ELF JR. Delivers Holiday Magic

Theatre review - On Stage Now at Fremont Centre Theatre

PHOTO: SouthPasadenan.com | Gabe Michlin, Paul Zenas, Levi Srebalus, and Sorsha Khitikian star in Elf Jr. by Young Stars Theatre now playing at Fremont Centre Theatre

Young Stars Theatre is back with a holly, jolly, sparkly, twinkly production of ELF JR., the adventures of Buddy the Elf! The story follows Buddy, a human who was found and raised by the elves at the North Pole, starting on the day he accidentally uncovers, much to his chagrin, that he is not in fact an elf, but a human. Santa finally tells Buddy the truth and that he can find his long, lost father working at the Empire State Building in New York City.

PHOTO: SouthPasadenan.com | Santa and his elves preparing for Christmas in Elf Jr. now on stage at the Fremont Centre Theatre

And so begins this holiday story of a misfit human trying to find a family and love in the big city. On the way he works at Macy’s, meets his bio family and creates a lot of holiday spirit wherever he goes…that is when he’s not inadvertently causing havoc for his uptight businessman father. It’s a feel good holiday treat for all ages.

PHOTO: YST | SouthPasadenan.com | Jack Wisinski as Buddy and Ellia White as Jovie in Elf Jr. at Young Stars Theatre

The show has two casts that perform on alternating days. In the role of the loveable Buddy is longtime YST member, Jack Wisinski, who gives the elf pure wide eyed innocence while Paul Zenas brings an unbridled enthusiasm. Both handle the role well and are very funny. In the role of Buddy’s “girlfriend”, Jovie, is the lovely, mature performance of Ellia White and the biting wit and strong voice of Noemi Fierros.

PHOTO: SouthPasadenan.com | Paul Zenas as Buddy and Noemi Fierros as Jovie in Elf Jr. at Young Stars Theatre

Jacqueline Eubank is a gentle and jolly St. Nick, among other roles, and Gabe Michlin, fresh off his YST debut in Legally Blonde Jr. takes on the role of Buddy’s father, Walter Hobbs, with all the put upon exasperation of a stressed out 50 year old. Buddy’s new brother, Michael, is played with genuine sweetness by Michael Olsen, while Levi Srebalus plays the character’s sense of justice with aplomb. Walter’s wife is played beautifully by Christina Amber, last seen in Annie Warbucks, and Sorsha Khitikian, fresh off her run in Legally Blonde Jr.

PHOTO: SouthPasadenan.com | Gabe Michlin and Corwin Daley in a scene from Elf Jr

YST favorite character actor, Corwin Daley, is back once again taking on multiple roles, all hilarious, especially the gruff Mr. Greenway. As always with YST, the ensemble crackles with megawatt energy and enthusiasm and here, with the winter holiday theme, they are simply adorable in their hats, coats and mittens as they sing the catchy, “A Christmas Song” or “SparkleJollyTwinkleJingley”. You’re going to be singing all the way home!

PHOTO: SouthPasadenan.com | The cast of Elf Jr. caroling on the streets of New York City in Elf Jr.

The cast also includes Paxton Kim-Tang, Gwyneth Daley, JoJo Duran, Lindsay Osborne, Veronica Koutsky, Maisy Shnick, James Pudi, Cate Rabaya, Fiona Pudi, DJ Mavis, Mira Mavis, and  Augie Matsuura.

ELF JR. is produced by Young Stars Theatre, directed by Jack Bennett, musically directed by Gloria Bennett, and choreographed by Mirai Booth-Ong. The show continues through December 17 for a total of 12 performances. For showtimes and ticketing, as well as more info about YST, you can go to www.YoungStarsTheatre.org Follow them on Instagram and Facebook @youngstarstheatre

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Alisa Hayashida has been covering arts, culture, & events in the greater Pasadena Metro areas and Los Angeles Metro areas for the past six years. She is a valuable arts advocate in South Pasadena, with an extensive background in theater arts. Since graduating from UC Irvine, her work has taken her from Los Angeles to India, London, Paris and throughout Europe. She lives in South Pasadena with her husband and son and has been a devout South Pasadenan for the past 25 years.

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