With a few exceptions, the end of April typically brings an end to the many high school musical productions across America and moves seamlessly into prom and then graduation season.
For example, the production of Legally Blonde at La Plata High School in Charles County, Maryland, closed last night after bringing the high-energy sorority life of Elle Woods from UCLA to Harvard Law School and, through a slight alteration of the lyrics of a closing number, La Plata and the well-constructed sets here (construction by Jerome Newsome, Jennifer Joyner, Zack Farri, Morgan Abresch, Savannah Maddox, Austin Mirable, Hunter Tayman, Marc and Chris Abresch, and Bruce Yeckley) to the bend-and-snap world in which girls stick together, even if it means employing a few devices, a.k.a. tricks, to achieve their goals.
The secondary storyline in this musical is, of course, one of the components of a PG-13 rating—that’s where the bend-and-snap comes in. Paulette (Bella Aron) is a cosmetologist who’s really interested in getting to know this UPS delivery man. But she’s being thrown out of a common-law marriage with a loser, and all she cares about getting out of it at this point is her dog. A real dog was brought onto the stage here, as one was for Elle’s Bruiser, and with the exception of the sets and Ms Aron’s engaging stage presence and powerful vocal delivery, the dogs made this show memorable in that they were trained well and did what they were supposed to do on stage.
Legally Blonde opens at Mercer County High School in Aledo, Illinois, next weekend, but after that, it’s done for this school year in our two “home” states. To find out if they use real dogs in Aledo, you’ll just have to go to the show.
A few productions remain in Maryland, including
- The Little Mermaid at Brunswick H.S., May 4–6
- Seussical at Colonel Richardson H.S. in Federalsburg, May 5–7
- Hairspray at Gov. Thomas Johnson H.S. in Frederick, through May 6
- Urinetown at North East H.S., May 5–13
- Singin’ in the Rain at Southern Garrett H.S. in Oakland, May 11–13
In addition to Mercer County, musical productions close out the year in Illinois with remaining performances at Charleston, Lockport Township, and Lincoln-Way Central in New Lenox (Guys and Dolls); Rock Island (Seussical); West Chicago (The Addams Family); Richards in Oak Lawn and Lemont (Beauty and the Beast); and Beecher (Little Shop of Horrors).
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name, the musical was written by Heather Hach with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. In performance at La Plata High School in La Plata, Maryland, April 27–29. Musical productions in high schools often include the hard work of hundreds of students, teachers, and other community members. We write about them in support of new federal legislation in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which directs schools to include music and the arts as part of a “well-rounded education” for students in the US.