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Elf awareness: Ryan students star in Christmas classic

Mike DuBeck and Elizabeth Haney star in Elf at Archbishop Ryan High School. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Elizabeth Haney had to miss the end of a few field hockey practices this fall.

But she wasn’t hurt. She was just acting.

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Haney is a junior at Archbishop Ryan High School, and one of the leading scorers on the Ragdolls field hockey team. 

But when the forward wasn’t filling the net with goals, she was hitting the high notes while practicing for the school’s winter play.

“We started practicing in September, they kind of worked around my schedule, but most of the time it was just me leaving practice to go to rehearsal,” said Haney, who lives in Churchville. “It wasn’t bad at all, and it helped that we had a lot of people who could fill in when I wasn’t there. If someone is absent, we have a lot of other great people who can step in and do the job.”

The cast was great, and so were the plays. The Ryan students performed Elf at the school, and it drew rave reviews from teachers, students, parents and all who attended the play, which was performed over the first weekend of the month.

Haney played Jovie, Elf’s girlfriend. Elf was played by Mike DuBeck, a senior who lives in Pennypack near Bustleton. And together, along with the rest of the talented cast, made some Christmas magic.

Just as it does in sports, it helps to have experience and two of the main characters have plenty of time on stage.

DuBeck has been in 22 plays at the school. Haney has starred in 14 of them. But every time they take a role, it requires lots of work, lots of practice, and all of that is on stage. In fact, they didn’t binge watch the popular Will Ferrell movie before taking the stage, as they combined to watch the film once before the play.

In reality, starring in a show is much like playing a sport.

“Honestly, for someone like me it comes fairly easy because I did so many shows, but really you just have to stay on your game,” DuBeck said. “You just have to focus, make sure you get a lot of rest, get sleep, eat right, make sure everything is up to date with everything.”

“The play is like another teammate, really,” said Haney, who is also the president of her junior class and on the Ragdolls lacrosse team. “It takes a lot of practice. You have to go out and do the same thing over and over until you’re comfortable and you’re able to do it well. It’s a lot like playing a sport in that way.”

Another way it’s like sports: You need a great coach and teammates. And everyone who starred in the play did their part so well, they earned a standing ovation at the end of every show.

And just as Haney and DuBeck worked hard, everyone who took part in the play put in a lot of work to make it a great show.

The cast also included Christopher Yengbeh, Anelia Bojarski, Benjamin Croak, Olivia O’Neill-Williams, Matthew Helfrich, Miabella Galanti, Madelyn Mocarski, Adriana Seiberlich, Elaina Grace, Christopher Matt, Hannah Maurer, Emily Kline, Katey Founds, Toni Mason, Charlotte Charpentier, Gabrielle Frumento, Erik Schafer, Stacy Anderson, Ryan Yates, Mia Martorelli, Holly Ammon, Charlotte Konopka, Lucia Malfara, Julia Martin, Aidan McCulligan, Natalie McGuffin, Alex McTaggert, Makenna Morrison, Lana Mozitis, Ava Murray, Madelyn O’Malley, Erin Osborne, Julie Parkinson, Lilyanna Payne, Ava Reyes, Lillianna Romano, Tessa Romero, Mileena Wirguar, Ryan Yates, Carmella Murry, Daniel Barr, Aubrey Kapusta and Jessica Linnerman.

The play director is Kim Williams.

Now that Elf is over, the cast will get to celebrate the holidays. After that, it’s time to start preparing for the next play, Seussical the Musical, based off the Cat in the Hat. Auditions for that begin in early 2023.

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