Elf Jr.’s joyful song

    Overly enthusiastic Elf Jr. (J. Jesus Jaramillo) featured with a reluctant Santa (Cole Barker). By Robert Eliason.

    The thought of Christmas elves can create mixed feelings among family members. Children love them; parents cringe at them. Though elves have taken over several homes in Hollister this December, a new kind of elf is visiting town.

    By Robert Eliason

    But families can rest assured: This elf won’t be popping up on your shelf. And he’s sure to put smiles on the faces of parents and children alike.

    Presented by Inspire Performing Arts Academy, “Elf Jr. the Musical” opens on Friday, Dec.15 at the San Benito High School Auditorium. The three-show performance is directed by academy owner, Sally Hail, choreographed by Maddi Alipaz, vocal-directed by Rachel Clayson and produced by Tristan Clayson.

    Those familiar with the movie Elf will find joy in its musical version.

    The tale stars William “Buddy” Hobbs, a young orphan who is transported to the North Pole after crawling into Santa Claus’ toy bag. Found by Santa and his elves, he is raised as an elf. But years later, Buddy (played by J. Jesus Jaramillo) finds out he’s human and becomes curious about where he comes from. With permission from Santa (played by Cole Barker), Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, Walter, and to discover his true identity.

    The musical follows Buddy through his adventures of being part of the human world and his determination to win over his birth family. All the while, Buddy helps New York City remember the true meaning of Christmas.

    Tristan Clayson described Buddy the Elf as “so jubilant that even his elf coworkers are sick of how happy he is.”

    This may explain how Jaramillo was cast as the lead character.

    Jaramillo’s audition for Buddy the Elf was a “ray of sunshine entering the room,” said Hail.
    “When we saw J. Jesus smile, he was an obvious choice for the lead,” she said.

    The entire cast, to be exact, is sure to be a hit with audiences.

    Ranging in age from child to adult, cast members are showcased in such numbers as “Happy All the Time” (where elves sing and smile all day long, but Buddy is even more of an excess of cheerfulness).

    Jaramillo’s depiction of Buddy the Elf will shine for audiences as well during “SparkleJollyTwinkleJingley.”

    Producer Tristan Clayson is excited for the audience to finally experience the fun the cast has had.

    “Walter’s initial reaction to finding out about Buddy is sure to be a favorite moment for the audience,” Clayson said. “It’s one which consistently brings many laughs from the cast members observing during rehearsal.”

    As for Hail, she hopes this musical will become a holiday fixture in Hollister.
    Much as those elves show up in homes once a year, she plans to revisit this show on a yearly basis.

    “We want families to plan their holiday, every year, beginning with attending our show,” Hail said.

    According to Clayson, the musical has all the fixings for an annual holiday tradition.
    “For those who want to be there this first year and adopt this play into their holiday plans, or for anyone who wants to spend a fun night out for the holidays—this story is perfect,” he said.

    The desire to have this show continue in the future made the production difficult, Clayson added, but it was a feat the production team was willing to endure.
    “The love of theater these students and families bring to the production is the cornerstone of Sally’s vision,” he said.

    “The exuberance they display will be the delight of every audience member during the show.”

    Inspire Performing Arts presents ‘Elf Jr. the Musical’ Friday, Dec. 15 at 7pm and Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2pm and 7pm at San Benito High School Auditorium,1220 Monterey St. Tickets are available at ipaacademy.com or at Inspire Performing Arts Academy. For more information call 831.635.0553.



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