Westerville Central High School thespians will be helping one of Santa's helpers find his true identity when they present "Elf the Musical Jr."

Showtimes are at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 at the school, 7118 Mount Royal Ave.

Director Stephanie Matushoneck said the school never has performed a Christmas show.

"The kids and I thought it would be a nice change," she said. " 'Elf the Musical Jr.' is great for little kids due to its short run, and it is a lot of fun. It's the junior version and appropriate for little kids."

Based on the holiday film of the same name, the fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf, a young orphan, in his quest to find his true identity, according to Matushoneck.

Buddy mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole, according to wikipedia.org. After discovering the baby, Santa and his elves decide to raise the child as an elf.

Years later, Buddy finds out that he's actually a human being and, at Santa's prompting, heads to New York City in search of his birth father, Walter Hobbs, and to find his true identity.

Buddy learns that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn't believe in Santa, but Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Central senior Frank Schulze plays Buddy.

"He's a very happy-go-lucky character that you probably all know and love," Schulze said. "It has been so much fun being able to play the role. I love all the music and the songs. It has been so much fun working on the show."

Senior Megan Elkins plays Buddy's love interest, Jovie.

"She's a big Scrooge, which is a little opposite of me," Elkins said. "It's such an amazing cast. This production is just so cool. We're doing such a great job, and you should come see it."

Matushoneck said some younger brothers and sisters of cast members are featured in the show.

"There are a lot of kids," Elkins said. "We have six or seven kids -- all different age ranges. They're all so sweet and talented."

In addition to Schulze and Elkins, other main roles include Santa, played by freshman Ben Wright; Walter Hobbs, played by senior Brandon Wuebker; Emily Hobbs, portrayed by senior KJ Belskie; and Michael Hobbs, portrayed by sophomore Aaron Dick. The technical director is Kelly Conkel.

Matushoneck said there will be a Christmas party with Buddy and Santa after each show, at which children can make ornaments.

Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased at wchstheatre.net or at the door.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla