Local performer brings home cheer in ‘Elf’

Emily Larger once performed in “The Wizard of Oz” on the Kuss Auditorium stage during the 2000s. She’s about to discover there’s no place like home.

The 2004 Shawnee High School graduate is returning to the Clark State Performing Arts Center, this time as a member of the national tour of “ELF The Musical.”

“I’m beyond happy to share this with my hometown,” said Larger. “There will be a lot of butterflies, but lots of family will be there, so that will make it special to me.”

“Elf” will bring an early dose of holiday cheer at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9. The show is presented by the Clark State Performing Arts Center and is appropriate for all audiences.

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Based on the 2003 holiday film classic starring Will Ferrell, the musical follows the same premise with young orphan Buddy accidentally transported to the North Pole, where he is reared.

After discovering he’s an ordinary human, Buddy goes to New York City to find his real dad and help people rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.

This will be Larger's fourth tour with "Elf." She plays multiple roles, including a stressed New York mom, a glamorous reporter and, of course, an elf.

Various reasons have kept her coming back to the musical since 2012.

“I love our creative team,” Larger said. “The songs bring me joy every time I sing them. I will still listen to them in the summer. The show isn’t saccharine sweet, it’s just got heart.”

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Patty Larger said her daughter has been a performer since age 3, often putting on shows and including other family members in front of the family fireplace.

“Ever since she was little she was never Emily, she was somebody else,” Patty said.

Larger trained at the Gary Geis School of Dance as well as The Dayton Ballet School and Muse Machine, performing here in “The Wizard of Oz” and a production of “Brigadoon” for the Summer Arts Festival.

Emily had the blessing of Patty and husband Tom when she wanted to move to New York to pursue her dream and realized it as a triple threat of dancer, singer and actress.

“She had her eyes wide open and just went for it,” said Patty. “It’s very exciting. We never thought she’d get here for a show.”

Larger landed roles in national tours including “Cabaret,” “The 39 Steps” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” performing in venues such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., along with numerous regional theater productions, including the lead of “Evita.”

When not performing or going on auditions, she takes classes to keep her skills sharp.

“I’ve found a good balance for myself,” Larger said. “I just want to continue working and feeling good about the productions I’m in.”

Larger returns home to visit a couple of times a year and performed earlier this year in the Gary Geis Tribute Concert as well as penning a poem in his memory.

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“That man changed my life. I had to be there,” she said.

Another special feature is Springfield is the opening stop for the “Elf” tour, which will end in December in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Larger sees a similarity with Buddy’s story.

“It’s a fun symbolic journey for me to open here and close in New York City.”

More on Larger is available at her website, https://www.emilylarger.com/.


What: "ELF The Musical"

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Admission: $26-58 (plus ticket and facility fees)

More info: 937-328-3874 or go to https://pac.clarkstate.edu/events/calendar/elf-the-musical/

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