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A Note From the Director


I think we all can agree that Christmas is going to look different this year, much like everything else. However, we were still able to find some sense of normalcy while filming Elf the Musical. The cheerful spirit of Buddy the elf, and all the joy he brings people is something we all needed. Follow Buddy as he is thrown into a new world, and continues to spread his Christmas cheer throughout the gloomy city. Of course we would love to perform it for you, but now you can watch it from the comfort of your home! Whether you are at home, or with family this year, we hope to bring you some joy during this Covid Christmas. Thank you for the support, especially now! Happy Holidays, and stay safe!

Stephen Svoboda & Riley Gibson

Cast List

Principle Characters

Buddy, Gavin Buurma

Jovie, Caira Goldstein

Walter Hobbs, Sam Stohlman

Emily Hobbs, Lizzie Bowman

Michael Hobbs, Zach Abraham

Deb, Jasmine Ridler

Santa Claus, Noah Rawson

Manager, Jadon Muniz

Mrs. Claus/Ensemble, Hannah Schoen

Tiara/Ensemble, Sam Rickard

Sam/Ensemble, Ashtyn Wolph

Charlotte Dennon/Ensemble, Lexi Lang

Greenway/Ensemble, Elias Rousculp

Charlie/Ensemble, Ben Pollizi

Chadwick/Ensemble, Braydi Clark

Matthews/Ensemble, Garrett Hummel

Waitress/Ensemble, Riley Gibson

Fake Santa #1/Ensemble, Sean Cook

Fake Santa #2/Ensemble, Caleb Goldstein

Fake Santa #3/Ensemble, Jackson Mills

Female Ensemble

Elise Hill

Julia Schaefer

Bri Clark

Carolyn Schutte

Natalie Joritz

Chantress DeWitt

Angelique LeMaster

Elayna Brock

Gretta Griesbach

Kamryn Mohney

Krista Hagans

Solana Petrone

Male Ensemble

Gage Hill

Fletcher Grey

James Ogle

Isaac Hulbert

Shane Souders

Tristan Goerk

Meet the Cast

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Zach Abraham is a freshman at Heidelberg University this year. He is currently pursuing a degree in both Musical Theatre as well as Business Administration. Zach is a member of the Concert Choir on Campus as well as the Honors Activity Board. He is excited for everyone in the audience to witness what is set to be the most “interesting” performance he has had the honor of being in. Zach would like to thank his many supporters in Marion, Mount Vernon, as well as his musical theatre family here in Tiffin. Zach wishes everyone to break a leg and would like to specifically thank this cast for accepting him with such open arms. 


Lizzie Bowman is a third year student at Heidelberg University, majoring in Musical Theatre and History with a minor in Literature. In the past she has been in The Little Mermaid (Ariel) and while attending Heidelberg, The Music Man (Mrs. Squires), Mamma Mia (Chorus), Cabaret (Rosie), Oedipus Rex (Chorus), She Kills Monsters (Agnes), and Freaky Friday (Gretchen). Lizzie has also been a production member in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and The Penguin Tango.


Elayna Brock is a second year student at Heidelberg University. She has been seen on the Gundlach stage in Oedipus (Sphinx), Lysistrata (Chorus member), Freaky Friday (Torrey), and now in Elf (Office Worker). She is involved in many different organizations on campus including: BSU and the Hei-Notes. Elayna is very excited to be performing this semester once again with her theatre family.


Gavin Buurma is a Junior Musical Theatre major, with a minor in Business Administration and Theatre Education from Willard, Ohio. He has performed in various productions at Heidelberg including Mamma Mia!, The Music Man, The Penguin Tango, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Cabaret, Fun Home, Freaky Friday, and now Elf! Gavin is a member of the Hei-Notes and a Student Ambassador. He would like to thank his friends and family, especially his mom, for all of their support. The cast and crew have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and he is very excited for everyone to see the show!


Braydi Clark is a sophomore involved in Football, Heimonics (Acapella), and of course, Theatre. He is the current president of the  FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). Braydi has performed in Fun Home while at Heidelberg and can not wait to continue his career!  


Bri Clark is a sophomore Musical Theater major along with minors in business and education. She has participated in theatrical shows pretty much her whole life. Bri has been in multiple shows here at Heidelberg including Cabaret, Oedipus, She Kills Monsters, and Freaky Friday. She has also been scenic charge and scenic assistant for some of the shows and is grateful for the experience she has gained. Bri is excited for her future here at Heidelberg as well as what will follow once she graduates.


Chantress DeWitt is a freshman Musical Theatre and History double major. Chantress is from Cardington, OH and attended Cardington-Lincoln High School. This is her first production at Heidelberg and she couldn’t be more excited. Chantress would like to thank everyone involved with this production for making it an amazing experience for her. 


Riley Gibson is a sophomore at Heidelberg University majoring in musical theatre. She has participated in 10 musicals throughout her middle school, high school, and college career. At Heidelberg, she has been in The Music Man, Macbeth, Mamma Mia!, Cabaret, She Kills Monsters, Freaky Friday and Elf. She has also been in Titanic at The Ritz Theatre. She has worked production on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and The Penguin Tango. She also has assistant-directed on the shows Lysistrata, Oedipus, and Elf. 


Tristan Goerk is a senior theatre major at Heidelberg university. Along with his performances in Gundlach, he has also been involved with the community chorus for his entire time at Heidelberg. In the time not spent in rehearsal or doing homework, he is currently working on a book series called the S.S. Baker with his soon-to-be fiancé.


Caira Goldstein is a senior at Heidelberg University. She is a Musical Theatre major. She was previously in Fun Home, Lysistrata, Oedipus Rex, Macbeth, The Music Man, Cabaret, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mamma Mia, Sister Act, and A Grand Night for Singing. She was also the assistant director for Freaky Friday. She also performed in the masterclasses of Tom Cippulo and Jeff Blumenkrantz here at Heidelberg. Caira thanks you for supporting our program and hopes you enjoy the show! Happy Holidays!


Fletcher Grey is an English major with a minor in Theatre. He is currently a junior at Heidelberg, and aims to work a lot more often with the people around him. Fletcher is very excited for you to see such a phenomenal show. Thank you for reading this, and, if anything else… thanks mom.


Gretta Griesbach is a sophomore Theatre Major here at Heidelberg University. She has been performing in productions all throughout middle school and high school. Gretta was in her first production here at Heidelberg last year in She Kills Monsters and recently acted in Freaky Friday in the ensemble. Gretta is super excited to be back acting on the stage and would like to thank everyone for their support and hard work for this production! There have been many obstacles this semester but she is so happy for the theatre department to go out with a bang and come back next semester better than ever!


Krista Hagans is a freshman musical theatre major from Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from Northridge high school, and is very excited for everyone to see the show!


Elise Hill is no stranger to the theatre as she has been involved in more than 20 productions both on and off stage. Elise is currently a freshman here at Heidelberg majoring in Musical Theatre. Her favorite role she has played is Sherrie Christian in Rock of Ages, directed by Stephen Svoboda and David Cotter, and her most memorable role is Oaken in Frozen Jr, directed by Floyd Collins, both taking place at Fremont Community Theatre. She is extremely excited to be working with such wonderful people this semester. “I’m a textbook over thinker.” – Kevin Malone, The Office


Isaac Hulbert is a Theatre and History major at Heidelberg university. He has been working backstage for most of this semester but he is excited to get out on stage and perform.


Garrett Hummel is a sophomore transfer student who is majoring in theatre at Heidelberg. This is Garrett’s second production here on the Gundlach stage, and he is very excited for everyone to see the end result. Garret enjoys singing and acting, and hopes to make a career out of it someday.


Natalie Joritz is a freshman musical theatre major at Heidelberg. She is thrilled to get to take part in yet another amazing show with so many wonderful people! Previous stage credits include:  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Violet Beauregarde), Pippin (Manson Trio Dancer), and The Addams Family (Morticia Addams). Love goes out to her family for all their support, her friends for always being there for her, and the production team for putting on such a fantastic show! Enjoy!


Lexi Lang is a freshman double majoring in Musical Theater and adolescent/young adult education. In the past, she has participated in the Saginaw Choral Society, Thespians, Philharmonic Orchestra, and she co-founded the ASL Club at her high school. She has also been in 19 productions, including Heidelberg's fall show: Freaky Friday. She is excited to participate in her second HU show!

Angelique LeMaster is a freshman theatre major here at Heidelberg University. She has been in many productions including The Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid, The Drowsy Chaperone, Oliver!, The Great Gatsby, Legally Blonde, Frozen Jr, and was supposed to be Marian in her high school production of The Music Man before the shut down. This will be her first show as a Heidelberg student and she is so excited for the next four years!


Kamryn Mohney is an accounting and musical theater double major at Heidelberg University. Kamryn is a second year student and debuted on the Gundlach Theatre stage as Fraulein Kost in Cabaret as a freshman. Kamryn recently played the role of Ellie Blake in Freaky Friday. She is a part of the Hei-Notes here on campus. Kamryn would love to thank her friends and family for all of their support. Kamryn has been involved with theater since the seventh grade and is delighted to continue her journey at Heidelberg.

James Ogle is a musical theatre transfer student from Henagar, Alabama. James' show credits here at Heidelberg include: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Christopher Boone), She Kills Monsters (Orcus), Freaky Friday (Louis), and many others! James also does wigs/makeup, in doing so he earned an  internship with Des Moines Metro Opera in the summer of 2019. James would like to thank his friends and family for their support! Go Berg!


Solana Petrone is a sophomore Musical Theatre major here at Heidelberg and is thrilled to be back on the stage and making beautiful art through the pandemic. She has previously appeared in Cabaret (Kit Kat Dancer, Trumpet), Oedipus (chorus), and Lysistrata (Old Woman) and is so excited to continue her theatre career at Heidelberg. She would like to thank Stephen Svoboda and David Cotter for believing in this department and working so hard to let us do shows! 


Ben Pollizi is a sophomore musical theatre major, and he is so glad to be back on stage again for another show here on the Gundlach Theater stage! Past roles here at Heidelberg include: Steve in She Kills Monsters and Grandpa Gordon/Mr. Blumen/Señor O’Brien/Parker’s Dad in Freaky Friday. He is incredibly thankful to Stephen, David, and everyone involved in the show who have been working as hard as they can to continue to safely work and create theatre during these uncertain times. He hopes you enjoy the show!

Taylor Richardson is a junior Theatre and English Major with a Theatre Education Minor. This is her 11th production overall with Heidelberg University, her first working in stage management. She is ecstatic to be a part of Elf and is very proud of the work done by the theatre department to bring people together in these uncertain times.


Sam Rickard is a freshman theatre major with concentrations in Acting and Theatre Education. This is her second show at Gundlach Theatre. Break a Leg!

Jasmine Ridler is a junior Theatre and History double major with a minor in Business and Theatre Education. Jasmine is thrilled to be finally returning to the stage as Deb in Elf. She recently served as the Assistant Music Director and understudy for Ellie in Freaky Friday. Jasmine’s next project is already lined up as she is currently directing Dog Sees God to premiere in January as the debut show in the new black box theatre here at HU. She would like to thank Stephen Svoboda and David Cotter for their belief in her and for helping her grow. And she would like to thank her partner Em Swain for their support.


Elias Rousculp is gargantuanly excited to be able to perform during this pandemic. He’d like to thank Stephen and David for working hard to make this show happen, and his parents Eric and Lisa for their constant love and support.


Julia Schaefer is a first-year double major in English and Theatre from Grafton, Ohio. In high school, she was seen as Morticia in The Addams Family and The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. She also worked as a choreographer for Midview High School’s Into The Woods. Special thanks to her Berg friends and faculty for making her first semester so fun! 


Hannah Schoen is a Junior Musical Theatre major at Heidelberg. Since coming to Heidelberg she has done The Music Man, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Penguin Tango, Lysistrata, Oedipus, She Kills Monsters, and now Elf. She has also been involved in community choir, worked wardrobe for Cabaret and Freaky Friday, and was involved with Alpha Psi Omega’s Haunted Tour of the Catacombs. She hopes to continue to learn more about acting and costume design in the future here at Heidelberg. Thank you and enjoy the show!


Carolyn G. Schutte is a freshman double major in Spanish and English Writing. She is from Rossford, OH where she attended Maumee Valley Country Day School. At Maumee Valley, Carolyn was active in multiple productions, most notably playing Jenny Hill in Big Fish, Jennie Mae in Diviners, and Queen Gynecia in Head Over Heels. She played a “mean girl” in the ensemble of Freaky Friday at Heidelberg. She wants to thank her family, friends, and teachers for their support and encouragement throughout this process.


Shane Souders is a Freshman from Fostoria, Ohio. He is excited to be returning to the Gundlach stage for his Junior year. Shane played a role in Stephen Svoboda’s The Penguin Tango which was performed in Scotland. Shane’s hobbies include writing, reading stories, and playing video games. Enjoy the show!

Sam Stohlman is a recent graduate of Heidelberg University originally from Willoughby, Ohio and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. While at Heidelberg Sam performed in theatrical productions including Shrek: The Musical, Romeo and Juliet, They Fight, Guys and Dolls, The Laramie Project, The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee, The Diary of Anne Frank, Little Women, Sister Act, The Music Man, Macbeth, The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime, and was also the Light Designer for Macbeth. For 3 of his years at heidelberg Sam also held the position of Master Electrician of Gundlach Theatre. Since graduation Sam has worked as the Show Carpenter for The Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, NY.  Sam also worked at Street Meet Broadway Promotions and as a Front of house steward at The McKITTRICK Hotel. He was cast in a new play titled “I am Irish” to premier on Manhatten in April 2020 but unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic forced the show to close before opening. He would to thank Stephen and David for asking him to be apart of such a fun project and for their constant commitment to teach and create art safely even in times of a global pandemic. Sam would also like to commend and applaud the work of every student involved in the production for their incredible work ethics and passion while having to navigate their education, lives, and art throughout this pandemic.

Ashtyn Wolph is a freshman at Heidelberg, majoring in music performance and minoring in theater. Though she has been involved with the SMT summer camp productions of Godspell, 13, and Matilda, this is her first official show as a Heidelberg student. Outside of the theater, Ashtyn participates in the symphonic band, concert choir, chamber choir, and jazz band because she can’t live without a busy schedule. She hopes everyone enjoys the show!

Meet the Production Team

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Jason Belanger is a currently-nomadic music director and pianist from Fayetteville, NY. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2018 with BA’s in Drama and Psychology. Since then, he has been seen across the country touring with Spamalot the Musical (Keys 2/Asst. Cond.), interning with the Muny in St. Louis and Transcendence Theatre Company in Sonoma, and working on various projects in NYC. Huge thank you to Stephen and David for their tireless work and endless kindness, and much love to his family and Chris!


David Cotter previously served as the Managing Artistic Director of Town Hall Theatre, the only theatre in Dayton, Ohio, exclusively presenting work for young audiences. While at Town Hall Theatre, David oversaw the redevelopment of the education programs, developed programming for adults with special needs, and created and implemented a facilities upgrade plan for the theatre which included new lighting, sound and audience seating upgrades. David was the Director of Education at The Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, N.Y. where he oversaw a $3.2 million education collaboration program that focused arts integration and collaboration with students in the Syracuse City School District. In addition, he oversaw programming that included the Rock Camp experience, programming for adults with special needs and communications training for graduate and doctoral students in the medical fields. David is a certified music educator in Ohio and New York and spent time in the middle school classroom. David is a frequent presenter at conferences, which include the Southeastern Theatre Conference, American Alliance for Theatre Education, Florida Theatre Conference and Tedx. He is an avid musical theatre performer, director, and music director.


Daria DeGaetano is an actress/dancer/singer/choreographer based out of NYC. She was born and raised on Long Island in New York, where she began dancing and singing at an early age. She studied ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical and musical theatre. She was also a dance competition soloist and title winner, attending regional and national competitions. In high school, Daria spent her summers studying at Weist-Barron Studios in NYC and was accepted to Yale University’s Summer Conservatory Program in Acting. She continued her training in acting, dance, and singing at University of Miami (B.S.C. Video-Film, B.A. Theater Arts), where she was a member of their dance line, the Hurricanettes (MVP recipient), and also performed in dance concerts, theatre department productions, and student film projects. Upon graduation, Daria returned to New York and has been working professionally on stage, in film and television productions around the country. She is a proud member of both AEA and SAG-AFTRA. When not performing, Daria also enjoys choreographing regionally, teaching dance, working as a voice over artist, and modeling. Daria’s choreography experience includes regional theater, film, and dance competition. She has also worked as an interim professor of Dance at Five Towns College (NY). Daria currently teaches on Long Island, where she encourages her students to strive for excellence in not only technical execution, but also story-telling and performance. Follow on social media platforms: @dariadegaetano. Visit:


Stephen Svoboda is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Heidelberg University, where he teaches coursework in acting, script analysis, musical theatre direction, play direction, theatre history and criticism. He is responsible for curriculum and course development in The School of Music & Theatre as well as being responsible for the artistic and programmatic development of Gundlach Theatre. He served as the Executive Artistic Director of the Redhouse Arts Center from 2011-2016. Previously, he served as the Executive Artistic Director of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y. While at the Redhouse Arts Center, Stephen developed unique partnerships with a variety of organizations throughout the state, including a multi-million-dollar contract with the Syracuse City Schools that made The Redhouse the regional leader in arts education and integration. In addition, while at the Redhouse he created a repertory company of artists, designers and community members that enabled him to produce, in a typical year, over 16 productions, 300 classes and cultivate relationships with communities typically underserved by arts including urban youth and families and adults with disabilities. Prior to working in regional arts centers, Stephen taught at the University of Miami, where his students and colleagues ranked him as one of the best teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences. He created a BFA in Playwriting and Directing track that focused on developing young dramatists through devising, growing, and staging new works, while celebrating the great diversity of student voices.


His play, Odysseus Died from AIDS, was developed in Miami and received its world premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival, where the production was awarded “Best Ensemble.“ Odysseus Died from AIDS was published in the anthology Plays and Playwrights 2005, by the New York Theatre Experience, and received its international premiere in 2007 in Athens, Greece with a subsequent production in Seoul, South Korea in 2008. In March 2011, the Red House production of Odysseus DOA had a limited engagement run at Theatre Row Studios in NYC. Odysseus DOA had its regional premiere in 2012 at Connecticut Repertory Theatre, where the production was awarded “Best Play in Connecticut” by Broadway World. The Penguin Tango, premiered at the 2006 New York International Fringe Festival in The Actor’s Playhouse. The production was awarded “Best of the Festival” and extended as part of the Fringe Encore Series in the Lion Theater at Theatre Row. It was recently revived and revised on the Redhouse stage as part of the 2014-2015 season. Reconstructing Mama, a new musical written with N. David Williams, premiered Off Broadway at The Theatre Row Studios in August 2006. Stephen works internationally with The Harambe Project to help do HIV/AIDS education and prevention and orphan care throughout Africa.


Theron Wineinger is a New York-based scenic designer. He is delighted to make his debut with Heidelberg University. Recent Designs: Sylvia and The 39 Steps (Summer Repertory Theatre, CA), The Giant Hoax (Theatre Row, NYC), Aida and Billy Elliot (Weathervane Playhouse, OH), A Man’s World (Williamstown Theatre Festival, MA), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The Carnegie, KY). BFA in Scenic Design from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Winner, USITT’s Oren Parker Undergraduate Scene Design Award. Instagram: @theron._ and Website:

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