[attach]5816[/attach]East York Collegiate has staged 15 musicals in the last 35 years and their latest production, Legally Blonde — The Musical, promises to be their best yet, according to the show’s director, Pat Murray.
“In terms of production value, it’s 10 times better (than the last two musicals),” Murray said. “In terms of the kids, in my opinion, they’re giving it their all. They’re not professionals but they’re pouring their hearts into it.”
The show revolves around the character of Elle Woods, a Malibu socialite whose heart takes her to Harvard Law School to follow and impress her ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III.
Although the lead, Taylor Emo, said she enjoys playing the part of Elle she said she doesn’t have much in common with the ditsy yet diligent character other than some fashion choices.
“I love pink,” she said. “I’m like obsessed with pink.”
Emo said she would like to pursue a career in acting, which wouldn’t be unprecedented for an East York Collegiate alum. Chris Diamantopoulos, who performed in the school’s 1994 production of Man of La Mancha went on to earn roles on Broadway, in well-known TV shows like The West Wing, and stars as Moe in the upcoming Hollywood reinterpretation of The Three Stooges.
The show’s co-producer, Michael Atzemis, has been involved on both sides of East York’s school theatre as a staff member and also as a student. Atzemis helped the school put on its last two musicals in 2005 and 2007, while in 1988, back when he was a senior at the school, he took a break from the cross-country team to become a stagehand in their performance of Guys and Dolls. Now that he has come full circle, he said he wants the feeling of inclusiveness and teamwork that he felt back then to continue today.
“I’ve just never forgotten that it really was a company and everyone was important whether you were on the stage and you were the lead, to the guy out there being the usher,” he said. “That’s kind of my vision that I’ve brought to this, that it really is a company and everybody’s important.”
The student who plays the part of Warner, Sam Collett, also gave up his spot on the cross-country team to be part of the play, but said he is feeling the team spirit amongst members of the production as well.
“We’ve definitely come together, we’ve definitely progressed a lot,” he said. “At the start we were just all up there with our books talking and then as we went on we all got to know our characters and really release our full potential.”
The young performers have been practising for the upcoming show for the past eight months, during their lunches, after school and on weekends. All their work will be showcased from May 10–12 at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.
“Expect a good show,” Emo said. “It’s going to be really funny, lots of singing, dancing and acting. We try to make everyone laugh as much as we can.”