Few high school actors step onto the stage under the direction of a Broadway veteran, accompanied by a locally legendary band director with guest musicians, and supported by other alumni behind the light board, in the greenroom, and in front of the make-up mirror.

Next month the cast of Legally Blonde The Musical at Pecatonica High School will do just that.

Rehearsals are underway for the three performances April 22-24, under the direction of Pecatonica alumnus, Kevin Stites, Class of 1974. Stites, who splits his time between living in Pecatonica, Ill., and New York City.

 “Legally Blonde has turned into quite the community collaboration, especially with the Pec Playhouse Theater,” said Stites. “We’re having a ball working with the students and teachers to pull this together.”

While Stites is typically focused on the music aspects of a production, for Legally Blonde, he’s in the director’s chair, responsible for all aspects of creative design, acting, and music.

Stites started his Broadway career in 1994 as conductor of Sunset Boulevard. A selection of his other Broadway credits include music direction for Titanic (1997), Oklahoma! (2002), Fiddler on the Roof (2004), On the 20th Century (2015), Les Miserables (2006), as well as six seasons as music director for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of the musical Mr. Holland’s Opus and conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Aug. 7 at the Ravinia Festival.

Other alumni and faculty supporting the production include vocal director, Sabrina Massa; instrumental music director and producer, Neal Shippy, PHS class of 1996; trumpet player, Darrel Bartel, Band Director for 20 years; lighting designer, Arnie Ames, whose children attended PHS and helped found Pec Playhouse Theater; hair and make-up designer, Piper Turner, and set designer, John DeRango (both are parents of alumni); costume designer, Jill Stites, class of 1974; production manager, Laura Wiegert, class of 1974; and technical director, Glen Wiegert, class of 1974.

Performances of Legally Blonde The Musical are Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, April 24 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Pecatonica High School, 1300 Main Street, Pecatonica, Ill, April 4-24. All seats are reserved.

Legally Blonde The Musical is presented by Pecatonica High School through special arrangements with Music Theatre International (www.mtishows.com). Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin; book by Heather Hach.

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