LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 6 – Grandmaster Who???

Massive sigh of relief – the kick-off meeting was held, auditions are announced for March 9 & 10, and it looks like Legally Blonde will actually happen!

Next cause for panic – will enough people try out? The musical has more than 40 named roles. About 15 high school students showed up for the initial meeting. I know some people couldn’t come but plan to try out. But probably a few of the people who went to the meeting will change their minds before auditions. Would the director actually cancel the show if we don’t get enough actors?

LegallyBlondeTheMusicalPeople can double up on roles – we’ve always done that at Smalltown ‘cause it’s such a small school. In Seussical a few years ago, some people had three parts. But more than that seems tricky, unless it’s that kind of show where everyone purposely plays many, multiple parts. We definitely need more than 20 or 25 people to pull this off.

The meeting was in the school café. The mood was pretty calm, considering it was the first meeting to discuss an awesome show, and with a new, unknown director. But the seniors are all seasoned pro’s by now, so they were mellow with undertones of excitement. Actually, most of the students there have done shows before, but there were two new freshman girls, which was good.

Mr. D., the director, ran us through auditions and rehearsal plans, and handed out the list of characters. Just reading the character list is enough to get you excited:

ELLE WOODS, the quintessential Valley Girl who realizes that she has more to offer than just a pretty face and a bubbly personality

EMMETT FORREST, a smart and sensitive law student who takes Elle under his wing

But my favorite descriptions would have to be:

BRUISER, Elle’s Dog

and

GRANDMASTER CHAD, King of Spring Break

I’ve seen the musical once, and the movie more than once, but I don’t remember Grandmaster Chad…who the heck is he???

I’ll be back soon to report on auditions!

(Image from Wikipedia)

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LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 5 – Down With Middle Schoolers

We are making progress, people. The show has been unofficially officially announced (meaning it’s not a secret and word is getting around). Flyers will go up after school vacation next week, announcing the kick-off meeting on Feb. 27. So those of you who were worrying (what me, worry?) that we weren’t going to get this show off the ground, you can relax now.

middle_school_by_scotty_reifsnyder_2

Illustration by Scoty Reifsnyder from a Harvard Education website

Looks like the show will be for grades 9-12. This is a conundrum every year, because our Smalltown school is a combined middle/high school. The drama program has had every possible variation of grades over the years, from grades 4-8 to 4-12 (that was a stretch) to 8-12. Legally Blonde has some mature bits, so keeping it to high school is probably the right move.

Smalltown’s school is small — only 500 kids for the middle and high schools (grades 6-12). So the upside of including middle schoolers is more cast members. But middle schoolers can be a pain, not fully matured emotionally, mentally, or talent-wise. But you didn’t hear that from me.

Here’s how the Crudup Drama Club responded to the addition of middle schoolers to their program, in Bit Players, Bullies and Righteous Rebels, the second book in the Bit Players series:

“We’re allowing students from the middle school to participate this year,” our director Mr. Ellison announced, enthusiastically.

(Five seconds of silence. Explosion of simultaneous comments.)

“Ugh, middle schoolers!”

“Why are we doing that?”

“You think that’s a good idea?”

“They’ll slow everything down.”

“Seriously? That’s going to suck. They’ll ruin everything!”

“Yeah, and they’ll steal parts from the ones who’ve been doing this since the beginning,” said Ben, jamming his glasses up his face with extra force.

“Easy, easy,” Mr. Ellison said, control of the situation slipping from his grasp. “We could do with a few more people. This will be a good thing.”

“Wait a minute,” Jocelyn said. “Doesn’t the new music director have a daughter in eighth grade? That obnoxious one who thinks she’s Selena Gomez? That’s why we have to have middle schoolers in the show, isn’t it?”

“My little sister’s in her grade. She says the girl – Ada, I think – insists she got an audition with The Disney Channel,” Ben said.

“Yeah, right. It was probably one of those scams where they charge you five-thousand dollars to go to a workshop and then tell you to go home, they’ll call you,” I scoffed.

“Which they never do,” said Kristina. We shared embarrassed glances, not caring to admit that both of us had bugged our parents to let us go to those very same workshops when we were younger…

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LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 4A – Still Waiting

Ohhh, as it turns out, the school STILL hadn’t mailed the check to MTI as of a few days ago, so that’s why there hasn’t been an announcement about the show or auditions. But, they have assured everyone the check is in fact now in the mail. Yes, the school check-cutting process can be frustrating, as can delays of almost 3 weeks. But, that’s OK. With performance dates in late May, there is still plenty of time to put together a rockin’ show. Let’s just hope the check doesn’t get lost in the mail…

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LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 4 – Waiting

Waiting waiting waiting no official announcement of the show yet waiting waiting waiting when are auditions waiting waiting waiting this is torture waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting

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Book Giveaway Contest!

pinterest-book giveaway with burst

Sign up to follow the Bit Players blog and be entered in a drawing to win all three Bit Players books! One lucky winner will get the entire series for FREE. Simply follow these easy steps to enter the contest:

  1. Enter your email on the right, underneath where it says “Follow Blog”
  2. Look for a confirmation email in your inbox, and follow the link to confirm that you want to follow Bit Players. (This step takes you to a WordPress web page. You don’t have to do anything on that page, but you can adjust the settings there if you want.)

Entry deadline is February 13, 2015 (Friday the 13th.)… One winner will be chosen at random on February 14, 2015 (Valentine’s Day – I like dates that are easy to remember.…). Books will be mailed within two weeks of contest end date.

Not sure if you want to follow Bit Players? Trust me, you won’t be swamped with emails notifying you of new posts. Just look through my previous posts to see how sporadically I post! :-) You will, however, get access to “LeBlonde Blog”and Bit Players book updates, along with general musings on life and theatre. And life in the theatre. And the theatre of life. You get the picture. Thanks for entering!

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. If you prefer not to follow the Bit Players blog, you may enter by submitting your email address using the Contact Us form on the Bit Players blog: http://bitplayers.me/about-2/. Sweepstakes open to people of all ages, provided the U.S. Postal Service can deliver to the winner’s location. Sweepstakes runs January 25, 2015 through February 13, 2015. Sponsored and promoted by S.M. Stevens, 556 Linden St., Boylston, MA, 01505, USA. One prize will be awarded. Prize consists of one copy each of three books: Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers (retail value $6.99); Bit Players, Bullies and Righteous Rebels (retail value $6.99); and Bit Players, Bird Girls and Fake Break-Ups (retail value $8.99). Odds of winning depend on number of entries submitted. Winner will be selected at random on February 14, 2015, and prize shipped via post by February 28, 2015. Winner will be announced on www.bitplayers.me. Winner agrees to allow name and state/country of residence to be publicized on www.bitplayers.me.
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LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 3 – Obtaining the Rights

We have the rights! Yay!!!!! Legally Blonde is now officially Smalltown High School’s spring musical.

TheatreSeatsWhen we left off a week ago, Mr. D. (the director) was concerned about the complexity of the show. Remember, it’s his first show at this school with these students and in this auditorium. So piling an ambitious production on top of those uncertainties was valid reason for pause. (The auditorium is barely 2 years old – people are still figuring out how some of the equipment works!)

Since then, Mr. D has been reassured by the students and the faculty advisor (let’s call her Mrs. A) that the show can work. Yes, it has a lot of roles and set changes, and yes a word or two may need to be changed, but now Mr. D is on board with the show. Pfshew.

logo_mti_letterheadEven more exciting, after sorting out silly little snafus with account names and credit card numbers and outstanding balances, Smalltown High School was able to access its MTI account and apply for the rights to do the show. And now (drumroll, please), a real live paper contract sits in the hot little hands of Mrs. A.

All that remains is for Mrs. A to mail the “performance license” and the royalty fee to MTI, and we’ll be off and running (dancing?). I don’t know the actual royalty amount, but it’s based on the number of shows and expected attendance. The basic royalty concept is that you pay for every person’s viewing of the show. Imagine if you had to pay more to watch a Pay-Per-View event on TV if you had six people in your living room instead of three. Don’t get me wrong. The concept of artist royalties is totally fair and reasonable. But it is kind of interesting how it works when you think about it.

dollar-signWhen setting the royalty amount, MTI doesn’t care if you charge admission or not. We will definitely charge admission, because the theatre program is self-supporting. It doesn’t get any money from the regular school budget.

Which is just one of the reasons why it’s so awesome that we have the rights to Legally Blonde — The show should be a big draw which means strong ticket sales which means more money to keep the program going. Sadly, business is an important piece of any arts program. But now that we’re through the start-up paperwork, we can look toward auditions and getting creative. More on that next week.

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LeBlonde Blog – Chapter 2 – The Perusal

LeBlonde Blog Logo

Perusal or no perusal? The director decided he needed to see a perusal of Legally Blonde: The Musical before committing to the show. Understandable, since he’s never directed the show. But absolute torrrrrture for the kids, who are chomping at the bit to get started.

What concerns did a reading of the perusal script raise? Plenty. The show calls for multiple chorus groups — college students, Harvard faculty, hair salon staff, etc. — so our little school is going to have to pump up the volume and bring out the students in droves. (Sorry, this seems to be a cliché-ridden post.) Can we do it? Well, when we did High School Musical a few years back, we had 50 cast members. The excitement around Legally Blonde is building, so it’s definitely possible. If not, will we have to cut scenes and/or songs?

Next concern: multiple set changes not only within scenes but even within songs. Can our stage crew pull it off? We have a few dedicated, really awesome stage crew members, but they’ll need help. Last year, the cast did most of the set changes for The Pajama Game. Bottom line: It can be done. If the set pieces are minimal, it’s that much easier.

Lefty takes a break from playing "Toto"

Lefty takes a break from playing “Toto”

Oh, did I mention there are two dogs in the cast? But hey, we had a live Toto for Wizard of Oz two years ago, and he was a pro. Only missed one cue!

So the perusal tells us what we’re in for. Now let’s get started! :-)

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