Since watching Guys and Dolls while visiting the school in Grade 9, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this immense project, and while it is a large time commitment (this is my third year with the Senior School musical), it’s absolutely worth it every year.
Considering I learned to walk on stilts and speak in a constant falsetto for last year’s musical, Spamalot, I didn’t expect to have quite as much fun this year, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the excitement that our new musical, Legally Blonde, has offered us. My two characters (an over-the-top Harvard Law professor and a flamboyant key witness at a trial) have been keeping me entertained, and the vast array of talented actors, singers and dancers around me at all times have been making me laugh since we met for the first time.
Practices have taken up a sizable part of the cast’s schedules for months (about an hour-and-a-half after school every day of the week and morning rehearsals on Saturdays), but spending time around such a wonderful cast has brought much joy to my life in an otherwise difficult time of year. Running back to my bedroom on campus at 3:20 and finding something comfortable that I can wear for our 3:30 rehearsal has become a regular routine for me. While this makes every school day just that much longer, it’s a wonderful experience to go directly to Brown Hall and eat a good dinner with all of the cast members after rehearsal. This time has allowed me to become much closer with a number of my drama-inclined friends. You’d assume that doing the musical would be just another huge commitment on top of all the other ones, but it feels like so much more than that. Few activities give a group of friends the opportunity to spend as much time together as this does.
Our rehearsals are, of course, rigorous. As actors, singers and dancers, we are constantly on our feet. If we’re not in the scene being worked on, we’re quietly running lines on the sides, or figuring out blocking for entrances and exits. And now with just a couple of weeks before the performance, the technical pieces have begun to filter into our day-to-day lives. We’re only looking for a few costumes now, the set crew is running a tighter ship and we often hear something new about the construction of the set. Every day, another piece of the puzzle is placed, and while some members of the cast are still nervous, that’s normal for this time of year in the production schedule.
I’ve had discussions with countless people involved in the project who all agree that the weeks just before opening are the most stressful time during the musical, as we figure out what still needs to be put into place. Despite the stress, we remain in good spirits, just as we do every year. The presentation is coming closer and closer to reality, and we know the show will be something we can look back on proudly.
Being in the musical has taught me a great deal about not only companionship, but also about personal responsibility and how important it is to honour my commitments. Admittedly, a six-day-a-week schedule is challenging to cope with, but all the work that we’ve put into this project is well worth the benefit. The cast and crew are very excited to be putting on this show for you and we all hope that you’ll enjoy it as much as we have!
St. Michaels University School presents Legally Blonde: The Musical, February 26-28 at the McPherson Playhouse. Shows run nightly (Feb. 26, 27, 28) at 7:30 p.m., plus a matinee at 2:00 p.m. on the Saturday (Feb. 28). Tickets are available online or from the Royal & McPherson box office.