Director Jess Lynch Talks Legally Blonde: The Musical

Legally Blonde: The Musical has some fantastic one-liners, often incorporating Trent student culture into the script, making it all the more funny for the audience.

The cast was full to the brim of exceptionally talented performers that I almost forgot that I was sitting in Wenjack theatre. The adaptation from the film offered enough classic moments to keep the audience happy, but had a fresh, ASTC (Anne Shirley Theatre Company) twist. Some of the numbers were hilariously funny—a favorite of mine being “Gay or European.” The real dogs that played Bruiser and Rufus were particularly captivating. Special congrats to them for their fantastic acting skills.

Arthur had the opportunity to speak to a member of the talented ASTC and the show’s director, Jess Lynch. She talks about her great responsibilities and some funny backstage stories.

So, Jess, we have heard about the show from a few members of your cast, but tell us a bit about it from your perspective.

This show is really something else! This particular production was a huge undertaking! Legally Blonde is fun-loving, up-beat, and very clever. It celebrates individuality, staying true to one’s self, and finding your inner strength as life throws all of its chaos at you. It really was a rewarding challenge, but I had a great amount of support from students and community members.

Have you been involved with any of the shows in the past?

I’ve actually been involved in the past five productions with ASTC. I started in my first year as an actor as Susan in Company, that year I also became cast rep and joined the executive. Throughout the years I have been involved in many aspects of the company including publicity, co-directing Wedding Singer with Kevin Ross, as well as holding the position of Vice President under last year’s president Harry Clark. It has been quite a journey working with such passionate and committed people over the past few years.

How has the show evolved from previous performances?

It seems as if every year the production grows in many different ways, all building on the success of the show the year before. When I started, it was a group of people and a piano in the Wenjack; every year the band has grown, the talent has grown, and now the community involvement has grown, too. The commitment and help of Peterborough community theatre members has been absolutely priceless in supporting the show, and helping it to evolve.

What is it like to have the great responsibility of being the director of the show? Are the cast members usually well behaved?

There are so many little things that go into directing that so many people do not know about. To be honest, I thought I was ready and it turned out to be a huge challenge; I love the chaos of theatre but this was quite a roller coaster. I had wonderful advisors. It’s a huge responsibility but the aid of committed and passionate people has helped me along the way.

The amount of people with busy lives and stresses of their own, meeting at least two times a week in a small room on (or off) campus, can be very interesting! Not to mention anytime you get theatre kids together there is bound to be distractions and lots of noise! It can admittedly be a challenge to wrangle people in at moments but in the end we all have the same goal and that brings everyone together.

Any particularly funny stories from rehearsal or backstage?

There are always hilarious stories from any show! During rehearsals we like to incorporate some theatre games and improv. During one of the games, Lucas Deluca, who plays Emmett in the musical, decided he would remove his prosthetic leg to win the next round of the game. Well, this was very early in the rehearsal stage and not all the cast were even aware that he had a prosthetic, so it caused quite a ruckus with the cast.

Auditions for me have the funniest stories. During auditions the boys were asked if they were comfortable removing their shirts and/or do their model walk. Some boys just whipped off their shirts and strutted their stuff, another made me feel like I had asked him to do something very wrong. Truly, though, every day is a funny story, that’s why we do it!

Where can you see the company go in the future?

I see the company continuing to bring students who love theatre and want to keep it in their lives as they pursue their degree at Trent. If the company keeps up the bounds it has made with the community it could easily grow to have shows both on campus and downtown.

I heard opening night was sold out. How have the shows gone so far?

The shows have been incredible with good numbers in the house and lots of laughs in the crowd. The numbers for the second weekend are looking next to sold out and I expect that the rest will sell at the door! If this year is great, next year can only be better.

Thank you to director Jess Lynch for her time. It seems like Legally Blonde: The Musical has been a lot of fun for not only its audience, but the cast members too! Arthur wishes ASTC all the luck in the future- we’re already excited about next year’s show!