Forty-three teens are spending four intense weeks this summer in the high school auditorium preparing for a top-notch production of "Legally Blonde," the musical, a fable of love and law made famous by Reese Witherspoon, who played Elle Woods, the Pepto-pink-loving, sorority-president-turned-barrister.
summer camp is five days a week of seven-hour days in which students from all over central Connecticut (Middletown, Cromwell, East Hampton, Guilford, Madison, Durham, Middlefield and Portland) learn all the aspects of bringing a fully-staged musical to fruition — from acting and singing to prop design and choreography.
And this weekend's show has an extra-special scene. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and Quentin Phipps, executive director of the Downtown Business District, are playing in one hilarious scene.
Marco Gaylord is the executive director and Kate Ingram, choreographer.
Ali Sinicrope is the program and artistic director and her husband Aaron Sinicrope is music director. They live in Middlefield.
It's act one, scene eight. The Harvard Law Party and Andrew Gilliland and Cameron Stedman are rehearsing the song, "Serious, Reprise," as Warner and Elle. The petit Ali shouts constant and firm direction from the back of the auditorium as the actors follow her every instruction.
In the audience sit a smattering of the cast waiting for their scenes. RaAnna Kurek, 13, who in her third year with MTT has a part in the ensemble, strokes her bulldog Chief Brody. Mom Rachel Kurek says Ali was looking for a dog to play Rufus in the production and she volunteered straight away.
Brody is named for Rachel's favorite movie character, played by Roy Schneider in "Jaws." Brody is about as docile and agreeable as a canine can be. Raina, 11, Rachel's younger daughter, plays Grandma Josephine in the show coming up next weekend, "Willie Wonka Jr."
"These kids are the best you could ask for. There's no better way for kids to spend the summer," Rachel says. "Ali and her husband offer phenomenal support and a lot of the graduates [of MTT] come back as counselors," like Mike Bradley, who just earned his diploma from Cromwell High School.
"The production is like none I've ever seen," Rachel says. "And the fact that they put this together in four to five weeks — it's just mind-boggling."
Rachel is in awe of the director, too. "Ali lives for this stuff," she says. "She gives herself totally." And the parents of the MTT kids pitch in wherever they can. One of the mothers works the concessions, another father videotapes, others sell ads and look for other funding, Rachel says. "It's the best four to five weeks out of the summer."
Showtimes are this Thursday to Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Middletown High School auditorium. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors. For information, call (860) 344-0290 or see middletownteentheater.com.