Polaris Productions, December 2021 @ Theatre Row, NYC. LeCee Galmiche Johnson (director), Justin Baldridge (musical director for 2020), Steven Silverstein (musical director for 2021). Choreography by Avital Asuleen. Stage management by Gian DiCostanzo. Costumes by Karim Rivera Rosado.
We held auditions for Legally Blonde in January of 2020. We were on schedule to perform in April when the pandemic hit. Our last rehearsal in 2020 was on March 10th, at which time we postponed Legally Blonde indefinitely. We promised the cast that we would come back to finish the show. We didn’t know it would be 19 months before we could do that.
Because of the pandemic, many challenges awaited us. Our technical director of 18 years left the business. Our musical director of four years moved back to California. Our costume designer moved to Puerto Rico. About half of our original cast members were either at college or decided not to return. We recast the members who did return, and brought in some new cast members. We resumed rehearsals in September. With a cast of just seventeen, ours was probably the smallest Legally Blonde cast in the history of Legally Blonde.
The theater we were scheduled to perform in suddenly became unavailable to us. We had to scramble to find another theater. It never occurred to us rent at Theatre Row before. We’d only seen professional shows there. We reached out to them anyway, and they were happy to have us.
When it was time to move into the theater, we faced another challenge. We had made arrangements with freelance theater techs to help us with load-in — hanging lights, drapes, scenery and a projector.
They never showed up.
As it turns out, there is a skilled theatrical labor shortage in NYC. Our techs were hired out from under us at the last minute by Broadway productions.
We hung lights, drapes, scenery and a projector ourselves –from a 21-foot high grid. It was the highest ceiling we’ve ever worked under. We were also acutely aware that if one of the cast were to become ill, Theatre Row would shut us down. Were we stressed? Absolutely.
In spite of these challenges (and more), we opened at Theatre Row the weekend of December 3-5. The show was a tremendous hit and all performances were sold out. Legally Blonde fans from over the NYC metro area came to see it and had a great time.
It was quite a journey! And it could not have ended better. Many thanks to everyone who helped make it a success.
Legally Blonde at Theatre Row,
12/4/2021 afternoon performance.
“Serious” featuring Jared Anthony (Warner) and Isabella Burke (Elle).