ARLINGTON — For two weekends in March, 48 Arlington High School singers, dancers and actors will present “Legally Blonde” at the Byrnes Performing Art Center, based on Amanda Brown’s novel, the 2001 movie and the 2007-premiering musical of the same name.
Senior Baily Hudson, who plays the role of lead character Elle, has found the music and dancing particularly challenging.
“It’s a show that requires a lot of stamina and coordination, along with trying to capture Elle’s positive and spunky personality on stage,” Hudson said.
AHS Drama teacher Scott Moberly agreed with Hudson’s assessment of the dance requirements.
“The choreography is a huge piece of this puzzle,” Moberly said. “The music is bright and brash, and its tempos provide the students with the equivalent of a two-hour Zumba workout. Technically, the show blasts off in the first act and doesn’t stop moving until the final curtain comes down. Backstage, the crew will be sprinting to keep up. We have 22 scene changes in the first act alone.”
The large cast features an array of talented students, including veteran performers, as well as a number of freshmen and sophomores who are new to the stage. As Emmett, senior Coleman Cummins will perform in his 17th production. Cummins plans to major in vocal performance in college, and acknowledged that “Every production is a completely different experience, and you learn and grow so much every time you perform on stage.”
AHS Vocal teacher Brent McGee is in charge of both the singing and choreography for the entire cast, while Haller Middle School teacher Jeff Swanson is leading the orchestra.
“I am in awe of these talented individuals,” Moberly said. “They have unfailing energy, and their generosity in devoting long hours to ensure our students’ success is beyond inspiring. We all have the same goal, which is to give young people as many opportunities to experience the arts as possible. I firmly believe that in teaching the arts, we open students’ eyes to unlimited possibilities. I know that Jeff and Brent share that value, too.”
Moberly has been teaching for 15 years, with the last eight at Arlington. He has a specific vision for theater at the high school, and selects the musicals among three distinct genres; children’s shows like “Beauty and the Beast,” traditional shows like “White Christmas” that appeal to older audiences, and middle and high school-focused shows such as “Legally Blonde.”
Show dates are March 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m., plus a matinee on March 9 at 1 p.m., at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center. Ticket prices are $7 and $10, and tickets can be purchased in advance at www.byrnesperformingarts.org or 30 minutes before showtime at the door. Student rush tickets will be available at the door 10 minutes before showtime.