Exclusive: The Cast of "Legacies" Reveal The Long Road to Bring "Salvatore: The Musical!" to Life
It's not easy filming a TV show during a global pandemic. After shutting down early during their second season, the cast of Legacies got back to work on the series a few months later as they continued right where they left off, managing to bring in new storylines and changes to its planned trajectory. But with so much uncertainty still looming, it added an extra challenge as they tried to continue filming the series safely and without any major changes to its scenes. Since Legacies actually takes place after 2021, there's no reason for the coronavirus to be present in the story. However, an upcoming episode seemed like it would be harder to pull off due to the ongoing pandemic.
Little did fans know that a special episode tying Legacies back to The Vampire Diaries and The Originals was in the works. Not only was it going to be a special tribute to these two series, it was also a full-blown high school stage musical within a 45-minute episode. "Salvatore: The Musical!" might be the name of the Legacies' third episode of season 3, but it's also the name of the show that brings back within the original two series into one grand production.
Seventeen got to talk to the cast of Legacies about how they brought the episode to life, their favorite parts about it, and some things that fans might not pick up on during their first watch.
The Episode that Got Pushed Back
Like many shows, Legacies had to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic spiking. However, the cast had already been working on "Salvatore: The Musical!" before they had to go home. With vocals already down, some scenes shot, and choreography already learned, seeing the curtain go down early was particularly hard considering everything that went into the episode.
"The one crazy thing was we started this episode back, I believe, in March. So we recorded those songs right around that time which was so much fun," Ben Levin, who plays werewolf Jed, told Seventeen. "Then we basically did the live-action portion about was six to seven months later."
Not only were the songs already recorded, but the cast even started dance training for some of the musical numbers.
"We started doing choreography before we got shut down. And then we had to come back and sort of relearn everything," Jenny Boyd, who plays Lizzie, said. "Thankfully, we'd already recorded the songs at that point. It was such a fun experience!"
"I've been training vocally for a while now I've trained with Adriana McPhee and just kind of getting the songs from Thomas Brandon, our writer who wrote all of our music and the episode," Kaylee Bryant, who plays Josie, revealed. "He would send me a song and say, 'Does this key work for you?' We spent a decent amount of time just kind of tweaking each of the songs to be kind of perfect for my range, which was something that I never thought I'd be able to do and collaborate with."
Going Back to Their Theater Roots
For some of the cast members, the musical episode was a way to come back to where it all started for them: on a stage. Before joining the show, Chris Lee, who plays vampire Kaleb, was part of the original Chicago cast of Hamilton, playing the dual role of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette.
"It's always amazing to be able to blend these worlds together. I feel so grateful to work for a team that allows me to exercise most of the muscles that I have in the performing arts," he said. "It was was a lot of fun to do, but also different having to put something that is supposed to be staged on film. There's a lot of moving pieces. But it's all just great nuggets for creativity and I had a ball."
Ben, who also records music in his spare time, enjoyed getting to collaborate with Chris in a brand new way.
"Being in the booth with Chris was great. Him and I both make music separately, so it was really fun to share that space with him," Ben said. "I actually grew up in musical theater since I'm from New York City. I did a lot of youth theater at this company called TADA and with my high school, LaGuardia."
"We all kind of are huge theater dorks in one way or another. So the producers and the writers always saw us kind of messing around, singing and dancing, in between takes," Kaylee mentioned. "It was definitely in the works for a while."
Doing Things Safely
Since the cast had to break due to the coronavirus pandemic, things were definitely different when they came back and added an extra hurdle. Safety was the number one question on everyone's mind, particularly as Hollywood tried to figure out the best way to continue filming.
"When we started the episode, this was pre-COVID. So we're doing these big musical numbers with a massive audience. It's very carefree and we're all having fun. However, when we came back, it was very down to business," Kaylee said. "'Okay, how do we have fun and do it safely at the same time?' Which was something that we didn't have to think about before."
While fans won't notice so much in the final cut, some television magic certainly helped make things safer. In viewing an early cut of the episode, some side views helped make it look like a full audience was there and there was noticeable social distancing throughout musical numbers. These changes were made to make things better for the actors as they filmed together.
Shaking Off the Nerves
For some other cast members, it was an entirely new side of them that they got to show off.
"It's super vulnerable, for sure. I'm not used to singing really in public. It's a little scary knowing that it's gonna be out there, forevermore, for the whole world to see. It's really a nerve wracking thing. But it was a really fun experience and I hope that people enjoy it and can appreciate what we all put into it," Jenny revealed.
Kaylee noted that getting to play one of the biggest characters in the entire
"Once I was actually told, 'Yes, it's happening. And yes, you're planning on Elena.' I kind of was terrified. She is like one of the most iconic characters in The Vampire Diaries world, So I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders," Kaylee recalled. I definitely kind of had to go through the process of saying, 'Okay, shake it off. It's not Kaylee playing Elena, It's Kaylee playing Josie playing Elena.' which is a whole other deal in and of itself. So it was definitely interesting in that way."
Stepping Back into the Role
Production on the show restarted in October 2020, which means the cast members had to relearn and remember some of the stuff that they had already worked on seven months prior.
"It was definitely jarring coming back to all the stuff. There's also just so much that happens in Legacies, just coming back and remembering, 'Oh, yeah, that happened.' So it's a little more to keep up with. But it wasn't as bad as I think we all thought it would be. And it was a lot of fun to have the challenge of picking [it] back up," Chris said. "This was a cool episode to come back to and finish. We were very anxious too because, at the time, we had already pre-recorded the vocals and shot a lot of the backstage stuff. Getting to actually do the performances was probably better, because we got to have time to live with the stuff and prepare. It was nice to have some time to kind of live in it and get it in our bodies."
Bringing it Home
The cast members got to see the episode prior to airing and they're already ready for the world to check it out for themselves.
"It turned out super well and it was fun that we still got to do it. I think a lot of us were worried about that because, especially after reading and seeing the episode, it is honestly our favorite episode of the season so far for a lot of us," Kaylee said. "So we were really worried that we weren't gonna be able to do it at all and we're really just excited that people are gonna get to see it and we still got to film it."
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