Upper School
Arts

"Legally Blonde" Gives Seniors Memories to Cherish

This year the Upper School fall musical “Legally Blonde” gave student performers a chance to show off their comedic timing and singing and dancing skills through a light-hearted story based on the popular Reese Witherspoon movie. Three seniors, Ellie RudyChristian Erben, and Ethan Rogers, reflected on the lessons they learned from this year’s project, and what it feels like to reach the culmination of their musical experience at St. Andrew’s. Click here to view the photo gallery.
How did you feel when you got your role?
Ellie: When I got the role, this feeling of disbelief, overwhelming happiness, and nausea hit me like a bullet. I couldn't really understand how out of so many talented performers, they'd chosen me. I'm a pretty klutzy, quirky person. I don't wear makeup. My ideal outfit is harem pants and a graphic tea, and most importantly, I'm a brunette! But I knew this was going to be the most exciting, rewarding project I could take on and I couldn't wait to get started.
Christian: Paulette had been a dream role of mine every since I discovered that Legally Blonde had become a musical. I remember when I found out I got Paulette, I collapsed on the ground in tears because I was so happy. 
Ethan: I was very excited to be cast as Warner, this was a role that I've always wanted to play so this was a wonderful opportunity for me.
 
What was the most challenging aspect of this musical?
Ellie: For me, the most challenging part of playing Elle was the choreography. I so enjoyed working with our incredibly gifted choreographers, Natasha and Katherine, and I got in the best shape I have ever been in.
Christian: We have not had a show with this much dancing in a very, very long time, and the choreography aspect was probably the hardest part of the show. It was a lot of hard work, especially the Irish dancing, but it paid off in the end.
Ethan: Trusting the process. The show always comes together but there's definitely a small state of panic.
 
What message or theme in this musical resonated with you?
Ellie: Something that really stuck out to me in Legally Blonde was the intrinsic sense of sisterhood and girl power amongst the majority of the female roles. Although Vivienne, played by my best friend Aimee Williams, initially sabotages Elle, I think the way they come together in the end sends a really positive message to young girls. I also loved the "Bend and Snap" scene where all the girls were cheering on Paulette. I think the scene shows that you can embrace yourself and all your quirks. And once you learn to love those flaws, others will too. It's all about loving what you have and being the best version of yourself you can be.
Christian: I love how female oriented this show is, and getting to feature so many women this year was incredible. I very much relate to Paulette in the beginning, how she's awkward around boys because she is very insecure and has been hurt in the past. I love how she discovers a new found confidence in herself. She realizes she is beautiful, and smart, and while she does not need a man to be happy and complete her as she previously believed, she does find someone who treats her right, even when she thought all hope was lost.
Ethan: My favorite quote has to be "Being yourself never goes out of style." That is something that really resonates with me and I think that few people realize the importance of being yourself.
 
How did you feel when the curtain fell on the final performance?
Ellie: After our last performance, I remember hugging Aimee, who played Vivienne, and Christian Erben who played Paulette. The fact it was over hadn't hit me yet. Yes I was tearing up, but not out of sadness. I was so proud of the two of them. I had done my very first musical in sixth grade with these two girls. Christian had always been like a second mother to me. I know it sounds odd, but Christian takes care of me. I owe this role to her. She taught me the music before auditions. She went over all the call-back music with me, and she brought be a hot tea the next morning. I remember it was Hibiscus-mint from Starbucks. Of course she chose that flavor because it was hot pink. Playing best friends was so easy and I am so proud of her. Aimee on the other hand is my soulmate. Playing enemies was difficult because every time Rick told us to give each other [a glare], we both just lost it in a fit of giggles. 
Christian: I have cried at the end of all of my St. Andrew's Upper School performances, but this time it was so different. Different because there wasn't a "there's always next year" in the back of my mind. It was actually the last bow in my last show. I also had so much love for this cast that my heart hurt. Getting to play my dream role my senior year with the most loving cast ever is something I will never forget, and while I was sobbing during the last show because I was sad it was ending, it was also happy in the sense that I and my family created something so beautiful that moved so many people.
Ethan: I was a bit teary eyed not going to lie! It was my last St. Andrew's musical so there were definitely a lot of emotions jumping around in my head.
 
What will you remember about your experience as an artist at St. Andrew's?
Christian: St. Andrew's is not always the easiest school to go to, because it is a college preparatory school and can be extremely academically challenging. The arts not only give me motivation to come to school and love school, but push me to be better in my other classes. Being an artist at St. Andrew's has given me so much. The choir and theater programs here have helped me find what I want to do with my life, supply me with daily sources of joy, and have given me groups of people who I am lucky enough to call family. I will always carry my St. Andrew's experiences with me, but most of all in the artist department, which I can never repay.
Ethan: I will always remember my time at St. Andrew's as an absolutely phenomenal experience. It is such a loving environment where I was truly given the tools to succeed and supported through thick and thin. I'm so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful program. Mr. Rosensteel and Mr. Garcia honestly changed my life and I am so thankful that they were a part of my life for all these years.
 
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    Austin, TX 78705
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    Austin, TX 78735
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Located in Austin, Texas, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private co-ed elementary, middle and high school for grades K-12. Students benefit from dedicated faculty, a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.