Legally Open Minded and Amazing (Part III)

T- minus 45 minutes on a Saturday night and what will you see at WHS’s Legally Blonde The Musical? Just when you thought you knew a lot of what you MIGHT see, there is so much more that will surprise you and make you walk away with conversations – here is what we haven’t talked about yet, that you will want to:

Jaisac as Grand Master Chad

Yes, Jaisac pulls off the lead as Warner, and yet manages to move and groove as well to beats to this score. It is quite ironic knowing we see Elle trying to move through her plan as well as following Warner, and Jaisac bringing that memory of Warner back to Elle, well, he does this quite well. Trying to find things to pull away Elle from her studies is not an unfamiliar tune and Jaisac is able to put energy into this role to try and do just that, just as we saw him so attached, the detached from Elle.

Robyn as Chutney

Remember when it was said those around the actors and actresses for the last few weeks have been living the musical? It has been fascinating hearing Robyn say just a few days ago, this has love, mystery, death, (she smiled), and comedy all wrapped in one! Truly seeing the energy that Robyn has directed into the plausible, but then implausible “truth” Chutney brings to the court, Robyn for the last couple of weeks has been on cloud nine being a part of this musical. Talented, energetic, willing, and full of heat it takes to bring this character to life, on and off the stage, Robyn has lived the spirit needed to jump rope and sing, lead (or mislead the court), and become one of the newest and the freshest energies that many want to see when anyone hits the stage. Seeing her throughout the musical, through several scenes, you will see if you look closely how much energy she brings everywhere you see her – and this is part of the magic of Legally Blonde the Musical as well.

Antonio as Kiki/Manager and Nicos Argitacos

You may have seen this comment several times when it comes to Legally Blonde, but personalities that cannot be contained and that are full of confidence and gusto bring Legally Blonde to reality for the audience. Antonio’s bravado, funk, expressions, posture, and ability to feel confidence show confidence is DEAD ON. Taking on an underlying respect for the role Nicos plays, as well as supporting the other actors and actresses in his role, he is easily an essential member of this cast based on the acting you see from Antonio. It does not go unnoticed as well that Antonio emphasizes the talent that anyone, from any gender, any position can make an impact as he pivots Nicos and Kiki/manager, in ways that only Antonio could possibly do, and enriching Legally Blonde the Musical beyond just a ho-hum performance. Despite his voice being softer and hard to hear over some of the musical scores, guarantee as the show moves forward you will hear much more of his confidence and ability to add the right accents to the right places.

Paige at Judge

Paige as a student is deadpan and quiet usually in school which makes her role as Judge all the better. The way she is able to bring the role of judge front and center in the physical and the metaphorical sense. She is able to pull this off and then leaves the audience wishing, after “witnessing” (sorry, had to do the court thing) her ability to fling an unexpected “unjudgy” comment, you simply want to see more of her. There is that innate ability you can sense of hr being able to give more on the stage, and her confidence in the role can’t be “cross-examined” without admitting she gives her role some extra personality when needed.

Xavier as Dewey

Hands-down one of the best and most hysterical scenes is absolutely Dewey. Flabbergasted when I realized this was Xavier, I lost it when I flashed back and remembered how Xavier made this role come alive. Not only did he cause many a laugh at the right time, following a pretty dramatic conversation, but he was able to personify the very person we begin to picture thanks to the description of Paulette leading up to this scene. Posturing is everything and boy, does he posture the scene into success – love love love.

Allison as Whitney

Allison does a great job in supporting Vivienne, and what stood out was the transfer from jump rope and singing, to law and court scenes, and you realize how versatile Allison can be on the stage. The leopard outfit glaringly represented all you could think of with the bling you see in Legally Blonde, and Allison goes on to put her energy into several roles in several places. Again, finding characters willing to bring themselves with their top level of energy and enthusiasm sounds great, but the stage is a reality. Allison is able to truly bring the energy and oomph when you see her in many roles and scenes throughout the whole show. This makes her AND the show as a whole memorable.

Emma, Serenity, Brooke, Abigail, Isabel, Emerson, and Robert as Ensemble

When you realize all the locations, scenes, and moments these actors and actresses make feel packed, loud, busy, involved, and more, you realize how important they are in every scene. At times it was difficult to hear their soft voices over the musical score, but, for a first show night, you knew exactly what their role was and what they were contributing to the musical, and in many a musical I did not know that at all. Their knowledge of what they needed to do, in every scene to help all the characters blend together and be successful – the weight of their ability begins to seep in and you honestly need to see the musical more than once to catch it all. They are able to do it all and they succeed at it all through the WHOLE production.

James Weiler as Elle’s Dad and Ricki Truitt as Elle’s Mom

Some things you will have burned in your memory forever. As you will when you see Weiler and Truitt in, well I will not say as that would be the ultimate spoiler, so you absolutely have to see the musical to believe it, but when you see it you will believe it, and never forget 🙂 It goes without saying, the enthusiasm they bring to their role and shower on the actors and actresses, is the same energy students see day in and day out, so it is surreal to see this placed in a musical, but gratifying to see the lines blur when this happens. Priceless, as is the offer of Elle’s parents to take care of her Harvard tuition (and the golfcart – Weiler, we were a little concerned about how close you take those corners, but loved every minute of it – Hang on Ricki!).

Adelaide as Bruiser and Rufus as Stoeger

I am speaking from personal experience, but every single musical and production should have dogs in them. It was obvious to see how excited Adelaide and Rufus were on stage and among everyone, and it was also not lost on the audience how happy they made them. Canine affection and love went with the roles quite well and smoothly, and wonder how both will handle drama withdrawal afterward? (Love the chance to give others opportunities to adopt their own Bruiser and Rufus from the program as well!)

Kudos to the lights, sounds, spotlights, hair and makeup, musicians, and grips – one thing is usually not taken into consideration – the amount of time behind the scenes, and on stage, that takes its toll on making a production, any production, come to stage. I wanted to see and hear some of the voices clearer but on the first night, this is expected and I know will only become better as the performance finds its track and routine. The 15-hour days the cast and all members have put in, I mean fifteen hours – adding academics, extracurriculars, and more – is quite astounding, so SUPER kudos to the establishments that have helped feed the members through that process as well. It has been amazing seeing when the cast is feeling sick, out of it, stressed, and then finding their way to keep pushing through- imitating the will they have when real life presents the same thing to them. They continue to not give up as a cast – and that has spoken volumes to see the behind-the-scenes it took to get them to express themselves in a way schools days do not allow on a daily basis at trying times.

As with anything, the yearbook, a production, a sports event, a concert, ANYTHING, you can find 100 criticisms to apply to anything, and then being with students day in and day out over the course of a pandemic, remote learning, and just simply class, productions like Legally Blonde The Musical take on a whole new meaning when you have become part of the cast on a regular day to day basis but then see them on stage. Totally different perspective when you have the privilege of knowing students and then seeing a totally different side to them. Kudos to Ms. Jolene Workman and Ms. Danielle Jones in allowing expressive aspects of students to come out that many never get a chance to see in the halls during a typical school day, especially when conditions outside of our control occur. It makes the experience of when you see a large portion of students come together even more enriching, and when you see sides of them you never get to see normally.

About Harry Brake

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