Dear Student Marshal who walked through the Fine Arts recital hall lobby on Wednesday night,
You have probably encountered a range of different events during your late night rounds, but last Wednesday night was sure to be a unique experience for you. You coincidentally stumbled upon the Musical Theatre Club’s first run-through of their spring musical, “Legally Blonde,” with the pit orchestra – or, as theatre kids call it, the Sitzprobe. Everything we have done for the past two months has been leading up to this moment, this one moment, when the separate pieces of the musical start to blend together to create something that is more expressive and complete than they were on their own.
Seeing as you happened to stumble upon us during the musical number, “Bend and Snap,” you may have walked away thinking that “Legally Blonde” stresses the importance of appearance over character and heart. However, this musical adaptation of the 2001 Reese Witherspoon movie of the same name is more than just a light-hearted retelling of Elle Woods’s journey from a stereotypical sorority girl to the Harvard Law School valedictorian.
Director Jason Fowler and co-director Cayleigh Wilson have been guiding us in portraying characters with complex emotions. Throughout the production process, we have participated in many character building activities designed to give us greater understanding of our character’s motivations and aspirations. In its truest form, “Legally Blonde” is a story of overcoming predetermined stereotypes and stigmas, and to do the show justice, each character – ranging from Elle Woods herself to Nikos Argitakos, the pool boy – must be depicted as inherently and genuinely human.
Most cast members play multiple parts throughout the production, requiring them to understand and embody various perspectives over the course of the musical. Scott Armiger, a sophomore computer science major who portrays Grandmaster Chad, a fun-loving frat bro and Professor Winthrop, a Harvard admissions officer, among others, experiences what he calls “character whiplash” over the course of the musical. “I’m in a very unique position where I go directly from being a frat bro rapping about spring break to a stuck-up, very by-the-book admissions officer. It’s definitely an interesting experience.”
Besides a wide range of characters, “Legally Blonde” features numerous, almost non-stop dance sequences. You did not get to experience all this because the recital hall lobby was too small to spread out, but over the course of the musical we perform more than seven dances numbers, varying from traditional Irish dancing to a modified cardio workout with jump ropes. My personal favorite is a cheer team-inspired dance break during the song “What You Want.”
“Legally Blonde” is certainly going to be an adventure from start to finish. With a small, but incredibly talented cast of students, we hope to provide depth and soul to the characters we have grown so attached to over the past few months, characters with whom we hope you will fall in love, too.
So, dear Student Marshal, if you haven’t been scared away, tickets for MTC’s production of “Legally Blonde” can be purchased at the Campus Information Center and are free for UMBC students and $5 for non-UMBC students. Performances will be held at 8 p.m. on April 7 and 8 with 2 p.m. matinee showings on April 8 and 9 in Fine Arts 317.
Editor’s note: Julia Arbutus is a member of the Musical Theatre Club.