The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media


Making a musical: “Legally Blonde”

Antioch Community High School’s theater department is working hard on preparing the spring musical, Legally Blonde.
Tom Tom Staff
Junior Julia Johnson portraying Elle Woods.

An abundance of things goes into the production of a musical. A musical is a lot more than just actors. There are crew members, pit members, directors and more working to make a musical come together. This year’s musical at Antioch Community High School is Legally Blonde. The musical is based on the hit movie which follows Elle Woods, who is a stereotypical Sorority girl as she goes to Harvard University and gets her law degree. The musical features fun musical numbers, a message about not judging people based on appearance and lots of pink. The majority of people never see what goes into the production of a musical from the perspectives of the actors, pit members and stage managers until now.

Beginning with cast member Julia Johnson. Johnson is a junior at ACHS and is in the Madrigal Choir, Jazz Choir, Tri-M Music Honors Society, Orchestra, Acapella Choir and Sequoit Theater. Johnson also performs in summer musicals at STEPS Performing Arts Center.  This is her third musical at ACHS, Johnson’s roles in musicals include; Mary Sunshine in “Chicago” at STEPS, Godspell Kid in “The Prom” at STEPS, The Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz” at ACHS, and Mal in “Descendants” at ACHS. In Legally Blonde, Johnson will star as the main character, Elle Woods. 

Johnson has been working hard at rehearsals and in her free time to perfect her role. There is so much that goes into preparing for a role. Johnson said it is not just memorizing lines, although that’s a big part of it, it is also finding time to practice, memorizing where to stand on the stage, handling quick changes, learning songs and perfecting the dances. Additionally, she shared that since she has a rigorous course schedule with no breaks in her day she makes a quizlet to help her memorize her lines since she can easily access it from anywhere.  

“The most challenging part of preparing for a role is adding characterization to the role you are playing,” Johnson said. “Anyone can memorize lines and read them off, but getting in character is what makes acting different. It is especially hard when you play a role like Elle that goes through emotional highs and lows throughout the show and you have to work on portraying that on stage.”

Senior Conner Lotz performing at dress rehearsal. (Tom Tom Staff)

The song Johnson finds most challenging is “So Much Better.” The song requires the singer to have a lot of control and stamina, making it difficult to sing. She also finds that when blocking a scene, the ones that are the hardest are the ones that include the whole cast and get those scenes down because of all the people involved in the scene. 

It is not just actors like Johnson who make the musical come together, it is also those who play the music for the musical. These students have worked hard to master their respective instruments and they play an important role in the performances of the musical. This group of people is commonly referred to as the pit. 

Senior Sophia Mann has been involved in three previous ACHS musicals. In this year’s show, Mann plays alto saxophone, flute and piccolo. Although Mann is highly involved in band, to be in the pit participating in a music ensemble is not required. The amount of members in the pit depends on the musical that is being performed. In the case of “Legally Blonde,” the pit consists of about 20 members. 

Being in the pit requires a lot of dedication and practice. There are over 50 pieces of music in this show and pit members have to spend a lot of time practicing them to make sure they sound good for the show’s performances. 

Once the members of the pit are set they begin practicing three times a week for about two hours. Pit began working with the cast after spring break. meaning they practice after school every day and occasionally on weekends. 

Perhaps one of the most overlooked areas of creating a musical is the work that the stage manager does. Senior Riley Hughes is the stage manager for “Legally Blonde”. Hughes has been the lead in four fall productions throughout her time at ACHS. Additionally, she is a member of the speech team and specializes in dramatic acting, a category that she has won two national trophies and medals for. 

 Hughes’s role as stage manager has a lot of components; she helps direct the show, is in charge of the tech crew, tells people their cues, communicates with the pit and makes sure the theater company has a sense of community.  If something goes wrong during the show or there is a problem between the cast and crew, it is up to Hughes to solve it. 

The most challenging and important part of Hughes’s work as the stage manager is coming up with and giving cues. Hughes has to cue the actors, light crew and sound crew during actual performances of the show. Without her cues, people might not know when to move the lights or enter the stage for a scene, something that could potentially cause the play not to run correctly. Hughes also works very closely with the director of the show helping to block the scenes and figure out where set pieces should go. 

The cast of “Legally Blonde” performing the “costume” party scene at dress rehearsal. (Tom Tom Staff)

“Musical theater is a long process that pays off but I feel that many people don’t credit the actors and technicians for their work,” Hughes said. “Rehearsals are every day after school and many times we don’t get home until late at night. As well as especially from an actor’s perspective getting to know your character, memorizing, and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is difficult work.”

Even though the musical is a big-time commitment, it is something that Hughes, Mann and Johnson enjoy doing. They also hope to encourage others to try theater. 

I love the atmosphere of performing in a musical because there is something so special about performing with your cast mates these crazy numbers along with our live pit streamed in from the studio,” Johnson said.”It is such a rewarding payoff in the end for all the hard work we do.’’

“If you haven’t done theater, you should join at some point in your high school career,” Hughes said. “I feel it is important to have a theater experience, you become friends with so many people, opportunities are everywhere, and it can help with public speaking and nerves, as well as gaining a brighter personality. I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without theater.” 

“Legally Blonde” will have shows on April 18, 19 and 20 at 7:00 p.m. with a final show on April 21 at 2:00 p.m. Shows will take place in the ACHS auditorium. Come check out the show and see all the hard work that has gone into the production. 

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About the Contributors
Maddie Eul
Maddie Eul, Tom Tom Staff
Maddie Eul is a senior and this is her first year on staff. She is a member of tri-m, NHS and the varsity scholastic bowl team. In her spare time, she enjoys writing her own music, reading, training her cockatiels, Tweety and Stormi and hanging out with friends.
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