Legally Blonde the Musical

Another Blake High School Summer Theatre Institute, another 19 rehearsal days from kickoff to opening curtain, and another high-energy show that had us wondering how Michel D’Anna, his staff, the cast, crew and pit band put it together in a month.  Thanks to each of you who had any part, large or small, in bringing the show this summer.
You’re probably reading this on a phone, aren’t you?  Do yourself a favor and sit down in front of an old fashion computer – or at least a big tablet – to experience these photos and Tina Wilbur’s dramatic set lighting.  I know, computers with big displays are so last year, but you owe it to yourself.

Live theatre is a bit of a mixed bag to photograph.  Dress rehearsals allow for up close and personal photography, but lighting, makeup, costumes and the set may not be quite ready for opening night.  Runs of the show have all of that in place, but I’d look out of place running around onstage so am vanquished to the back of the house.  That’s great for large scenes, but close-ups suffer a little.

Friday’s show, all way too many photos, has been posted!  Go through the Cliff Notes Version first and see how many lines you can put with the photos.  Then settle back for a rather extended tour through the whole show.  I hope that I’ve captured each cast member in all of their scenes.  My goal is for you to have as much fun looking at yourself here as we all had watching you perform.  Most of you onstage have never seen these scenes, so here they are for your first time.

And to the Thursday cast, don’t give up.  More photos of your show will follow after I recover from these and get a few other jobs under control.

Legally Blonde Photos

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Now hum along and have fun!


Annie Jr.

No surprises here. Oliver Warbucks adopts Annie, the orphans get homes, Miss Hannigan, Rooster and Lily are off to the slam, and 20+ middle-high actors and actresses in the Blake Summer Theatre Institute put on an amazing show in just under four weeks.


 Annie Jr. Photos

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Directed by Mr. Michael Kelley, acting assistants Richard Muhammad and Charles Harper, stage manager Yasmin Wamala and a host of other great people, the summer Institute, in its fourth year, brought not only a fabulous show, but a round of improvisational comedy by the cast after the show. How adept are YOU at building on an emerging story line at the instant the director points in your direction? You’d better not repeat or drop the story line; doing so means that you have to choreograph your own demise (dying scene)!

Enjoy these photos from Thursday’s show and Friday’s dress rehearsal. There are other photos on the way that will give you a backstage look at what goes on at the Summer Theatre Institute, so check back.


Quite a few of you have asked about purchasing some of these. Thanks for your kind words! My primary goal was to give our thespians something to look at and show off after the Institute was over for the year. I’m an old school film photographer, though – from the days when we enjoyed prints by making them big and hanging them on walls – and have decided to make these available as real photographic prints. Not the ink jet kind, but the ones from a real pro lab that will look as good as photos under very challenging and changing stage lighting can look. The Blake Stage Company Boosters are a big source of financial support for the Stage Company to use to add microphones, buy real stage paint (more expensive but worth it), stage makeup (also more expensive; also worth it) and whatever else Directors D’Anna and Kelley need to put on these fantastic performances. One might think that a lot of funding for the arts magnet school would come from the county, wouldn’t one? Reality is that we’re completely self-funded and Montgomery County only restricts how we can raise and use money. I’ll donate 25% of the print price to the Boosters to help keep Blake Stage Company healthy for our young to enjoy for the years to come.

Blake High School Stage Company

DIGITAL IMAGES or FINISHED PRINTS! Images are now available as digital downloads. Select the Digital Download option for each image you wish to purchase. Please read this before ordering.

This is your gateway to photos of Blake Stage Company productions starting in 2012 when Addison moved into high school, infected by the theatre but that found its way into her blood in middle high under the direction of Erin Lorenz. Ally is following suit, having been onstage with Addison in Legally Blonde The Musical. I’m working to get all of the shows into a consistent format, but they’re no less consistent than they were on the old site. You’re looking for production stills, though, and not a beautiful web site.

Introducing this theatre program in a few sentences is like trying to capture Disney in a few photos. This constantly arriving and graduating troupe, under the direction of Mr. Michel D’Anna and backed by the artistic set stylings of Mr. John Ovington, amaze audiences show after show.


Blake’s four-week Summer Theatre Institute adds to everyone’s chance to hone their singing, dancing and dramatic skills by adding a third major production to school-year spring and fall shows. Summer session also brings in student-actors from schools throughout the area and as far away as Nebraska. The Institute has also brought in talent including professional acting and voice coach Harry Winter, collegiate acting coaches and Blake alumni Charles Harper and Richard Muhammad, and choreographer and Blake alumnus Michelle Carter to make the theatre experience even more spectacular for both actors and audience.

A four-week middle-high version of the summer Institute under director Michael Kelley gives budding thespians as young as rising sixth graders a chance to experience the big stage and decide whether the spotlights or stagecraft are calling them.

bbmThrDress-5227Quite a few of you have asked about purchasing show photos. Thanks for your kind words! My primary goal was to give our thespians something to look at and show off after the Institute was over for the year. I’m an old school film photographer, though – from the days when we enjoyed prints by making them big and hanging them on walls – and have decided to make these available as both digital images AND real photographic prints. Not the ink jet kind of print, but ones from a real pro lab that will look as amazing as the shows themselves.

Theatre Lobby Posters for many  of our shows are ready for your walls. Additional posters will appear from time to time, so check back occasionally!


Anything Goes

The SS American has sailed away with Cole Porter’s Anything Goes!

You either made the ship’s departure with Hope Harcourt, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, Stowaway Billy Crocker, Evangelist Reno Sweeney and her Angels, Public Enemy Number 13, Erma, the Reverend and a cast of other passengers – or you didn’t.  These unlikely shipmates went from a mixture of old classmates and new faces to a polished musical in about twenty short days during the 2014 Blake High School Summer Musical Theatre Institute under the direction of Mr. Michael D’ Anna, assisted by technical director John Ovington, renowned actor Harry A. Winter, musical director Rachael Lader and choreographer Michelle Carter.


The cast got a taste of not only acting, singing and dancing (some learned to tap in under three weeks..), but set design, construction and painting, makeup, sound, lighting and the other aspects of theatre. Consider the Institute next summer even if you missed the boat this year! Visit Blake Stage Company’s home online for more details about plays throughout the year and next summer’s Institute.

Anything Goes Photos

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Here is a collection of photos of what happened onstage from Bon Voyage through the surprise finale. Do yourself a favor and find a real display on which to look at these after you’ve gone through them on your phone! You cast members will recognize that as the large TV-like thing attached to the computer your parents use…

You should find plenty of celebrity photos of yourself or your actor or actress from Thursday and Friday shows. Saturday’s photos are offline right now but bear with me and they’ll appear. I’ll go through my rehearsal photos to look for any crucial moments I missed here, but show photos have the advantage of a complete set and that extra punch that comes from playing to a live audience. Sure, there are way more than enough Friday scenes, but I hope you’ll enjoy piecing the story back together from the hundreds of points in time. Double-cast leads from Thursday – stand by for more as I have time, but I’ve captured you at the peaks of your glories in what’s online now.


Brighton Beach Memoirs (2014)

Join Eugene Morris Jerome and his extended family as he comes of age in Brooklyn in 1937, dreams of becoming a writer, and sees, at last, the golden palace of the Himalayas.

Blake Stage Company’s spring show, based on an semi-autobiographical snapshot from Neil Simon’s childhood, featured a limited but lovable cast of characters and an elaborate masterpiece of a set that this writer challenges you to nest in any high school anywhere.

Brighton Beach Photos

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The wallpaper behind the characters isn’t wallpaper at all, but a stick-built, hand-painted, two-story set courtesy of an amazing crew of builders led by Matt Parsons and painters led by Sami Wright and Rebecca Hill, under the direction of Mr. John Ovington. John prefers behind the lights to in front of them so don’t tell him I mentioned him here…