CRANFORD, NJ- Cranford High School opens its spring musical, Legally Blonde: The Musical, on Friday, March 16.
The musical, based on the 2001 movie Legally Blonde, follows protagonist Elle Woods on her path to achieving her dreams. Although it may appear as though she leads the perfect life, she too encounters struggles, like anyone else striving for a successful career and relationship.
“Elle is underappreciated in the beginning, and yeah, she just goes to Harvard to follow her ex-boyfriend because she’s still in love with him, but she works so hard for what she wants that she’s able to get into Harvard Law, which people work their whole lives for and aren’t able to do,” junior Katrina Wischusen, the actress who portrays Elle Woods, said. “I’m not going to spoil the end of the show, but she succeeds, and that’s a good reason to come to the show and see her character development!”
Thursday, March 15, was the dress rehearsal and senior citizen show, which went off relatively smoothly for a first performance- a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the actors and actresses since production began in January.
“This production has been a fantastic collaboration between the entire production team, from Ms. Michelle Massa, Mr, Anthony Rafaniello, Mrs. Burd and myself, and all of the actors and technical theater students,” technical manager David Marconi said. “It has been a long process and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.”
Though actors dealt with some challenges in rehearsal, such as time management and preparation, freshman Dan Klimko said, “Being in the show as a freshman has been an absolutely surreal experience because it’s not an opportunity that a lot of people get.”
In response to his character, Warner Huntington III, Klimko chuckled, “He’s just not a good guy. I would like to think that he’s not similar to me as a person, so I love the challenge of playing the character.”
In previous years, Cranford High School has been nominated for theatrical awards, including the Foxy Award from Montclair State University, overall best musical by the Papermill Playhouse and the Rising Star Award.
“I’ve been in all four musicals in high school, and this year I am Paulette, a beauty shop owner,” senior Pria McNeil said. “It’s really surreal being in my last show on Cranford High School stage, and I’m going to miss it. [In college,] I plan on auditioning for the acapella groups or maybe the choir just to stay with the arts because they are a big part of my life, and it’s really important to me not to give that up.”
The show kicks off with a catchy tune that will keep audience members grooving in their seats and enthralled from the initial number.
“I will take with me the experiences that I’ve learned, and the memories I will cherish forever that I made with my best friends,” senior Kelly McMahon said. “Doing theater in high school is a once in a lifetime experience, since you only get to be in high school one time.”
When asked to describe the show in three words, the cast and crew overwhelmingly agreed on the following three: eccentric, fun, and most of all, pink.
“Between cast and crew and orchestra I would say there are about 80 people working on this show, and they have really done a beautiful job,” Anthony Rafaniello, supervisor of fine arts, said. “A lot of people might think that Legally Blonde [The Musical] might be something that’s trite or kind of frivolous, or that Elle is kind of an airhead, but quite honestly she changes and grows throughout the show; I think there’s a lot to be said for women’s empowerment... and that’s a really important message for girls and for women, especially at this time in our country and in our world.”
Legally Blonde: The Musical will be put on in the Cranford High School auditorium on Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 18, at 2 p.m. Tickets, which can be purchased at the door, are $15 for general audience members and $10 for students.
Emma-Rose Bacall is a high school student participating in a journalism program with Cranford High School