Legally Blonde: Producing a High School Musical

Legally Blonde: Producing a High School Musical

From casting, to staging, to lighting, to hours of rehearsals, and so much more—the list of what you need to produce a high school musical is never-ending. Today we’re going to take a look at Casa Grande’s production of Legally Blonde the Musical, and find out what it really takes to produce and perform a high school musical.

Photos By: Angelica Summary

Arguably the most important thing you need is time—and lots of it. The production of the show began last school year when Mr. Mazer, Casa Grande’s Acting teacher and the Director of the musical, and students decided Legally Blonde would be the musical of choice for this year. When the 2023-24 school year began, so did auditions. Casa Grande students auditioned for the show in October by singing a song of choice for Mr. Mazer and Mr. Millard and performing a scene chosen for them. Once auditions concluded, the next step was casting. After a week of deliberation, the cast list was put out, revealing to the students which roles they got. Once the cast was chosen, the next thing on the list was rehearsals—the most time-consuming part of the production.

The actors spent hours at rehearsals, memorizing their lines, learning choreography, and practicing their singing. Rehearsals were held every day after school from 3:45 to 6:00 pm but only certain members of the cast would be called in to work on their roles. “[The show] entailed so much work and training and refining my character and my emotions. There was a lot of emotional work with the role, and so much vocal work to be able to pull off the singing because it’s a very difficult show, vocally,” said Abbey Sawyer, who played Professor Callahan. For months, the cast of Legally Blonde worked on the show, but not just memorizing lines and practicing their harmonies. “I am a backstage crew member. I also built their set, so I’m kind of the construction manager. So if anything breaks or if anyone needs help with anything that needs to be fixed they come to me,” said Jackson Loughmiller. The cast and crew built the set themselves, programmed the lighting, decided on costume designs and makeup, procured or made all the props and set pieces, and even more duties that most people don’t think about. 

The students built the show from the ground up, but not without help. “We had a great choreographer come in from outside, Bridget Codoni, and she crushed it,” said Mr. Mazer. “I worked with Andrew Moore, our sound technician, on the sound and making sure all the sounds are what he and I both think are appropriate…My choir accompanist Lauren Hale came in to do a lot of coaching also with me, with all the singing,” said Mr. Millard, the music and vocal director of the show. Many other people from the community lent their time to the show including Amy Lichty, the costume designer, Mary Grehan, the set and production designer, Alexandra Durrett, the backstage manager and dog wrangler, John Rustan, the dialect coach, Eddy Hansen, the master carpenter, and family members of the cast such as Kelly Facer, the Gushues, and the Haghighis. “I think it’s really about the community. With semi-professional youth shows in the area, the kids aren’t involved in the set building, but here we’re involved in everything. So I think that really lets us build a community and family. That is very beautiful and profound, to me at least,” stated Abbey.

The cast and crew had a lot of fun creating the musical, but it didn’t come without its challenges. “It was very stressful. Many long days, long hours. A lot of work was put into this. But, I think it was worth it in the end because this show was really fun to work on,” said Ezra Grehan, who played Aaron Schultz and the court stenographer. 

Legally Blonde was the biggest musical that the Casa Grande Drama Department has produced in 25 years. Samara Castro, who played Vivian, stated “Since Casa’s [musical production] is very brand new, it was very difficult to put all the components together but by the end, it was a good thing because it will make the future theater department better.” The musical was a success in many ways from creating a buzz and chatter in the community about Casa Grande’s drama department to the money raised to put back into future productions. The musical made around $10,000 in profit which will all go back to the students and the drama department.

Yana Sas, who played Pilar, said “There’s always going to be mistakes but they’re always so much fun.” A couple of missed lines and cues did not hinder the final show, evidenced by the final round of applause at the end of each performance. Months of work were dedicated to making this show a reality, and the cast and crew alike were very proud of their work and made some unforgettable memories. Mr. Mazer leaves us on a final, happy note: “My favorite memory is seeing the kids at curtain call when they bow after each performance they’ve done so far. I take so much pride in the hard work that they’ve done and seeing them get the gratification when the audience cheers for them and they get that moment to soak that all in and have all their hard work, and our hard work, appreciated. It’s enormously gratifying.” 

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