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Tulare County Office of Education's Theatre Company Presents Elf Jr. the Musical

Oct 25, 2017 11:00AM ● By Jordan Venema

A Happy Holiday

November 2017
Story by Jordan Venema
Photos courtesy of Tulare County Office of Education’s Theatre Company

Charlotte Garcia De Rosa loves the Christmas season, which is fortunate, since the vocal director for the Tulare County Office of Education’s Theatre Company has been living, breathing and singing Christmas cheer since the summer.

This fall, the company will perform “Elf Jr. the Musical,” an adaptation of the movie “Elf” starring Will Farrell, from Nov. 16-18. 

“It felt like a fun kick-off into the winter holiday season, but I’ll probably be fine to not see elves for a little bit,” De Rosa says with a laugh. “I’ll definitely be very ready for Christmas.” 

One thing is for sure, as fans of “Elf” can agree, this musical should be an antidote for any Christmas Grinch. 

The Theatre Company is a yearlong program that began in 1998, and which performs a fall, spring and summer show. First grade through graduating high school students, as well as home-school students, can participate as long as they are Tulare County residents.

De Rosa splits directing duties between Bethany Rader, the Theatre Company director, and Nicole Zweisel, choreographer and costume coordinator. 

De Rosa began working for the Tulare County Office of Education in 2002, but also has extensive experience as a private voice instructor, having worked with various choral programs in Visalia.

“I was brought in to co-direct at the Ice House for the last five years, for the Visalia players,” adds De Rosa, who is also a board member for the Fourth Wall Theatre Company in Visalia. “So I’ve been onstage and behind the scenes.” 

So while De Rosa has worked every facet of theatre, she says there’s something special about working with kids, and this year things have come full circle. 

“This past year was a major, major year,” says De Rosa, who has been working with students since 2002. “The class who graduated in 2017, many of them started at 6 years old, and went through the whole program. We felt like moms who sent their kids off to college. We even have kids who grew up in our program and now they work for the company.” 

Clearly “Elf Jr. the Musical” is an adaptation of the film starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel, but it is further an adaptation of a full stage, national-touring musical. “Elf Jr.” is a 70-minute version of the Broadway show. 

“The musical is based on the movie, and it’s lot of the fun and silly innocence. It’s all in this show, too. It’s a happy uplifting show,” says De Rosa.

“In short, it’s the story of Buddy the Elf and a lot of funny chaos ensues,” she continues. “We’ve got some wonderful kids performing in the show. Buddy is played by Logan Lancaster, a really talented young man.” 

And of course, the music captures the mood of the original film, which, De Rosa adds, couldn’t come at a better time. “It’s really catchy, fun, jazzy, uplifting music, and it’s just a real good, feel good musical. It’s the right time to do something like that. This is definitely a show for all of us to take a break and enjoy ourselves.”

Plus, it’s a great way to celebrate all the hard work and preparation of local students. Auditions began in June, though students were still rehearsing and preparing for the July performance of “Hello, Dolly!”

Elf Jr. the Musical

Nov. 16-18, 7pm; Nov. 18, 2pm 

L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia • (559) 651-1482

General admission $12; tickets are available at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. or the L.J. Williams Theater box office an hour before showtime.