Written By: Jessica Lemond, junior.
As the cast of the spring musical, Legally Blonde, prepares for their first performance on March 24, I met with some of the stars. Seniors Anna Webner and Nick Dooley, and junior Seth Mrazik spoke about their connection to their characters and how they prepare for their performances.
Anna Webner as Elle Woods
Q: How long have you been doing theater?
A: A long time! I think my first show was when I was in second grade. It was Wild Wild Wildest West. I had a little part, but it was fun. I’ve done a lot of shows since then.
Q: How is Legally Blonde a challenge for you?
A: There was a lot of music and a lot of lines that I had to memorize, but I was able to do it pretty well– much better than I expected of myself. There are also some notes that are higher than I’m used to, but I feel like I’m doing pretty good with them.
Q: Tell me about your character.
A: Elle Woods is super bubbly and optimistic. She seems like your stereotypical blonde, but really she’s really smart and positive. She really knows what she wants in a way that really brings out the true character in her. She doesn’t take no for an answer, but in a good way.
Q: How is she similar to you?
A: I think I’m a pretty optimistic person, too. I try to see the positive in everything rather than the negative.
Q: How is she different?
A: Well I’m actually not blond, so there’s that. I feel like she’s probably more confident and more of a go-getter than I am sometimes, too.
Q: Does portraying Elle Woods improve your own confidence?
A: Yeah, I think it does. Whatever role I’m in, I just take it and run with it. If I have to be confident, I am confident. From the beginning of the show to now, where it’s almost the end, I’ve just found myself being a little more outgoing. I really think it is because I have to be in character so much.
Q: So would you say that you take something away from every character you portray?
A: Yes, and I also try to find myself in each character because that helps me have a strong base, and I build off of that. If I don’t have a character that I can relate to, I try to see what I can take from them.
Q: What is your biggest challenge when trying to portray Elle Woods?
A: I think it’s still that confidence. We just had our first dress rehearsal, and there’s one scene where I have to wear a bunny suit. I wouldn’t normally walk around in something like that. It was kind of hard because I had to transition from being me to being her in order to feel confident in that costume. Sometimes, I have to get past the idea that it’s not me up there, it’s the character.
Nick Dooley as Emmett Forrest
Q: Tell me about Emmett.
A: Emmett, as a character, doesn’t let his hardships get the best of him. He has overcome them. He’s very reserved, and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to a topic he’s interested in. He is a rather poor man that comes out of Rocksbury, New York, and he is a Harvard law school graduate. He works as a teacher’s assistant for Professor Callahan. He’s socially awkward; he doesn’t have a lot of social experience since he went to Harvard, and all he mainly worked on was trying to get through school so he could have a job in the law field.
Q: How is he similar to you?
A: I see a lot of me in that kind of character, being that I have a tendency to strive for the best in the field I’m trying to go in to. In all of my classes, I strive to be the best that I can be. I’m going in to biomedical engineering, so in my science classes, I try harder so that I know what I’m talking about and not unfamiliar with the concept.
Q: How are you different from your character?
A: I’m fortunate enough that I didn’t have to grow up in a sort of a slums-like neighborhood; I grew up in the suburbs in White Lake, which isn’t one of the poorest areas, but it’s not wealthy at all. Emmett grew up in a very poor area and experienced a lot of hardships. I’ve been very grateful for everything that has happened in my life, like how smoothly some things have gone that was a challenge for my character.
Q: What do you do to relate to your character and have a convincing performance?
A: I try to see how other actors have performed my role. One of my favorite references is the Broadway musical. I believe the actor’s name is Christopher Bole, and he portrays Emmet very well. I don’t know any of the actors’ backstories, but I feel he portrayed him really well.
Q: How would the play be different without Emmet?
A: It would be very different. Without Emmet Forest in the picture for Elle Woods, she wouldn’t have the drive to try and get better. She would just kind of stay in her little love trance that she has towards Warner Huntington III. Emmett is kind of the drive that makes her strive to better herself in the class. It’s kind of like that conscious, that Jiminy Cricket, in a sense.
Seth Mrazik as Warner Huntington III
Q: Tell me about your character.
A: Warner Huntington III is definitely serious. He was a privileged guy growing up, and he kind of thinks of himself as superior to everyone else. He seems selfish, but he’s really just doing what’s best for him all the time. He doesn’t really think about what everyone else is doing; he just does whatever puts him ahead.
Q: How is he similar to you?
A: Oh, you know, he has great hair! And, as my co-star, Shannon Kase would say, “We both know we got it going on.”
Q: How is Huntington different from you?
A: I really like the character quite a bit; it gives me a lot of room to play around. He’s really preppy, and excuse my language, but he’s a bit of a tool. It’s a lot of fun playing him, because I get to pretend I’m superior to everyone else and just prance around. It’s a fun role. I personally think that no one has a better footing than anyone else, and that everyone’s equal, but it’s fun pretending I am better sometimes. It’s also a challenge though because I smile a lot; I’m a generally happy person, and I have to be a little more… pensive when I’m portraying Warner.
Q: If you were raised like your character was, how do you think you’d be different as a person?
A: I’d be really rich and I’d be going to Harvard, for one. I’d honestly be a different person altogether. Your instincts and your surroundings really control who you are, and I think that if I was raised in the same setting, I’d be pretty much him. I think anyone would be.
Q: Do you think that if Huntington was raised in a different setting, that it would change his character?
A: Warner was a privileged kid. I mean he was born with a ton of money, but he also would do whatever he had to get to his career goal, which was basically what his family told him to do. He’s going to Harvard to become a senator because that’s the Huntington path. You know, he’s doing whatever he has to continue the family legacy. I think that if he didn’t have those expectations, he might not even go to law; he’d do whatever he wanted. It’s all about your surroundings and your influences.