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Curtain ready to rise on 'The Happy Elf' in Bethlehem

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 29 2012 03:54:19 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2012 04:57:28 PM CST

The curtain will go up Friday on a holiday happening involving entertainer Harry Connick Jr.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

The curtain will go up Friday on a holiday happening involving entertainer Harry Connick Jr.

His play, "The Happy Elf," performed by the Pennsylvania Youth Theater, will debut in Bethlehem.

It includes 75 performers and two full casts. All are in full Broadway mode inside the Ice House in Bethlehem. Connick is overseeing it all.

During a recent rehearsal, Connick, a Grammy Award-winning musician and all-around entertainer, was working with the kids, crafting the play and playing around.

But this is serious business for Connick. The play is based of one his songs, turned into an animated NBC special.

"Really important to iron out all the details.  Word for word, iron everything out. It's a tremendous amount of work," Connick said.

"The Happy Elf" has been preformed before but in a shorter format. This is the first time it's a full-fledged play.

After its run at the Ice House, it's set to be preformed across the country.

Cast member and director, Michael Melcher, admitted it's a lot of pressure, but it pales in comparison to Connick's impact on the kids.

"Work hard, learn your lines. Say practice, practice practice. You can say that to them all the time, but to have a professional who lives and breaths it and gives the same lesson, it's pretty powerful for them," said Melcher.

Since September, Connick's shadow has covered cast members like 10th grader Diana Nicholas.

"He was talking about really being yourself, and I took a lot from that. I thought it was interesting," she said.

Connick and the cast are no doubt hoping the public is entertained and the show and its performers will live on long after the Ice House lights go out.