Legally Open Minded and Amazing (Part I)

Post ex-patriot depression. Unless you have decided to take one of the biggest risks of your life and truly give up everything you know, move to another life and leave so much of yourself behind, most likely, you might not have been aware of a condition known as ex-patriot depression. I certainly never did, and then, well there are no words.

The individuals you welcomed me from my home U.S. country when I moved to Mexico- and waked me literally by the hand so I could be successful in everything I did was beyond what I ever expected, and the six years I spent in Mexico, as I have said before, completely changed me, 100%. Returning back to the United States, and I never thought I would ever say this, was the hardest decision I ever had to make, it felt as if I was leaving everything behind AGAIN, on the other side of my border, and leaving 95% of myself behind with my departure- very difficult to come to terms with.

That first year back was the most difficult of my life- absolutely, the most head to the wall depressed I am sure I ever felt in my life, and again, that is a difficult pass to get beyond. However, one thing brought me front and center as I attended the first show of Woodbridge High’s Legally Blonde The Musical performance tonight.

Leaving Mexico was not just leaving a world of students, parents, and friends that I had become close to from all over the world, it was leaving drama behind. I mean that in the best possible sense. The productions that the musicians, parents, actors, tech crew, stage crew, put themselves into, raising thousands upon thousands of dollars, and performing to over 200+ people every night, that was something over the six-year period I had actually begun to EXPECT when I went to our school’s productions – being able to be a fly on the wall behind stage and cover the cast and crew in photos and blog posts was a privilege every single night, and a mind-blowing one at that.

When I realized I was returning to Delaware, and I knew the shock would be real jumping back from living in the 4th largest city in the world to possibly one of the smallest states in the United States, I knew there would be repercussions on my being and yet…

I can never forget the VERY FIRST drama production I attended at Woodbridge High in the WInter of 2017 – Miracle on 34th Street. I forced myself to not compare anything with anything, as I was in a totally different life now, and to do anything else would be unfair to me, and learning to settle into a new life I was creating over- just a lot to work through in the realization department.

I still recall, how I was welcomed without the person who welcomed me knowing it, and without even knowing ME. I saw for the first time, a young girl who acted, sang, and was just uber-confident in the reason she was on stage, confident in the story she was leading and telling others, and even though everyone knew this story, she told it in her own way and brought everyone in.

Alyssa as Elle

She brought me in from a very depressing transition and I felt instantly at ease and at home, despite the post expatriot depression I found myself in being warped between countries. She was amazing. had a great voice, confident, spunky, and was absolutely exciting to see on stage. I of course am talking about the lead in Legally Blond, The Musical, at Woodbridge High School and talking of course about Alyssa. I did not know I would come to know this young star of the stage in a better sense years later, nor did I realize I would see her in several stage productions and each time, seeing her grow in a number of ways into the young woman she became tonight, and sadly, her last full production on-stage for WHS. There were so many familiar emotions I felt in the same scenarios I was a part of in Mexico through countless amazing productions, and yet, her ability to take a role and pull someone out of an expected withdrawal of all you have come to know, well it is powerful. But Alyssa’s ability to remain her comedic, dramatic, energetic, ability-to-overcome- obstacle- after- obstacle- to- be- successful- story, AND talented self, as told in Legally Blonde as well, was one of the brightest takeaways you will witness in seeing this show. You have even more hit the jackpot if you are one of the many lucky people that have come to know Alyssa and see her grow in a variety of ways, and there are no words to saw what you witness as you see this happening. I never knew that little girl that conducted her self-confidently would be the same great young lady I would enjoy seeing in later years in my class, but ther it is. Being lucky and not sure how I became so lucky. I will attempt to go on and give you the most pertinent reason why you will never forget the lessons you will walk away with from this now three more day productions you should make a point to see, without giving away the points that will 100% surprise you and leave you gaping at how amazing it was pulled off.

A sidenote, one of the coolest things about a production is what happens BEFORE the production. I always noted and paid attention to this. In many of the Mexico American School Foundation productions, actors would be in the crowd waiting to get into the auditorium, in their role already, and mingling with the attendees / spectators as their role, and it was ALWAYS outstanding. ALWAYS. And tonight, what an amazing scene you need to be aware of. You had alumni from previous WHS production in attendance, from Marissa to Gerald, seeing former actors and actresses from years past there – was amazing to see everyone and chat with them before the production. ON TOP OF THAT, seeing so many instructors and administration in the audience (LOVED Ms Shiley – nominated teacher of the year in her complete Legally Blonde outfit with ms Fisher) from various schools, so many parents, siblings, and on TOP OF THAT, seeing instructors that came from Classic Upward Bound that were definitely here from afar- that was one of the greatest preshow events that can occur and already sent an amazing vibe. it was fabulous. On TOP OF THAT, seeing some amazing WHS athletes just get off the bus from their sporting events and come in their uniform, RIGHT off the bus to the show? PRICELESS.

Tommy as Emmett.

Wow. Just WOW. Never seeing Tommy play a role as front and center and it being the FIRST night production, the confidence Tommy brings to this role? PHENOMENAL. The good-guy, stick with it and mentor yourself and another to rise above anything that tries to get you down kind of character, he brings to LIFE and really SHINES at the end as a result- so so right for this.

Madison as Pauelette

Did you see this coming? I certainly did NOT – and wondered, holy mother of beauty on the stage! She is so versatile, worked her beauty salon to the point of being THE PLACE where you as a spectator centers back to, and is able to progress her character from one point to a polar opposite SO WELL, it will leave you wondering as well, WHY DID WE NOT SEE MORE OF HER in other productions. The additional personality she adds to the stage cannot be found in the lines she reads, and you will feel this from the very beginning when you first see/hear her.

Jaisac as Warner

This is a make or break role, and Jaisac is able to bring the hindsight to foresight of this character, in the same light as Elle (not easy to do) in SO many different scenarios, the foil character he brings is essential to the success of this story, He does it so well. SO well. VERY impressive with what he is able to do with this character and how it brings out so many other characteristics of the characters he is with. You often fund yourself regretful or flashing back on the past with Jaisac as Warner several times during the show.

Prince as Kyle the UPS guy

Oh My Mother of UPS Delivery GUY! If you are not falling on the ground, impressed by the versatile roles Prince is able to bounce back and froth with, AND the way he delivers this role to the hilarity all the way through the production, the laughter and hilarity is contagious from beginning to the end of the production. Absolutley. 100%. HYSTERICAL. Worth every single second of moves you see Prince make. I was not expecting the belly soreness I felt after all of what Prince brings to the stage.

Avery, Carla, and Karla as Pilar, Serena, and Margot.

I have to just tell you, seeing Karla in the last production and wanting to see more of her, is one major reason, absolute, one of the most talented, quietest, and most surprisingly dramatic ladies that you would not expect to come alive as she does on stage, wow. Seeing Karla in previous and then seeing her explode even more on stage as one of Elle’s angels, lol, priceless.

Avery – never expected a set of lungs like that on her, never expected the sassiness and amazing talent of dropping the best lines at the best moments, she was a sensation for her first production on the high school stage and no way will we be seeing the last of her to the benefit of the audience.

Carla is so spunky, energetic, finger and pro-Elle supportive I am wondering what I did not see or recognize her in more productions and can only hope somehow, some way, we will see more of her talent that she shows in legally Blonde. You can tell by the way she trusts her pro-Elle thoughts and advice, she loves the stage and bringing it to the audience 100%.

This is only a THIRD of the amazing things you see and feel from WHS’s version of Legally Blonde, so stay tuned tomorrow AM for some not spoiling reveals of AMAZING things that came out of a first night showing of Legally Blonde at Woodbridge High School. If ever there was a school production worth its money in pink, it is this one – so hurry before it is too late, you still have April 30th at 7PM, May 1st and 2nd at 2 PM!

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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