GLT’s ‘Jingle All the Way’ provides a lesson in elf respect

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Many Christmas stories are set in Santa’s Workshop, but there’s one big difference between “Jingle All the Way” and most of the others. The Greenville Little Theatre’s fourth annual Theater for Young Audiences’ Christmas show doesn’t center on Santa. Instead, it’s all about the elves. Or, more precisely, two elves-in-training, twins Jingle and Jangle.

It’s not easy being Jangle, the twin brother of Santa’s No. 1 helper, Jingle. No matter what job Jangle is assigned to in Santa’s Workshop, his sister can do it faster and better. “Jingle is a very good elf,” says Cat McWhirter, who plays Jingle. “Jangle, well, he’s trying his best but he causes problems.”

Then a letter arrives for Santa at the North Pole that requires a top-priority gift. The problem is no one, including Jingle, knows how to make it. Perhaps Jangle can save Christmas?

“It’s a beautiful story,” says Carter Allen, who plays Jangle. “There’s a lot of great humor, not only for the kids but for adults, too. There’s a lot of physical humor and there are references that the adults will get that go right over the kids’ heads. It’s really a show for all ages.”

GLT presented its first Christmas show for young audiences in 2013 as an experiment. That Christmas gift has turned into a Christmas tradition. “Jingle All the Way” was written by Catherine Bush, the same playwright who wrote “Rudolph,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

In addition to Allen and McWhirter, the cast includes Sam McCalla, Emily Grove and Cory Granner. Evan Harris plays Santa Claus.

While the musical was specifically written for young audiences, it still is a wonderful piece of theater, Allen says. “It is very well-written. It has a lot of great morals and lessons learned. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a great introduction to live theater for younger people, but it’s something the entire family can enjoy. There’s a lot of heart in it.”

The actors have plenty of experience performing for young children. They are touring “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: The Musical” in schools across the Upstate. “The big thing about performing for an audience full of children is they will tell you exactly how they feel about it, sometimes right in the middle of the show,” McWhirter says.

Allen agrees. “When they really like something, you can tell. They really fall into the story,” he says.

 

“Jingle All the Way”

Where: Greenville Little Theatre
When: Dec. 13-16, 10:30 a.m. and Dec. 17, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Running time: 55 minutes
Tickets: $15; group discounts available
Information: 233-6238 or www.greenvillelittletheatre.org

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