The making of “Legally Blonde”: production kicks off with a crew meeting and auditions


Credit: Hannah Locke

Dan Lafferty addresses students before auditions begin. Around forty seven students were in attendance, all to try and get a spot in this year’s musical production of Legally Blonde.

Hannah Locke, Editor in Chief

When someone hears “Legally Blonde,” there’s a ninety percent chance that a pink and sparkle-clad Reese Witherspoon comes to mind. 

The cult classic film came out in 2001 and follows a fashionable and smart Elle Woods as she applies and is accepted to Harvard Law School, in an attempt to win her ex-boyfriend over: only to discover her love and talent for being a lawyer.

On Jun. 15, 2022, the Loy Norrix drama department announced that “Legally Blonde” would be the musical production for the 2022-2023 school year. 

“I chose Legally Blonde because it’s a really good show and it has a lot of really good parts,” the head of the drama department at Norrix and director of the show, Dan Lafferty said, “I feel like we just have so many talented students at Norrix that we’re just going to be able to fill a lot of these lead roles.”

Auditions commenced the week of Sept. 26th and the cast list was released on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. Preparation will continue for the next seven weeks, all leading up to the big production which will open on Dec. 2, 2022. 

The behind the scenes work, however, began much earlier. In May, Lafferty applied for the copyright and started getting his team together. 

“Once the school year started, we were then focused on getting the information to the students,” Lafferty said. 

The two students who were involved in the production process before others were senior stage managers Mara Vander Beek and Meg Elfring. 

Over the summer, they began fundraising for the show. When the school year started Elfring and Vander Beek started reviewing for the show with scene plots and prop lists. They also ran crew meetings and audition workshops

The first crew meeting was on Wednesday, Sept. 21. All Norrix students were invited and many showed up to hear about the possible ways that they could contribute to the show, behind the scenes. 

Meg Elfring speaks at the crew meeting. Her and Mara Vanderbeek conducted the meeting and worked to recruit students for the productions stage crew. (Credit: Hannah Locke)

The meeting covered the different types of jobs available for the production and what availability they required. Jobs included makeup artists and hair stylists, set builders, and tech crew. 

“It’s just stage managers that are working right now. We will get other crews going soon with building, once the designers are ready,” Elfring said. 

Following the crew meeting was the audition workshop on Thursday, Sept 22. 

At the workshop, interested students learned what they would need to perform at auditions. This class was led by the production’s choreographer Kris Stahl and assistant choreographer Maggie Paloucek.

After working on the dance, students read scenes with Julie Davis, choir teacher at Maple Street Middle School and the musical’s producer. 

The final part of the workshop was singing with LN choir teacher and “Legally Blonde’s” music director Marisa Bergh and the production’s pianist and pit director. 

After the workshop, it was audition time. Students flooded Lafferty’s classroom on Tuesday, Sept 27, all nervous and ready to start. 

“The number one thing for any show is getting the right actors in the right roles. If you do that, 90% of your work is done for you if you have the right people in the right spot,” Lafferty said.   

Forty-seven students attended auditions and were required to sing, dance, and act. When it came to singing, students could choose a song from the musical or a song of their choice. 

“Auditions are great because everyone gets a chance to sing a solo: everyone gets a chance to act,” Lafferty said, a sentiment that he repeated at auditions themselves. 

Lafferty also encouraged students to showcase their acting through their singing, as the singing audition was first up. 

“You can be the best singer or dancer in the world, but if you don’t have the energy or the charisma behind that, people can get bored watching you,” Lafferty said. 

Students who performed well in auditions were called back to audition again on Thursday, Sept 29. The announcement of those who made callbacks was on Tuesday, Sept 27. The callback list was made up of only a fraction of students who actually made the show and was reserved for those who were being considered for lead roles. 

Freshman Paul Evans said, “[I’m excited] to be performing and to be in a community with everybody else.”

Evans has been involved in theater for a year and a half, but auditions and callbacks were opened to every experience level and every grade. 

The expectations for the show are high, and student performers are buckling down in daily rehearsals that last from 2:45, right after school gets out, to 6:30 in the evening. 

“I just think the attitude this year is a lot more. We did a great job last year, let’s build on that, let’s use that foundation from last year and just continue to have great shows,” Lafferty said.