Oh, my God, you guys! Legally Blonde the Musical is back — by popular demand. The show made its Triangle debut at Durham Performing Arts Center on April 14-19, 2009; but the upcoming presentation is a gala homegrown production by the one of this state’s leading regional theater companies. The critically acclaimed North Carolina Theatre will perform Legally Blonde on Oct. 9-14 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh, NC.
Did you hear the joke about the blonde who went to Harvard University? She got a law degree. The 2001 motion picture Legally Blonde, directed by Robert Luketic from a screenplay by Karen McCullah Lutz, based on the 2001 novel by Amanda Brown, exploited the Dumb Blonde stereotype for laughs — lots of laughs. Reese Witherspoon was a delight as irrepressible pretty-in-pink Harvard law student Elle Woods, and Luke Wilson and Jennifer Coolidge sparkled as her fellow law student and eventual boyfriend Emmett Forrest and her zany new friend and hairdresser Paulette Buonofante.
The North Carolina Theatre‘s rendition of the 2007 Broadway musical based on Legally Blonde, which will play eight performances on Oct. 9-14, stars Autumn Hurlbert as Elle, Adam Hose as Emmett, and Kathy Fitzgerald as Paulette. Directed and choreographed by Denis Jones, who served as associate choreographer the 2009 national tour that played DPAC, the stage show features music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a book by Heather Hach, based on the Amanda Brown novel and the MGM film.
According to the North Carolina Theatre:
“College sweetheart and sorority star Elle Woods doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. So, when her boyfriend dumps her for someone ‘serious,’ Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and sets out where no Delta Nu has gone before: Harvard Law School.
“In casting news, NCT is excited to announce that Autumn Hurlbert will star in the role of Elle. Autumn was runner-up in the MTV-produced reality program ‘Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods,’ a talent-based show which sought to recast the role of Elle on Broadway after Tony Award® nominee Laura Bell Bundy left the production.
“Some of Autumn’s other credits include Beth March in the first national tour of Little Women and Sybil in Private Lives at the Huntington Theatre Company [of Boston, MA]. Joining Elle on stage will be her faithful pup, Bruiser, being played by Chico the Chihuahua, the original dog from the Broadway production of Legally Blonde.
“…. Based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde the Musical is an award-winning Broadway sensation and winner of Best New Musical at the 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards in London. Legally Blonde the Musical premiered on Broadway in 2007 with direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell. The Broadway musical continued its successful run through the fall of 2008, running for 595 performances. The Independent wrote Legally Blonde the Musical is ‘ridiculously enjoyable from start to finish.’ …
“‘Legally Blonde the Musical is a high-energy musical comedy that features fun songs and a fun night out at the theater for the whole family,’ says Casey Hushion, artistic director for North Carolina Theatre. This production is an all-singing, all-dancing, feel-good musical comedy that is one ‘Elle of a show’!”
Besides the cast members named above, the North Carolina Theatre cast for Legally Blonde includes (in alphabetical order): Hailey Best as Brooke/Elle Understudy, Thomas Bevan as Nikos, Brian Hoffman as Winthrop/Dewey/Dad/Reporter, Anne Karner as Mom, Michelle London as Vivienne, Dirk Lumbard as Professor Callahan, Cara Massey as Enid, Kendall McCarthy as Pilar, Jeremy Mills as Kyle, Bethany Moore as Margot, Constantine Rousouli as Warren, Sara Sheperd as Kate/Chutney, and Brittany West as Serena. The show’s ensemble includes English Bernhardt, dance captain Barry Busby, Jamie Lynn Bynum, Joey Cullinane, Nick DeVito, Elgin Giles, Kinsie Howell, Charlie Johnson, Lydia Elaine Leggett, Cameron Pace, Lily Rashid, Haley Richardson, Lydia Tart, and Kelsey Walston. The canine cast includes Chico as Elle’s Chihuahua Bruiser and Nellie as Paulette’s bulldog Rufus.
In addition to New York director and choreographer Denis Jones, the North Carolina Theatre creative team for Legally Blonde the Musical includes musical director and conductor Edward G. Robinson, associate choreographer Barry Busby, associate music director/rehearsal pianist Nancy Whelan, assistant to the director/choreographer Cody Cunningham, lighting designer John Bartenstein, costumer Ann M. Bruskiewitz, hair/wig/make-up designer Patricia DelSordo, properties manager Ashley Blair Barrow, sound designer/A1 Eric Alexander Collins, sound designer/Systems Brian L. Hunt, and stage manager William Alan Coats. The sets and some of the show’s costumes were originally created for — and are on loan from — the Music Theatre of Wichita in Wichita, KS. NCT costumer Annie Bruskiewitz created the rest of costumes.
The North Carolina Theatre presents LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9-12 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
TICKETS: $22.25-$84.75 (including fees).
NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/1587720.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 5204 or http://nctheatre.com/tickets/group-sales.
SHOW: http://nctheatre.com/shows/legally-blonde-the-musical1. SEASON: http://nctheatre.com/2012-shows.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) will audio describe the 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13th performance, which will also be sign-language interpreted.
The Novelist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanda_Brown_(novelist) (Wikipedia).
The Film: http://www.mgm.com/view/Movie/1102/Legally-Blonde/ (official website), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0250494/ (Internet Movie Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legally_Blonde (Wikipedia).
The Musical: http://www.mtishows.com/show_detail.asp?showid=000332 (Music Theatre International), http://www.legallyblondethemusical.co.uk/tour/ (official U.K. website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legally_Blonde_(musical) (Wikipedia), and http://ibdb.com/show.php?id=423551 (Internet Broadway Database).
Laurence O’Keefe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_O’Keefe_(composer) (Wikipedia).
Heather Hach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Hach (Wikipedia).
Denis Jones: https://www.facebook.com/denis.jones.14 (Facebook).
Autumn Hurlbert: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn_Hurlbert (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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