‘Omigod You Guys’: ‘Legally Blonde’ hits middle school stage

March 11, 2024

By Dana Treier

A cast of 52 LHS students took the middle school stage on Feb. 15-17 to tell the story of upbeat and sharp Elle Woods (junior Angelina Brennen) as she transforms from a peppy University of California, Los Angeles Delta Nu sister to a thriving Harvard Law student in “Legally Blonde.”

The conflict that sets the scene in Heather Hach’s musical occurs when Warner Huntington III (sophomore Joseph Brennen) breaks up with Elle for someone more serious. As a result, Elle leaves behind the comforts of her sorority with the mission of getting into Harvard Law School to impress Warner, who enrolls there.

Along the way, Elle gains confidence, creates new friendships and makes some enemies, with her imaginary Greek chorus often by her side. 

Angelina Brennen said her favorite song to sing was “So Much Better,” which is the turning point at the end of Act I when Elle realizes she can be successful without Warner.

“For me, it was the most difficult song in the production,” Brennen said. “I worked so hard to make it perfect, and the reactions that people had were priceless.”

Brennen said she will forever remember Nov. 20, the day she was cast as Elle. 

“Having the chance to play Elle Woods has been the opportunity of a lifetime and an experience that I will never forget,” Brennen said. “This role really showed me how much performing means to me, and the fact that I can make other people smile is such a joy.”

Brennen said starring in the musical was a major time commitment, but the outcome made it worthwhile. 

“I was called every day after school, which definitely is very tiring because there were no rest days,” Brennen said. “The most rewarding part was hearing others’ praise. There were so many times that former cast members, teachers and parents came up to me to give their congratulations.”

“Having the chance to play Elle Woods has been the opportunity of a lifetime and an experience that I will never forget.”

Brennen said her favorite memories from working on the musical were the nights spent painting the set.

“We had so many pieces that a couple of the cast members and directors spent hours painting after rehearsals. It was so much fun because we would put on music and sing and dance and joke with each other,” Brennen said.

Senior Olivia Oliveira, who played the overachieving Vivienne Kensington, said her favorite moment preparing for the musical was when the cast first rehearsed in their costumes a few weeks before the show opened.

“I really enjoyed when we began using costumes [because] that always makes everyone dive into their character more,” Oliveira said. “I also really loved rehearsals where we would heavily focus on learning vocal parts because it felt like one big sing-along.”

As Elle ventures to Harvard Law School, she is horrified to discover that Warner is dating Vivienne, who initially torments her in Professor Callahan’s (junior Savio Nguyen) Criminal Law 101 class. 

Oliveira said she was excited when she was cast as Vivienne because of the character’s redemption arc. 

“Vivienne is cruel toward Elle throughout the musical but ultimately realizes she has been wrong about the kind of woman Elle is and convinces her to stay in law school,” Oliveira said. “From watching Vivienne, I think the audience would be reminded of the fact that you should never judge or underestimate people.” 

Oliveira said the camaraderie of those involved contributed to the show’s success.

“The cast, crew, tech and pit are all also incredibly supportive and loving,” Oliveira said. “This show truly would not have been possible even if only one person [were] missing from this production.”

Assistant director and vocal director Ms. Wise said “What You Want,” a two-part song in Act I, was the most challenging number for the cast and orchestra, which consisted of 17 musicians.

“There were many different key changes and a lot of complexity in rhythmic structure,” Wise said. “‘What You Want’ also [has] so many transitions. There’s the marching band [in Part 2, and] it is a big production number with so many scene changes.”

Wise said the vocal ranges in the production, whose music is by Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe, made casting difficult. 

“There are specific ranges of voices that are needed, and it’s not always that the vocal range matches the person who can act the character out the best,” Wise said. “[Director Mrs. Ruiz and I] are very pleased with the results and how these [actors] met the challenge.”

Wise said because of the cast’s efforts, the show, which sold about 1,400 tickets, was a success.

“The more work you put into something, the more successful [the] achievement,” Wise said. “Everyone stepped up to every challenge that [the] musical presented.”


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