'Elf, the Musical' returns to The Grand Theatre, London, Ontario

A sparkling gift this holiday season. Give the gift of live theatre

Dahlia Katz

Press release

Elf - The Musical, Most Popular Holiday Show in Grand Theatre History, Returns to the Spriet Stage

Book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin
Music by Matthew Sklar
Lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Based upon the New Line Cinema film written by David Berenbaum
Originally produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures
In association with Unique Features
Directed by Dennis Garnhum
On the Spriet Stage
November 22 – December 31, 2022

The Grand Theatre’s holiday production of Elf – The Musical is extending its run by five performance days, with a final closing date scheduled for December 31st, 2022.

The production was initially intended to close on December 24th, but due to high demand, eight performances have been added to the schedule – allowing more Londoners to join Buddy on his joyful holiday adventure.

Tickets are on sale now for these new performances at the Grand Theatre Box Office or online at grandtheatre.com.


November 15, 2022 – London ON – Back by overwhelming demand is the most popular holiday show in Grand Theatre history: Elf – The Musical – starring Izad Etemadi as Buddy the Elf and directed by Dennis Garnhum. Playing on the Spriet Stage from November 22nd through December 31st, Elf follows the storyline of the beloved New Line Cinema film of the same name but integrates charming, new music and choreography that will uplift spirits and open the hearts of audience members to joy, generosity, and gratitude.

“I can think of no better play for this specific holiday season than Elf,” remarks Dennis Garnhum, Grand Theatre Artistic Director. “With his incredible optimism and unyielding altruism, Buddy the Elf reminds us all of the importance of kindness and the joy that can be found not just on Christmas, but every day. Whether young in years or in heart, we all can learn a lesson or two from Buddy.”

Based on the beloved holiday film, Elf - The Musical tells the story of Buddy, who is raised believing that he is an elf of the North Pole. That is until his massive size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the cold truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy then embarks on a journey of self-discovery to New York City to track down his birth father, who is in desperate need of some Christmas spirit.

After becoming an instant fan-favourite as Samuel in the world premiere of GROW at the Grand in Spring 2021, Izad Etemadi takes to the Spriet Stage once again to play the leading role of Buddy for Elf - The Musical. Joining him is a cast of 15 renowned local and Canadian talent, including Michelle Bardach (Jovie), Shane Carty (Walter), Aadin Church (Santa), Ma-Anne Dionisio (Emily), and Charlotte Moore (Deb), whom London audiences will remember from her role of Fraulein Schneider in the Grand’s triple held-over production of 'Cabaret' in 2019. Elf also features a spirited Children’s Chorus of ten young actors from across London and region, with ages ranging between 11 and 17.

Elf will also include a live orchestra of eight, playing the show’s full orchestration from the Spriet’s orchestra pit – live, every production. Leading the Orchestra is Musical Director, Alexandra Kane.

In terms of production value, audiences will observe nothing elf-sized about this ‘grand’ musical. The show features one of the largest sets seen on the Spriet Stage for years, which has required double the traditional number of scenic artists to create. In addition to the sheer scale of the set, a record amount of glitter has also been applied – approximately 45 pounds. Reminiscent of Santa’s workshop, 13 individuals are busily working in the Grand’s wardrobe department and four are in props to complete a costume and props list long enough to rival Santa’s. Further, there are 11 stagehands, five dressers, and four stage managers required to run the show from the booths and backstage.

In an ongoing mission to decrease the Grand’s environmental footprint, the Theatre has converted to rechargeable wireless microphones, from battery-powered. This shift results in keeping a mass amount of AA batteries out of landfills – approximately 2,500 for the run of Elf. Finally, no Grand holiday show would be complete without snow. For this production, 50 pounds of fake snow will be utilized, all of which are made of shredded plastic bags.

Hoping to add to the cumulative total that has surpassed $340,000, the Grand Theatre is delighted to once again be partnering with the London Food Bank for a sixth consecutive year through its Business Cares program, this year entitled #Sparklejollytwinklejingley. During the run of Elf, audience members will hear more about the London Food Bank and its impact within the city of London. Following each performance, there will be a call for monetary donations, with 100% of all proceeds directed to the Food Bank and the homes of those in need.

“It’s almost impossible to turn on the news today without hearing stories of the escalating price of food and how many within our city – and country – are facing greater food insecurity than ever before,” remarks Grand Executive Director, Evan Klassen. “As a London proud institution, we feel a strong responsibility towards serving our community and giving back. We look forward to partnering with the London Food Bank again this year, and bringing some needed holiday joy to members of our community who may be facing difficult times.”

Elf -The Musical is on the Spriet Stage from November 22nd through December 24, 2022. Tickets begin at $35 and are available at www.grandtheatre.com, by phone at 519-672-8800, or at the Box Office, 471 Richmond Street.

The Grand Theatre gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the 2022/23 returning Season Sponsor BMO Financial Group and Elf - The Musical Title Sponsor, McCormick Canada.

To learn more about Elf - The Musical, please visit: https://www.grandtheatre.com/event/elf . Additional facts, photos, and updates can also be found by following @thegrandlondon and #GrandELF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

THE CAST (In alphabetical order)
Michelle Bardach - Jovie
Kih Becke - Shawanda
Meg Buchanan-Lunn - Souvlaki Vendor / Emily Understudy
Shane Carty - Walter
Aadin Church - Santa
Alicia D'Ariano - Charlie / Jovie Understudy
Riley DeLuca - Michelle
Marco DeLuca - Sam / Buddy Understudy
Ma-Anne Dionisio - Emily
Izad Etemadi - Buddy the Elf
Sweeney MacArthur - Macy’s Santa /Walter Understudy
Charlotte Moore - Deb
Jamie Murray - Matthews
Shakeil Rollock - Chadwick
Taurian Teelucksingh - Store Manager
Margaret Thompson - Charlotte Dennon / Deb Understudy

THE CHILDREN'S CHORUS (In alphabetical order)
Jiya Agrawal
Miraya Agrawal
Raya Campbell
Marina Daminelli Krieck
Anthony Frescura-Denomme
Nicolas Hiltz
Isabelle Hiltz
Leah Gliddon
Lachlan MacLean
Paxton Nair

THE CREATIVE TEAM
Dennis Garnhum - Director
Alexandra Kane - Musical Director
Lisa Stevens - Choreographer
Dana Osborne - Costume Designer
Scott Penner - Set Designer
Kimberly Purtell - Lighting Designer
Brian Kenny - Sound Designer
Kelly Luft - Stage Manager
Jamie Murray - Dance Captain
Jordan Guetter - Assistant Stage Manager
Andrea Schurman - Assistant Stage Manager
Conner Bustamente - Apprentice Stage Manager
Cindi Armer-Almeida – Child Supervisor
Christine Gruenbauer – Child Supervisor
Linda Martin – Child Supervisor
Lauren Rebelo – Child Supervisor

ORCHESTRA
Alexandra Kane - Conductor & Keyboard 3
Éric Charbonneau - Keyboard 1
Tony De Luca - Bb Clarinet, Alto & Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Denis Jiron - Trombone
Rob Larose - Drums
William Li - Bass
Paul Stevenson - Trumpet

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