The cast includes a dozen Springfield Little Theatre youth actors playing the elves and a couple of other roles, most making their SLT mainstage debuts. Otherwise, the cast is SLT's typical mix of newbies and Landers veterans. Buddy is played by 20-year-old Andrew Wilson — who, despite his age, is an SLT "veteran," Inmon says.

The production's music director is Kim Snyder, with Jason Hunnicutt leading the 12-piece orchestra. Inmon says "SLT is a volunteer-driven organization. So we have 50 people onstage, about 20 people backstage. (Overall) there's more than 100 people making this happen," mostly volunteers.

"Elf The Musical" runs through December 3. Shows take place Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm, with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. There's also a single Thursday-evening performance on November 30 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $17 to $37, and are available at the Landers box office, 417-869-1334, or at springfieldlittletheatre.org.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.