Hit Musical Proves That Blondes Have More Fun
Pawtucket's Community Players opened their 92nd season with the light-hearted confection "Legally Blonde, the Musical," which plays through Oct. 28, 2012.
Based on the hit 2001 movie that starred Reese Witherspoon, the 2007 musical was nominated for seven Tony Awards and ran for some 585 performances in New York. It was an even bigger hit in London, where it ran 974 performances and won three Laurence Oliver Awards including Best Musical. It also spawned two U.S. tours and is quickly becoming one of the most produced musicals in regional and community theaters throughout the country.
The Community Players production is being directed by Kevin Broccoli, with Musical Direction by Alex Tirrell and Choreography by Kerissa Roderick.
The plot is identical to the film: sorority girl Elle Woods (played by Alyssa Gorgone) is used to being the center of attention; but when her Harvard Law School-headed boyfriend dumps her for someone more "serious," she sets out to beat him at his own game. She takes the law boards and gets accepted to the prestigious school. Once there, though, she has to fight her "sorority girl" stereotype, helping others and solving a complicated murder case in the process.
The cast includes David De Almo as Emmett, Elle's law school friend; Stacey Geer as hairdresser Paulette, Geoff White as Professor Callahan, Ben Royer as Elle's boyfriend Warner Huntington III, Meryn Flynn as Enid, and Elizabeth Gotauco as Vivienne Kensington - Elle's rival for Warner's affections.
The show has music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. Its Broadway production was directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell and made stars of Laura Bell Bundy (Elle Woods) and Christian Borle (who plays the lawyer that falls in love with Woods). Borle won a Tony Award last season for the play "Peter and the Starcatcher" and is known to television audiences for his ongoing role as the gay composer on "Smash."
High energy show
Director Broccoli fell in love with "Legally Blonde" when he saw it in its Broadway incarnation a few years ago.
"I just remembered how much fun it was," Broccoli told EDGE. "It’s a high energy show. I thought it would be a great fit for Pawtucket and for the Community Players because it really appeals to a mass audience. It’s a lot of fun."
Broccoli is also an actor and a writer. He previously appeared in "NUTS" at 2nd Story Theater in 2011.
"I’m thrilled they asked me to direct," Broccoli said of Community Players. "They’re a great group of people to work with."
Directing a musical has its own set of unique challenges, according to Broccoli.
"It’s really just coordinating all the different aspects - the music, the dancing, we have a ton of set pieces for this, lots of costumes," Broccoli said.
Broccoli promises an enjoyable experience for audiences, noting they will come away with something to think about.
"’Legally Blonde’ has a really nice message about staying true to who you are," Broccoli added.
Gorgone has previously appeared in "Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson," "Shenandoah," "Les Miserables," and "RENT." In addition, the actress will be making her debut at Trinity Repertory Company in their upcoming production of "A Christmas Carol."
Gorgone was happy to take on what she considered a "classic role" and to follow in the footsteps of the actresses who played Elle Woods in the Broadway production.
"It’s a hard role - vocally," explained Gorgone, who sings lead on almost every song in the show. "I kind of looked at it as a challenge."
"It’s definitely a rush," Gorgone said of performing on stage. "It’s the ability to tell a story and communicate to an audience the importance of the story that you’re telling and the importance of the character you are playing and when you can do that, there’s definitely a feeling of accomplishment."
"Legally Blonde" completes its run on October 26-28, 2012 at Jenks Auditorium, Division Street, Pawtucket, RI (across from McCoy Stadium). Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, with Sunday matinees at 2 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students through high school. To order tickets visit www.thecommunityplayers.org or call (401) 726-6860.