Casts preparing for 'wonderful show' of 'Elf Jr.'

Cary Ashby • Dec 5, 2019 at 11:00 AM

The cast members of the musical “Elf Jr.” have been hard at work.

Norwalk Arts Center students will perform the musical Dec. 13 through 15 at 22 E. Main St. Tickets are available at www.norwalkartscenter.org. More than 40 students in second through eighth grades comprise the two casts.

“Elf The Musical Jr.” is based on the 2003 film, which was directed by Jon Favreau and stars comedian Will Ferrell. 

“Oh my gosh. ‘Elf’ is one of our favorite movies,” said Ethan Rahrig’s mother, Trena. “(Ferrell)’s a great comedian and it just makes you laugh.”

Rahrig said she thinks the message of “Elf” is to “spread love to everyone.”

Ethan Rahrig, 13, of Norwalk, said what he enjoys the most about playing the main character, Buddy the elf, is being happy all the time, which he admits is easy to do onstage. On low-energy days, the son of Todd and Trena added it’s a matter of powering through the rehearsal.

“I love acting and I want to have a future (in it),” said the teenager, who believes his experience acting and singing in Curtain Call Productions has helped him.

His mother, with a laugh, quickly said her son is usually “full of energy,” a characteristic important to Buddy.

“He practices almost every day at home. We come here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is his 14th show, actually. He was in Curtain Call for 13 shows and then transferred here,” his mother said. “He is in eighth grade and he just made the cut to be in it.”

At home, her son reads his lines by himself and sometimes gets assistance practicing them with his mother.

“He sings his songs all the time,” Trena Rahrig added.

Taryn Hahn, 14, of Berlin Heights, plays plays Emily, the mother of the house where Buddy ends up living.

“She’s the basis of the household that keeps it intact,” she said, noting that the elf’s presence creates some chaos and craziness.

Emily doesn’t believe Buddy is an elf at first.

“At first, she’s very confused because she has no idea what’s going on. Then she learns a little bit of the back story and she’s not upset, but more or less excited,” said Taryn Hahn, the daughter of Scott Hahn and Alicia Risner.

Lexi Swick, 13, of Norwalk, also plays Emily, Mary Steenburgen’s role in the movie.

“I first wanted to play Jovie, but then when I got Emily, I was super excited because I realized that it was a really important role that I could really bring out — and I was really excited to play it,” Swick said.

Jovie is Buddy’s love interest.

Swick said her character learns to be supportive of her son “because I see him struggling.”

“He doesn’t have a dad all the time. … I am trying to be supportive of Walter and also trying to understand everything that goes on,” she added.

Swick, whose parents are Dan and Emily, wanted to perform in “Elf Jr.” because it’s new to Norwalk.

“I was excited to give it a try and see what new roles I could do,” said the teenager, who has been performing in plays and musicals since the fourth grade.

“Somebody would want to come see this just to bring joy to their holiday or just brighten up their day. It’s an amazing show; it has come together so well and all the people in it are amazing. And it’s just a wonderful show that you need to come see,” Swick said.

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