Local Singers Audition for “Happy Elf” Musical

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SCRANTON -- The voices of Northeastern Pennsylvania singers could very well be heard on Broadway if all goes well for a new musical written by Harry Connick Jr.

He's recruited the help of local talent to produce his show, "The Happy Elf".

Officials at the Scranton Cultural Center are holding auditions this week. In total, the center's new music director will see more than 100 singers from the area.

The music won't sound familiar. Most of it has never been performed before, but the producers of it hope these local voices make it famous.

"I think it's so important for kids to be involved in music making and musical theater. There are talented kids everywhere, so why not use the kids here in Scranton?" said Music Director Sheri Melcher.

Sheri Melcher and her husband Mike, the Cultural Center's new director, have been working on a musical with actor and singer Harry Connick Jr.

It's a Christmas children's show called "The Happy Elf". Before it goes to big time Broadway producers, they'll record the score in Scranton using singers they cast from this week's auditions.

After a few weeks of rehearsal, Harry Connick Jr. himself is scheduled to come to the Cultural Center to see "The Happy Elf" come to life.

The new director of the Scranton Cultural Center is hoping to start a trend with "The Happy Elf" project. He hopes the center becomes a place to see theater and produce it.

That was one of the draws for singers and Scranton Prep students Marala MacKarey and Sophia Rinaldi who have seen plenty of musicals at the Scranton Cultural Center but wanted a chance to be in one.

"We've been season ticket holders for as long as I can remember here, so it's really cool because we always go to the shows. This would be really awesome," said MacKarey.

Producers said they plan to cast singers of all ages. The girls were out of a few dozen high school students who sang Harry Connick's lyrics at the audition.

They admitted being a little nervous.

"Sort of, but it's so cool at the same time because we're just a local town, and it's Harry Connick Jr.," said Rinaldi.

Hopefully they'll be happy they took the shot.

The cast of "The Happy Elf" will be picked in the next few weeks.