Skip to main content

GEP brings 'Elf the Musical Jr.' to the Palace

Production features children-only cast of 39 for Nov. 11-13, 17-20
Lead Summary
, , , , ,
Mavis Fodness

“Elf, the Musical Jr.” brings an early holiday spirit to the local area.
The Green Earth Players present the children-only production for seven shows, Nov. 11, 12 and 13 and Nov. 17, 18, 19 and 20. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.
“Every few years the Green Earth Players try to produce a show that features the youth in the community,” said director Shawn Kinsinger. “We were overdue for such a show after the pandemic, so we started researching.”
GEP’s research led them to Elf Jr. which involves 39 children in the cast with no adult actors.
“When the entire cast is together, there is a lot of energy,” Kinsinger said. “The trick is to get everyone pointing that energy in the same direction. That may seem like catching water with a net, but the cast brings it all together for one of the group numbers. It is impressive.”
Elf Jr. follows the movie, “Elf,” closely, Kinsinger said.
Buddy (portrayed by Ashton Taubert) is raised by elves at the North Pole, believing himself to be an elf like everyone else. The secret, however, gets out and Santa (Xavier McKenzie) tells Buddy he can find his birth dad, Walter Hobbs (Britton McKenzie), in New York City.
On his arrival to Manhattan, Buddy is met with the sights, sounds and people of the Big Apple. Buddy also faces the harsh reality that his dad is one the naughty list and his half-brother, Michael (Oliver Carbonneau), doesn’t even believe in Santa.
“There are plenty of roles for all ages of children, catchy songs and a feel-good story,” Kinsinger said. “The show is going to be a great way for Luverne to kick off the holiday season.”
Other characters (and local actors) include:
•Charlie (Noel Henrichs)
•Shawanda (Elaine Nath)
•Deb (Leah Moeller)
•Emily Hobbs (Emerson Remme)
•Saleswoman (Grace Prohl)
•Manager (Taedra McKenzie)
•Jovie (Lexi Drake)
•Santa’s helper (Becca Beaner)
•Fake Santa (Keiton Koller)
•Sarah (Lydia Jarchow)
•Mr. Greenway (Braxton Lafrenz)
•Chadwick (Brayden Luethje)
•Matthews (Deegan Darveaux Stoffel)
•Charlotte Denton (Sarah Prohl)
•Darlene Lambert (Emersyn Roos)
•Emma Van Brocklin (Alayna Oechsle)
•and the ensemble (Rory Nolz, Sophia Nolz, Ricky Nadolski, Luke Nath, Braelinn Papik, Trent Dekker, Emileigh Koller, Harper Hulstein, Kenzi Petersen, Mya Wermager, Daphne DeBoer, Athena DeBoer, Kallista VanGrootheest, Aubrey Nuffer, Ava Lafrenz, Charlotte Rensink, Arya Tollefsen and Nora Tate.
Backstage assistants are Makayla Oechsle and Anthony Beaner.
“These kids have massive imaginations that come up with these big, bold ideas for the characters they play,” Kinsinger said. “The self-esteem they build isn’t only good for the young actors and actresses, it enriches us as a community.”
Helping Kinsinger with rehearsals are adults Dave and Anissa Vis (assistant director and music/costume coordinator), Katrina Brown (choreographer) and husband, Chris, who works with the children in small groups.
“The big payoff is, after opening night, when they see how much the community enjoyed their performance,” Kinsinger said. “Seeing the sense of accomplishment of a cast of kids is different than what you see with a cast of adults.”
Tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for students and are available at the Palace Box Office on Main Street Luverne, by phone 507-283-4339 or through online purchase at

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.