Stars of East Lansing High School’s musical ready to perform

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By Max Benoit
Entirely East Lansing

Matt Wiesner and Samantha White after their first performance as Emmett and Elle in East Lansing High School's spring musical.

Matt Wiesner and Samantha White after starring in their first performance as Emmett and Elle in East Lansing High School’s spring musical.

After months of preparation, the stars of East Lansing High School’s production of “Legally Blonde the Musical” are glad that it’s finally showtime.

The lead actors were excited to get out and perform the first of their five shows on Wednesday, March 16.

“Finally being on stage was one of the best feelings. It was like the fruit to your labor,” said Matt Wiesner, a junior who plays the role of Emmett.

Wiesner was one of the stars of the show along with fellow junior Samantha White, who plays Elle. Both White and Wiesner have been in every play and musical put on by East Lansing High School since their freshman year. Playing a lead role was just as exciting for White as it was for Wiesner.

“It was so incredible,” White said. “The adrenaline gets pumping and you know that all of your hard work has finally paid off. It was just really fun.”

“Legally Blonde the Musical” tells the story of a sorority girl named Elle. Elle disproves her stereotype as a blonde and gets into Harvard Law School. All in an effort to win back who she thinks is her true love. The story is told through a wide variety of music and dance numbers.

White did everything she could to prepare for the role as Elle.

“It was crazy. I watched the movie, listened to the soundtrack, and watched the musical,” said White. “Basically every night I was doing something to prepare myself to be Elle Woods.”

The preparation for the whole cast included building multiple sets like a hair salon and a Harvard classroom.

“The entire set was amazing, so I have to give a shout out to everyone that helped build it,” said Wiesner.

Performers also prepared for what the show was going to be like when the curtains were finally drawn back opening night.

“It was hectic,” Wiesner said. “There were so many set changes. The backstage was really crowded. We had a ton of costume changes. I think that Sam had like 27 costume changes herself. But it was really fun.”

Donna Kaplowitz is from East Lansing and was in the audience on opening night. She said that she loves how the theater director finds a way to involve everyone.

“I love the theater director,” Kaplowitz said. “He finds a way to include everyone so you get to see a lot of real talent. He’s able to showcase everyone in some way.”

Mark Shaheen has directed and produced more than 35 plays and musicals at East Lansing High School and locally. He worked on this musical with assistant director Kathy Kowalski, who has worked with Shaheen for the last 15 years.

This musical included over 120 students in the cast, orchestra pit, and stage crew.

“Our directors are outstanding,” White said. “Just working with the people in the cast, the music made by the orchestra, it was all just awesome.”

The East Lansing High School Theater will be putting on four more shows from March 17-20. All tickets for Thursday night’s performance are $5. Tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

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