WHS takes on blonde ambitionPublished 9:41am Monday, April 29, 2013
Students in Wetumpka High’s Musical Theatre Department began working in early February to prepare for the program’s most ambitious production to date. The culmination of three months’ love and labor, “Legally Blonde, The Musical” will make its public debut May 3 at the Wetumpka Performing Arts Center.
“We have about 50 students involved, counting the cast, musicians and crew,” said Jeff Glass, WHS theatre teacher. “We even have graduates who have been coming back to work and help with the set.”
And the set is a major player in the show in its own right.
“There are 23 scene changes, so we’ve been working really hard on the set,” Glass said. “This is by far the most ambitious project this department has ever done.”
Rehearsals and much of the set work have happened on the school campus.
“We’ve been rehearsing since February,” said Leah Bentley, who will portray Elle, the female lead. “We’ve practiced in the commons, in the gym, wherever we could.”
“It’s coming along really well,” said Art Smith, cast as Emmett, the male lead. “The show is going to be a blast.
“But one of the best parts is that we’ve all made a lot of new friendships with people we probably wouldn’t have gotten close to otherwise.”
Preparation has been a bit more tricky for the stage crew, which only began working at the show site this week.
“We did what could be done before, but we were only able to get in here (Wetumpka Performing Arts Center) this week,” said Johnathan Albert, stage manager. “But we have great people – we’ve been here every night this week working until 12 or 12:30. We have some really dedicated people willing to work this year.”
Other than the limited time at the WPA, Albert said things are proceeding fairly smoothly except for some “technical stuff.”
“We’re getting it done, and we’ll be ready,” he said.
Andrea Barclay, also a stage manager, said she is enjoying the experience.
“Really, I think our main problem is trying to split the talent evenly,” she said.
Glass said he’s impressed by the students.
“This is the most talented cast we’ve ever had,” he said. “Of course, I’ve been saying that every year since 2002-2003 – but that just tells me we get better and better.”
He pointed out that while the show is definitely entertaining, there’s more beneath the surface.
“Once you get to know the show, you realize there’s really some substance there, but it’s not didactic or preachy. I guess the message is that the internal is eternal.”
He hopes to see full houses for the coming performances.
“We’ve never received so much buzz about a show we were doing,” said Glass. “I think it will be our biggest success and that will give us more resources to keep improving.”
Fellow WHS faculty member Jon O’Rourke, who teaches music, is also involved with the production. He works with the students providing musical accompaniment for the show.
“Legally Blonde, The Musical” will be on stage a total of eight times – two school shows for students and six shows open to the public.
Admission to the public shows is $7 per person. Performance dates are May 3 at 6:30 p.m., May 4 at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m., May 10 at 6:30 p.m. and May 11 at 2 and 5:30 p.m. School shows for students will be May 2 at 9 a.m. and May 7 at 8:30 a.m.
“Everyone should make sure and come to see the show,” said Albert. “They’ll learn something while getting a laugh.”