MERCER — Legal battles, lots of pink and even a few four-legged friends will soon be taking the stage at Mercer High School.
“You need to give an evil look to Morgan when she calls you a heifer,” Michalee Christy, director, said during Tuesday afternoon’s rehearsal of “Legally Blonde The Musical.”
Performances are set for 7 p.m. March 30 and 31 and April 1, and 2 p.m. April 1.
It’s quite the change compared to 2022, when the group presented “Frozen Jr.,” but the students are very excited to be taking on the 2001 romantic comedy that’s been adapted into a musical production.
“’Legally Blonde’ is modern and pushing the limits,” said Christy, who describes the musical as an operetta or pop opera.
“I thought it was super cool,” Payton Hockenberry said of learning more about the musical.
The senior was already familiar with the movie, which stars Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in the lead role along with Jennifer Coolidge, Selma Blair and Luke Wilson.
The movie is based on the novel “Legally Blonde” by Amanda Brown, and the musical debuted in 2007 with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach.
The musical follows the same story line: Elle, played by senior Ainslee Konkle, is nursing a broken heart, and she decides a change is in order.
She ditches plans to work in fashion and heads to Harvard Law School, turning heads and raising eyebrows along the way.
“We do have some crazy costume changes,” said Hockenberry, 18, a senior who plays Margot, Elle’s best friend, and Dana.
Her favorite song is the “Legally Blonde Remix,” she said as a small dog wearing a sparkly pink dress bounded across the front of the auditorium.
Annie, a Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, will be playing the role of Elle’s dog Bruiser. She seems to be a natural, and the kids really love her, said Annie’s owner, Laura Jones-Isoldi.
“She really lowers their stress level,” said James-Isoldi, a retired Mercer teacher who now runs the after-school STEAM program.
Annie will be joined onstage by Kobe Christie, a French bulldog playing Rufus, the dog of Elle’s new friend Paulette Bonafonté.
Stage crew member Alexandra Sepúlveda has been having a great time with her first high school musical experience.
The 17-year-old junior is an exchange student from Santiago, Chile, where they don’t perform musicals at school.
Alexandra likes how the story includes a cast of characters from different backgrounds and said the audience can expect a good time with fun songs.
The film is rated PG-13 for some sexual references and profanity. The musical is very similar, so parents OK with their kid watching the film should be OK with bringing them to the show, Christy said.
She looks forward to sharing the show with the community and parents, who have been very supportive, and she applauds the musicians who will be playing along.
“I need to give everybody a pat on the back,” Christy said.
Other cast members are Maddy Jewell, Serena; Abigail Redmond, Pilar; Benton Hamilton, Grandmaster Chad; McKenna McCandless, Manager/DA; Zoey Seidel, salesperson/H&H; Robert Rudavetz, Emmett; Abby Christy, Paulette; Bennett Grossman, Professor Callahan; Bryton Snow, Warner; Lillian Davis, Vivienne; Brooke Breindal, Kate; Chase Allen, Elle’s Dad and Padaman; Leah Krouse, Elle’s Mom and judge; Evan Julock, Jet Blue and guard; Luke Childers, Aaron; Amanda Bachman, Enid; Trevon Miller, Dewey, Cailyn Hines, Whitney; Morgan Miller, Brooke; Nate Haines, Kyle; Kailyn Minner, Chutney; Donald Lantz, Winthrop; Matthew Jewell, Lowell; Cotton Davis, Pforzheimer; Joey Michaels, Caddy and Nikos; Carter Addison, Carlos; Maggie Bowman, TV reporter; Rieyn Lohr, Kiki; and Maggie Jewell, stenographer.
Delta Nus are Brooke Breindal, Abby Christy, Lillian Davis, Cailyn Hines, Payton Hockenberry, Maddy Jewell, McKenna McCandless, Morgan Miller, Abby Redmond and Zoey Seidel.
The Greek chorus members are Maggie Bowman, Brooke Breindal, Payton Hockenberry, Maggie Jewell, Maddy Jewell, Rieyn Lohr, McKenna McCandless, Abby Redmond and Zoey Seidel.
Frat boys are Carter Addison, Luke Childers, Andrew Christy, Cotton Davis, Bennett Grossman, Benton Hamilton, Nate Haines, Tyler Heckman, Evan Julock, Donald Lantz and Joey Michaels.
Ensemble members are Emily Blough, Andrew Christy, Daphne Fox, Mackenzie Hackett, Tyler Heckman, Emma-Kate Magee, Carollin Piddington, Natasha Rust, Aida Seybert and Delaney Sovesky.
Pit musicians are Claire DeArmitt, Maeve Wonderly, Maddy Matejka, Melanie Haggard, Cody Ortz, Dalton Stoops, Terry Gale, Tanner Smith, Aaron Sutton, Ian McCann, Micah Wojnowski and Stephen Kaib.
Other crew members: Jacqui McDonald, student director; Alexa Graul, stage manager; Lola Davis, Ashlynn Heckathorn, Haley Pears, Ally Rynd and Ella Vernam, stage crew; Todd Breindal, Ethan Christie, Aiden Jewell, Jake Lasko, Alex Mitchell and Cotton Osborn, light crew; and Rachel Henry, Jessica Nemeth, Jen Sutton and Micah Wojnowski, directors.
The musical will be held in the auditorium at the high school, 545 W. Butler St., Mercer. Doors open a half hour before showtime. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at showtix4u.com/event-details/70717 Info: Visit “Mercer Area Jr./Sr. High School Choirs” on Facebook or call the school office at 724-662-5104, ext. 11.
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