Three Minutes, Three Questions: Julie Gabel talks about Arts Live production of “Elf”

Three Minutes, Three Questions: Julie Gabel talks about Arts Live production of “Elf”

Julie Gabel has been an icon of Northwest Arkansas theater for decades, returning after an acting career on the West Coast to work on stage and screen here while also mentoring young actors through her directing.

“Over 10 years ago, Mark Smith, Arts Live Theatre’s executive director, approached me to direct a musical for ALT, and I have been directing musicals there ever since. And, for the past three years, I have also served as ALT’s education director,” she says. “Working in children’s theater is a perfect fit!”

Gabel took a moment to answer three questions about the upcoming Arts Live production of “Elf.”

Q. Why “Elf” for this Christmas season?

A. What I love about Buddy the Elf is his innocence, honesty, tenacity, and capacity to love. But, at its core, I think the story of Buddy the Elf is about believing. Believing so totally and completely that you commit your whole love and whole self to others, even when they don’t know how to accept it … at first. This message is powerful, and perhaps believing in something special, maybe even magical, could be just the thing we all need, not only during the holiday season but year-round.

Q. What are the special joys and challenges of working with kids?

A. Like any educator, you wish to pass along what you know and love to those who are hungry to learn. And when you are directing a room full of young artists who have been bitten by the “theater bug,” it is amazing! These young actors [35 of them, ages 9-17] come to rehearsal prepared, they come to rehearsal with great attitudes, and they come to rehearsal ready to work. They don’t complain, they want to learn, they are extremely respectful, they try hard, and they want to be at rehearsal. What else can you ask for?

Q. What do kids get out of doing theater besides their names in a playbill?

A. For many of these young actors, theater is a place of belonging and for artistic expression. And because theater is a collaborative art form, they work together to accomplish goals. The theater is also a place where you can build life skills like confidence, empathy, focus, and control. What I see in rehearsal after rehearsal is these young artists growing and having fun!




WHEN — 7 p.m. Nov. 16-17; 2 & 7 p.m. Nov. 18; 2 p.m. Nov. 19

WHERE — The Medium, 214 S. Main St. in Springdale

COST — $12-$15


Categories: Theater