By Jennifer Corr
Legally Blonde, a musical, will take over the main stage at Syosset High School from March 9 to 12.
The synopsis of the show, according to the official show’s website, is as follows: “Based on the beloved movie, Legally Blonde follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, sexism, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams, and proves that you can be both legally blonde and the smartest person in the room. Things are groovy for Elle Woods but suddenly her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her so he can start getting more ‘serious’ about his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle uses her brain and ingenuity to also get admitted to Harvard. School begins with endless struggles, but with the help of her new friends, Elle quickly realizes her potential and her strengths, as she sets out to change the narrative. This contemporary, topical story touches on many current hot button issues while delighting audiences with memorable songs and explosive dances. Legally Blonde warms the heart by proving that self-discovery never goes out of style.”
Amanda Barney, who oversees Syosset High School’s theater program, said this show, being based off a popular movie, is a fun way to showcase Syosset High School’s talent, as well as getting the audience to sing along and watch the big dance numbers.
She added that not only were the students familiar with the 2001 movie, but that they were excited to perform it.
Sefora Elish, a Syosset High School student who serves as the vice president of the theatre group at Syosset High School, A.C.T., said she and fellow members of the theater community found out that Legally Blonde would be the main stage spring musical this past June at an end-of-year banquet.
“We are all super excited about it, and it’s going to be a great time,” Elish said. “The process so far has been working in really small pieces trying to get every number together, all the scenes together and I play [the character] Margot, so I’m in a lot of the dancing numbers and we have spent a lot of times on the big numbers as groups.”
Speaking to Elish ahead of the show’s premiere, she said now the students and faculty are focusing on getting on stage with the set and working out the whole show and putting everything together in order to make a final piece.
“It’s really coming together and I’m excited,” Elish said. “Everybody is pretty enthusiastic. Everybody is excited, especially the seniors. This is our first time since COVID that our theater is going to be at full capacity for a musical because last year when we did The Addams Family we had to limit seating due to COVID. Bringing live theater back has been very difficult, but now I think this is going to feel how it used to be.”
At Syosset High School, putting on a musical is an inter-disciplinary endeavor.
“That means that more than 67 students and 14 staff members work to make this show happen over the course of several months,” Barney said. “So, the production is performed on a set that is designed by the students from our stage design class and it is set to music that is played by our student musicians. It is acted by our student cast. It’s choreographed by our director Gene Conner. We also have vocal direction by our choral director Kristin Howell. And rehearsals are after school, and they are intense and intensely fun.”
Barney added that a huge addition to the program has been the senior stage director Phoebe Albro, who is also a Long Island Scholar Artist.
Student Mara Sparacino is playing Elle, the main character of the show.
“I love my character,” Sparacino said. “I went blonde for her. I love it. She’s like me, but I’m not going to Harvard Law School. But she’s very close to me.”
She said when she auditioned for the role, she was nervous even with the faculty making the experience comfortable for the students.
She made the call back list, and then found out she got the role as Elle on her way to the city for more auditions for college music theater programs. She said she was very excited to get the role.
“It’s a way more dance heavy show than we’ve done recently, so it’s a lot of choreographing rehearsals and then it’s a lot of vocals, so everyone has to be 100 percent at every rehearsal or else we can’t really retain everything,” Sparacino said. “We have such a short amount of time to do so… I think it’s going really well.”
Over winter break, cast members did three workshops throughout the week, showing the amount of dedication these students have even when they’re off from school.
“The students take the production very seriously,” Barney said. “There’s leadership from the faculty. There’s leadership from the older students and the cast. I would call it serious fun.”
She added that this show would not be possible without the support of the students’ families.
Adding to the significance of this show, students and faculty are happy to be in a much brighter place. Despite Legally Blonde not being the first post-pandemic musical, the energy of the cast and crew is really high and everyone is excited for this show to bring a lot of light and fun to the school community and the community at large.
“It’s been a fun process bringing this Broadway tribute to girl power and being true to oneself to the Syosset stage,” said Gene Connor, the show’s director.