‘Elf the Musical Jr.’ features Monroe cast members

Monroe cast members of "Elf the Musical Jr." include Richard Bierut, 14, Landon Bloom, 11, Cassidy Bloom, 15, Addison Simms, 14, Aria Hittenmark, 9, Quentin Hittenmark, 7, Leah Morey, 11, Lucca Oliveira, 10, Noah Napolitano, 10, Michael Dono, 8, Addy Braun, 10, and Max Brunelle, 15.

NEWTOWN, CT — “Elf the Musical”, a broadway production based on the 2003 hit movie starring comedian Will Ferrell, will be performed by the young cast of the Newtown Stage Co. in three shows at Edmond Town Hall this weekend — and every show is already sold out.

Most of the cast consists of residents from Monroe and Newtown, though some hail from Easton, Redding and Southbury. They all participated in a dress rehearsal Wednesday evening.

The Newtown Stage Co. was formed last January when three friends wanted to offer a creative outlet in the arts to local youth in the aftermath of the closings of Two Planks in Monroe and New Arts, a Newtown theatre company.

“We just found there was a need, especially for children’s theatre,” said Katie Bloom of Monroe.

Kevin Gray, 12, left, a Newtown Middle School seventh grader, plays the starring role of Buddy the Elf. At right is the show’s director, Katie Bloom of Monroe.

Bloom, who is the director of “Elf the Musical Jr.” a shorter version of the Broadway musical, is a second-grade teacher at Saugatuck Elementary School in Westport, where she has also directed musicals.

“I had students go on to star on Broadway, do films and other things,” she said of her experience over the years.

Bloom founded Newtown Stage Co. with her friends, husband and wife Ryan and Erin Loucks of Newtown.

Ryan used to serve on the board for New Arts and Erin, who has a BFA degree in musical theatre, taught dance at various studios over the years and has experience in choreography.

Erin was associate choreographer for New Arts’ last production, “A Christmas Carol” and is the choreographer for “Elf the Musical Jr.”. She handles Newtown Stage Co.’s production and programs, social media and manages its website.

Kevin Gray, 12, a Newtown Middle School seventh grader, plays the starring role of Buddy the Elf. On Wednesday he wore his green elf suit and hat, along with a curly blonde wig to complete the Will Ferrell look.

“The costume design is amazing and the people here are so nice and helpful,” he said. “Everyone of the directors are always there if you need something.”

This is Gray’s first production with the Newtown Stage Co.

“I think it’s really good for kids to be creative and do what they want to do,” Gray said of what Newtown Stage Co. has to offer. “If I had the opportunity to do theatre at the younger kids’ ages, that would have been amazing.”

Gray said participating in theatre is a good way to make friends and to express yourself.

“I think I want to be on Broadway when I’m older,” he said.

“He’s fabulous,” Bloom added with a smile.

For information on the Newtown Stage Co.’s shows and opportunities to participate in future productions, click here to visit its website.

Members of the cast

Bloom said one of the drawbacks of the musicals she directs for Westport Public Schools is her own children cannot participate. But Newtown Stage Co. has a cast from around the region.

She said four-out-of-five of her family members are involved in “Elf the Musical Jr.” with the exception of her five-year-old.

Those participating include Bloom, her husband Justin who is building sets, their daughter Cassidy, 15, a freshman at Masuk High School, and son Landon, 11, a Stepney Elementary School fifth-grader.

Bloom said the cast has a dozen Monroe kids with representation from all three elementary schools — Stepney, Monroe and Fawn Hollow — and Jockey Hollow Middle School. And about a half dozen Masuk students work with the stage crew.

Leah Morey, 11, of Monroe, at left, sings while starring as Michael in “Elf the Musical Jr.” a Newtown Stage Co. production.

Leah Morey, 11, a Jockey Hollow sixth-grader, stars as Buddy’s brother Michael and has some singing parts.

Morey also played as Nemo at the Fairfield Performing Arts Studio last summer and just finished performing in her school’s play, “The Snow White Variety Show”.

Richard Bierut, 14, a Masuk freshman, was cast in Newtown Stage Co.’s last show and is currently working as a crew member for “Elf”.

“This theatre company is amazing,” he said. “I do theatre at Masuk and come here and do crew, and it gives me a great understanding of theatre.”

Max Brunelle, 15, a Masuk sophomore, paints a lot of the sets and puts microphones on actors backstage before they go on.

They were super kind and let me do all the painting at my house, and gave me time to do it,” Brunelle said of Newtown Stage Co. “I did their summer show, painting and decorating the sets and pieces of scenery.”

Brunelle said he does painting, building and run crew at Masuk. He also performed those same tasks for the Trumbull Youth Association.

Brunelle said he loves seeing all of the work come together during performances, adding, “it’s really amazing.”

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