‘Legally Blonde’ to open March 14


Thespians at Hayes High School have been hard at work this semester rehearsing for their upcoming production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” which opens later this month.

The show’s director, Dr. Dara Gillis, said she selected the show, an musical adaptation of the 2001 film, because of its “empowerment of the female personality and its ability to understand and break down stereotypes.”

“It tackles societal issues with humor and wonderful music!” Gillis said in an email Thursday. “And, it’s just a whole lot of fun!”

Gillis said the show has something for fans of the movie, the musical, or just the theater program at Hayes.

“It is vibrant, colorful, funny, touching, and will leave patrons feeling joyful as they sing their way out of the theater!” Gillis said.

The show will be performed March 14-16 at 7:30 p.m. along with a matinee at 2 p.m. on March 16. Tickets are available at our.show/vktjj3cq.

The show’s star, Hayes senior Evalyn Penly, said Thursday that rehearsals for the show have been good, and the character’s energy has made practicing enjoyable.

“I was worried about stress level and how difficult the rehearsal process would be, but because it’s been fun, it’s actually made it a lot easier,” Penly said. “Elle is the type of person who is always positive, she’s always happy. She has her moments, but portraying that kind of positive, up-beat character, makes rehearsals so fun.”

Penly said her version of the character is similar to the movie and musical version but said she’s trying to put her own flair on the character as well. She added the character’s frequent wardrobe changes have been a fun challenge.

“(I like) her energy and how positive she is all around,” Penly said. “I’m a little nervous. There are a lot of quick changes in the show and props all over the place. It’s a never-ending list. Everything is in this giant bag.”

Marta Bourget, a senior, is the senior props master on the production and said the show’s modern setting meant the crew had to make “a lot” of new stuff for the show since many of the theater department’s props are for shows set in the past.

“I had to make … a lot of stuff,” Bourget said.

A challenge on the show, they added, has not only been the full props table but also making sure none of the props get misplaced by other cast members.

“That’s been a big thing. Evelyn has so many costume changes and props so (I’ve had to) communicate with stage crew and other actors to be like, ‘Hey, I need this prop here right now,’” Bourget said. “I don’t think anyone doesn’t have a prop this year. Most people have two. Which is fun because it adds a lot to the performance, but it’s a lot of work.”

Bourget said they’ve been acting in shows since sixth grade but stepped behind the scenes their freshman year when the school put on a smaller show due to COVID. Bourget said the stressful part of being the props master isn’t the performances but is actually the weeks leading up to the performance as everything gets ironed out.

“I have everything done today,” Bourget said. “For most scenes I’d say we’ve hit the mark. (During) the last week, I’m not doing anything but repairs.”

Stage Manager Jade Ball is in charge of all the lights and technical aspects of the show and said rehearsals have been “really fun.”

“It’s one of the best shows I’ve done,” Ball said. “I’m making sure the tech crew is making their cues and just kind of making sure everyone is staying on track.”

Ball said she isn’t nervous at all about putting on the show.

“I used to (get nervous) but I’ve gotten to the point where I’m comfortable with the people I work with so I know if I make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world,” Ball said.

Elhum Bouziri, a senior, plays Paulette in the show and said it’s her first time as one of the leads in a show at Hayes.

“It’s definitely a lot more work, but the pay off is a lot greater,” Bouziri said. “When I nail one of my scenes or one of my lines, it is so rewarding. I tried out for Paulette and was surprised when I actually got her.”

Bouziri said she appreciated Gillis’ direction of the show.

“When I first started, I kept messing up because I was afraid of going big, and Dr. Gillis said, ‘Don’t be afraid to overact because I can tell you to dial it back,’ so now I just go on and give it my all,” Bouziri said. “I know everyone is going to do fine. I’m worried I’m going to mess everyone else up, but I’m excited.”

Sophomore Isaac Christopher, who plays Warner Huntington III in the show, said the character is fairly similar to his role as Tom Buchanan in the Hayes fall production of “The Great Gatsby.”

“My role in ‘Gatsby’ was fairly similar to this, which made it a lot easier to navigate (my nerves),” Christopher said. “I’ve had a fantastic time getting to know everyone I didn’t know already. I’ve had a fun experience learning the choreography and getting a good feel for the show.”

Gavin Lewis, a junior, plays Professor Callahan and said he’s enjoyed the experience of playing an authoritative character.

“It’s really fun,” Lewis said. “Most of the characters I’ve played have not been anywhere near this character. It’s very different from my past experience, but it’s been fun to learn.”

Lewis said the part was “pretty nerve-wracking” at first.

“Once I learned it, it was pretty easy going,” he laughed. “I’m pretty good at it now.”

Gillis said patrons who would like a “sneak peek” of the production should plan to join the Delaware Music Boosters at Clō Wine Gallery and Lounge today from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Tickets to the preview event can be purchased at https://search.seatyourself.biz/webstore/accounts/delawaremusicboosters/buy-tix.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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