A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Legacy’s 2022 Musical

Ava Blakely and Lillian Blackham

Ah, the revered spring musical. One of the culminating points of a Legacy Thespian’s livelihood.

For those of you that are unaware, our beloved high school puts on a musical production every spring. Despite some setbacks due to COVID-19, the cast, crew, and pit have all been working extremely hard to make this show come to life!

Centered around Montague “Monty” Navarro, the plot unfolds through a flashback, starting with Monty in a cell at the very end of the story. He introduces himself as the Earl of Highhurst, writing a memoir. “In the event of my execution,” he writes, “while I still have the time, I have decided to leave behind a purely factual record of events.”

What unfolds from this point is a two hour show full of both love and murder, as one might assume from the title.

Both of us had the absolute honor of being involved with the show – Ava Blakely in the cast, and Lillian Blackham in the pit. While we can’t reveal too much about the show, we did ask the cast, crew, and pit some questions in regards to them and the musical!

A Gentleman’s Guide has a total of six shows. While four of them are able to be seen by the general public, there will be one that will be specifically for teachers, and another that occurs during the school day. The latter will be performed by the understudies during periods 1-6 on Thursday, February 10th, for Westlake Middle School’s eighth graders, along with the understudies’ families and the Theater I class. Details for those looking to attend the other four shows will be located at the bottom of the article.


Advice for Future Thespians

The cast has been putting in a tremendous amount of effort to bring the show to life from the script. We asked them what they would suggest future thespians keep in mind if they are planning on auditioning for a play or musical in the coming years:

“Be polite and respectful, because if you’re kind and listen, they appreciate it so much.” – Brad King (11th)

“Memorize the material, don’t be afraid to ad-lib if you mess up your monologue, and remember you only need to memorize the first 20 measures of a song.” – Jack Cooley (9th)

“Learn your audition ’til you can recite it in your sleep, and make sure to balance your social, work, and musical life.” – Benicio Gutierrez (11th)

“Just do it. It’s so scary, especially when you hear people doing their auditions, but after you audition you feel very accomplished.” – Brecken Cooley (11th)

“Any time you aren’t on stage, work on homework! It is surprising how much work you can get done while waiting for your scenes.” – Lily Schimschal (10th)

As many of you are aware, musicals have, well, music! And it’s the job of the pit to provide live music for each and every show. It’s a difficult task, as there’s just so much music and not a lot of time. While there are a lot of trials, such as getting adjusted to actually being in the pit and trying to get comfortable on those very uncomfortable chairs, it overall ends up being such a fun experience. Here’s what a couple of people in the pit have to say about the whole experience, and their advice to those looking to join next year:

“You really have to be able to count lots of rests and pay attention to the director. Try not to have events that overlap because you’ll have to choose which one is more important that day.” – Tori Cluff (10th)

“Listen to the musical beforehand. It’s a lot more fun when you know what’s going on.” – Kayla Hall (11th)

“Actually go to practice.” – Anonymous (11th)

“Make sure you recognize the time commitment to pit. During dress week and show week, your entire life will become pit, so make sure you can handle that.” – Katelyn Bodine (10th)

“I’d say that pit is awesome, but you definitely have to be aware of the time commitment. It’s a great way to grow closer with the people in your music group, especially for those in orchestra, as we don’t do as much outside of school stuff as band does. It also is a hefty commitment, and you kind of lose two weeks in February or March because you’re at the school until at least 8:30.” – Isaac Blasi (11th)

Behind the scenes, the crew is also working extremely hard to make this show come to life! While many people wrongly disregard them for their seemingly permanent backstage presence, they are such an important cog in the machine of the musical. Working with them has been such a pleasure! Here’s what they had to say for people interested in being on tech:

“It’s a great experience, and you will have a family for life, just make sure you pay attention in class.” – Kristina Opel (11th)

“It can be a lot of work, but it is a good way to meet new people.” – Anonymous (10th)

“If you are really interested, give it a shot for at least one semester and you won’t regret it. Everyone is welcome, and I am really glad I did it myself.” – Roman Villano (9th)

“Know that this is a commitment and time and hard work is put into each and every show, but it is so, so fun, and you won’t regret joining at all!” – Hannah Hoffman (12th)

“Do it! People are always needed and we have lots of fun times. It can be hard work, but if you are trying to get into theater it can be a good place to start as well.” – Abrum Wilson (10th)

“If you want to do running crew, make sure your stamina is good, because sets can be heavy and you have to be running.” – Weylin Flauta (12th)

Cast’s thoughts

In addition to asking for advice, we also asked them what their thoughts on the show were. 

While there’s some disagreements on the cast-favorite song, the general conclusion appears to be split between Lady Hyacinth Abroad – one of the biggest numbers near the end of act one – and I’ve Decided to Marry You – a fun song between three of the characters that definitely earns its spot in the actor’s hearts. 

On the other hand, the least-favorite song of the cast is down to either Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun – a song that was fairly tricky for the ensemble when we interviewed everyone, though is more entertaining and fun now – or The Last One You’d Expect – the final song of act one, which is the longest, trickiest, and most complex scene/song in the entire show. 

Nevertheless, multiple actors said that they didn’t have a least favorite song, and that they were all (to quote a cast member) “bangers”. 


Crew’s thoughts

We also reached out to the crew to see their thoughts on the show as it came together. The consensus seems to be that the music is good, and the show itself is incredibly comedic, with one stating that they “think it’s the best show we’ve ever done” and another mentioning that “the set is pleasing to the eye” (Hannah Hoffman, 12th, and Max Bales, 10th respectively). 

In addition, we asked the crew about why they wanted to join tech. Most responded that they loved theater and wanted to participate in or help the show in some way for various reasons. It’s incredible to know that despite often being unrecognized for their work, they still love the shows just as much as we do – and possibly more.


Pit’s thoughts

Finally, we asked the pit about the easiest and hardest parts of the music they play. Most musicians responded that certain songs or parts were easiest, though one did point out that “It really depends on what instrument you play” (Tori Cluff, 10th). 

As for the hardest, most took the opportunity to point out the ridiculous number of sharps and flats in the key signature, along with accidentals. For those of you that are less musically inclined, sharps and flats in a key signature is basically teeny tiny small print in a large, important document that you have to take note of and keep in mind while reading the rest of it. They are not fun, and the more of them there are, the more difficult (usually) the piece of music is. The cast also had to deal with the strange key signatures as well, so they definitely understand the pit’s struggles. Despite the setbacks, they’re still playing beautifully, and are surpassing expectations.


Stress levels

The very last thing we asked the cast, crew, and pit was how stressed they were in regards to the musical. Please keep in mind that all of these responses were from before tech week (which is most certainly the worst and most stressful time in the three months it takes to put on the musical, second possibly to show week), so stress has probably piled up by now. Nonetheless, this is what they had to say:




Ticket Information:

Tickets for the show are currently on sale! Here’s all the information you need to know:

Dates: March 9-12th
Time: 6:30 (We suggest getting there early, so you have enough time to find your seat without stumbling around in the dark once the show starts.)
Place: Legacy Auditorium
Price: $12 at the door, $10 if you buy them ahead of time at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/legacyhighschool (You can also rent a recording of it if you want or need to)

Please come to the show! Everyone involved has worked extremely hard, and we would love for you to see the final result of this beautiful and comedic musical.