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‘Elf – The Musical’ hits a workshop near London, Ont. at The Grand Theatre

Elf – The Musical is returning to the Spriet Stage to take the spotlight at The Grand Theatre from Nov. 22 to Dec. 31. Dahlia Katz

Heading into the holiday season and back by “overwhelming demand,” Elf – The Musical is returning to the Spriet Stage to take the spotlight at The Grand Theatre in London, Ont.

Opening on Tuesday, 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,” theatre officials said in a statement.

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“I can think of no better play for this specific holiday season than Elf,” remarks Dennis Garnhum, artistic director for the Grand. “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 in the every day.

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“Whether young in years or in heart, we all can learn a lesson or two from Buddy,” he added.

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Izad Etemadi stars as Buddy the Elf and said that in the upcoming performance, “there’s always something to smile about.”

“It’s a really beautiful story about believing in Christmas, believing in the best in people and finding who you are, and I think that’s really relatable,” he said.

First taking the centre stage at the Grand in spring 2021 as Samuel in the world premiere of Grow, Etemadi added that playing such a well-known character, as Buddy the Elf, is a “wild ride.”

“Will Ferrell is incredible in that part, but in the version of the musical there’s so much room to bring your own spin to it and create something new,” he said.

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In terms of production value, officials said that audiences will “observe nothing elf-sized” about this ‘grand’ musical as the show features one of the largest sets seen on the Spriet Stage for years, requiring double the amount of scenic artists to create.

Additionally, a record amount of glitter has also been applied, totaling approximately 45 pounds, as well as 50 pounds of fake snow.

The Grand Theatre also announced the continuation of the partnership with the London Food Bank for the sixth year in a row through its Business Cares program, this years titled #Sparklejollytwinklejingley.

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During the run of Elf, officials said that audience members are set to also hear more about the local food bank and its impact, followed by a call for monetary donations after each performance. All proceeds will be going towards the food bank as well as 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,” Grand executive director Evan Klassen remarked in a written statement. “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,” he concluded.

Elf -The Musical will be running on the Spriet Stage from Nov. 22 through Dec. 31. More information about performance times and tickets are available at www.grandtheatre.com.

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