Finding Family

Sugar Creek Players returns with ‘Elf: The Musical’

Brian Swick (Buddy), right, and Steve Frees (Santa) rehearse a scene for the Sugar Creek Players production of
Brian Swick (Buddy), right, and Steve Frees (Santa) rehearse a scene for the Sugar Creek Players production of
Nick Hedrick/Journal Review

The Sugar Creek Players is bringing a hit Christmas movie to the stage.

“Elf: The Musical,” which is based on the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell, opens Thursday in the Connie L. Meek Auditorium at Crawfordsville High School. Performances will be at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Patrons are asked to purchase tickets online at https://sugarcreekplayers.thundertix.com/events/191634?only_one=true.

The show is being staged at the high school instead of the Vanity Theater to allow for social distancing, director Debbie Hill said.

“We get to use [the auditorium’s] space and therefore get to see ‘Elf’ on a much larger scale,” Hill said. The venue allows for more lighting effects and other “technical surprises” from the crew, Hill added.

In the show, Buddy (Brian Swick), an orphan, accidentally crawls into Santa’s gift bag and ends up at the North Pole. Much larger in size than the other elves and struggling to make toys, Buddy realizes he’s actually human.

Santa (Steve Frees) sends Buddy on a journey to New York City to find his father and discover his real identity.

“I really like the story between father and long-lost son,” Swick said before taking the stage for a dress rehearsal. The tale, Swick added, “encapsulates what the show really is once you get past all the humor.”

It’s the first time on the SCP stage for seasoned crew members Frees and his wife, Glenda (Mrs. Claus).

“It’s just a really fun group,” Steve Frees said. “I think the audience is going to enjoy it because everyone on stage is having so much fun.”

“I enjoy working in the background too, but it’s a different joy,” Glenda Frees added.

Hill, who is Swick’s brother-in-law, is making her directorial debut. Hill is a classically-trained vocal instructor and a veteran stage performer. Hill’s sister, Jennie Swick, plays Jovie.

“It’s a different view of theater than I’ve done before,” Hill said. “I’ve had to learn a lot to do this.”

“Elf” is SCP’s third in-person production since the beginning of the pandemic after online productions were staged last year. The Vanity reopened in April with “The Disney Showcase.” “Mama Mia!” took the stage at North Montgomery High School in July.

“It’s just a part of who we are for a lot of us and it’s nice to be able to go back and just do what you enjoy doing,” Brian Swick said, “and no matter how things will be shut down from time to time, you know you’ll always go back to it and it will be here for you.”


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