MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

November 28, 2012

‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

— If you go

WHAT: “Legally Blonde: The Musical,” presented by the Tiger Theatre Co.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Fort Gibson High School auditorium.

COST: $7.

INFORMATION: (918) 478-2474.

By Travis Sloat

Times Correspondent

Fort Gibson junior Josh Daniels said he definitely won’t be pursing acting as a career choice, but he’s enjoying his experiences in the Tiger Theatre Co. anyway.

“It usually takes me three to four weeks to memorize my lines,” Daniels said. “From there, it’s three to four hour practices a day until the day of the play. This will be the fourth play I’ve been in.”

Daniels is one of many Tiger Theatre Co. cast members starring in “Legally Blonde: The Musical” this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Fort Gibson schools.

Melanie Wicks, a Fort Gibson High School English and drama teacher is directing the play.

Wicks said her favorite part about the performances is being around the kids and watching them grow into a character on stage.

“These kids have a lot of drive and a lot of heart,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to see all that come together. They are also all very talented. They can be a bit hard to focus sometimes, but once you express the goals and they see them, they do amazing work.”

Wicks takes time with the kids before the rehearsals to get them in the “acting” mood. She leads them through a series of exercises to loosen them up, both in body and in spirit. This leads to a volley of smiles as they all recite things like “red leather, yellow leather,” and “good blood, bad blood.”

Gracie Vanlandingham, who is playing the lead role of Elle, said she’s been doing these plays since the fifth grade, and loves every minute of it.

“I enjoyed watching when I was little,” Vanlandingam said, “but then I decided I wanted to just jump in. It’s a lot of practice, and I have to work a lot harder at school during musical season.”

Vanlandingham said she also credits those who’ve come before her as the inspiration for her performances.

“I still keep up with the people who’ve inspired me,” she said. “Most of them are in college now and are starring in big college plays. It’s so weird because now I’m the same age they were when I started looking up to them.”

“Legally Blonde: The Musical” will feature hand built sets, live musical accompaniment and, of course, lots of singing Fort Gibson students.

The show will run at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

The musical was scheduled to run a couple weeks earlier, but Wicks said they pushed it back because she’s a “die hard fan of the football team.”

“We share so many kids anyway,” she said. “We just wanted to give them the chance at the state run.”

She also said gearing up for the musical has taken almost three months.

“I wake up some mornings singing these songs. I just want to tell the people of Fort Gibson to come out and see the talent your students have,” Wicks said.

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