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'Legally Blonde' requires a bit of forethought in Muskego

High school lusical keeps stage crews busy with sets and numerous props

Tristan Mermolia programs in light cues in the Stage Management booth manned with John Salsieder (center) and Abi Priepke for the Muskego High School Music Department's production of “Legally Blonde, the Musical” during a technical rehearsal on Feb. 13.

Tristan Mermolia programs in light cues in the Stage Management booth manned with John Salsieder (center) and Abi Priepke for the Muskego High School Music Department's production of “Legally Blonde, the Musical” during a technical rehearsal on Feb. 13. Photo By C.T. Kruger

Feb. 17, 2014

Muskego — While audiences laugh at the light-hearted "Legally Blonde, The Musical" opening at Muskego High School, the stage crew for the student production will be in the wings backing up the prop-heavy show with the military precision of the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Not since "The Wizard of Oz," when the prop- and scene-masters created an entire kingdom, have there been so many background scenes and stage items to manage, said Steve Krause, manager and technical director of the production, which opens Thursday and runs through the weekend.

"This show has a bizillion scenes in it," he said. "It's one of the most complex we've done."

According to director Matt Wanner, the backstage is "log-jammed" with wagons and set pieces that will eventually make their way onto the stage.

To make sure everything gets to where it needs to be, Krause has been drilling his corps to perform with military precision. During the show, they all will be in constant communication via headsets.

The wagons loaded with set pieces will roll out onto the stage past Krause, who will be holding the long lists of props for each scene change. He is the last chance for making sure the right props arrive where they should be.

But inevitably, somewhere along the line, a prop will be missed.

"It's not if it happens — it's when it does," Krause said.

That's when everybody on the stage crew gets a life lesson.

"You learn how to react to that and how to fix the problem," Krause said, explaining that on-the-spot creativity is summoned to make subtle fixes and even incorporate them into the show.

"Legally Blonde" was chosen partly for the plot's life message, Wanner said.

The story follows the main character, a blonde, who is assumed to be just a pretty face as she enrolls in Harvard Law School to be with her boyfriend.

"She's trying to be exactly who she thinks he wants her to be," Wanner said.

But as the show progresses, she has an awakening.

"The main character realizes that being herself is the best way to go and not try to be someone else for other people," Wanner said.

The message is for the thespians as well as their audiences. "We talked a lot about it," he said.

Even though the actors turn themselves into other people onstage, they know they are just playing up different sides of themselves, he explained.

But overall, the show is fun and full of dancing and catchy, upbeat music, Wanner said.

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: "Legally Blonde, The Musical"

WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Muskego High School Performing Arts Center, S8750 Racine Ave.

HOW MUCH: $6 general or $5 age 55 and older and 12 and younger

THE CAST

Elle Woods — Leah Henriksen

Brooke Wyndam — Bri Bulski

Emmett Forrees — Matt Welden

Paulette — Nicole Morley

Professor Callahan — Max Mullen

Vivienne — Aly Robinson

Warner Huntington III — Brad Pradarelli

Delta Nu girls — Anna Aiuppa, Emily Hamer and Kelley Pillar

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