The Seaway Valley Theatre Company is busy preparing for their 2022-2023 season’s children’s musical, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer JR.” a musical adaptation of the beloved 1964 television special.
Director Leslie Ellam has been with the Seaway Valley Theatre Company since they opened in 2006. She has directed several other musicals, including “Mamma Mia!”, “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”, “Chicago”, and “Spamalot”, but this is her first time directing children.
“I have lots of directing experience. Never with kids before though so this has been an adventure,” Ellam shared, “They’re a lot of fun. If I come into rehearsal like, ‘Oh gosh I’m tired’, these kids bring out all of the energy.”
The copyright on Rudolf was recently released, and when the SVTC team saw it was available they knew they wanted to do it right away. The show is produced by SVTC president Lise Richer and newcomer Angela Pilon, a member of the SVTC’s marketing committee. Stéphanie Charette as choreographer and Stephanie St. Louis as musical director round out the creative team.
“The songs are all the ones you love from the animated show. The kids are doing an amazing job with the singing. It’s a show to entertain, for sure,” the director explained, “We’re trying to get as close as possible to the feel of the animated cartoon, so scenery looks like plasticine. The costume designers are going above and beyond to make sure someone is dressed like an airplane, bird-fish, snowman… imagination galore.”
Over 60 children auditioned for 30 roles in the play. The team said its always hard to narrow it down, but they ended up with a few seasoned performers and a lot of new faces. SVTC president Lise Richer mentioned that the children’s musicals often become a family affair because siblings are cast together, and other family members help behind the scenes.
“The new kids are learning the directions of stage and all that kind of stuff. It’s a huge learning curve for them to figure out what’s upstage, downstage, stage left/right but the kids that have been in plays before are showing them,” added Ellam, “Sometimes we run a scene that the other kids haven’t seen before, and when it happens, they all clap afterwards. The camaraderie and support they give one another is awesome.”
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Jr.” will be staged at the Aultsville Theatre, 2 St. Lawrence Drive, Cornwall, on Saturday, December 3 at 1:30 and 4:00 PM, and on Sunday, December 4 at 1:30 PM.
For more information, visit www.svtc.ca/rudolph-jr and the Seaway Valley Theatre Company’s Facebook page.