CRT Presents LEGALLY BLONDE, Now thru 5/4
Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present Legally Blonde the Musical onstage at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theater today, April 24-May 4. The 2007 winner of London's Olivier Award for Best Musical, stars Courtney Hammond as the intelligent, self-assured and fashion conscious Elle Woods. For tickets and information, call 860-486-2113 and visit www.crt.uconn.edu.
The recipient of seven Tony nominations, Legally Blonde the Musical features a book by Heather Hach, music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Motion Picture. The entertaining, fast-paced, and high-energy production is directed by Gerry McIntyre, winner of the 2013 CT Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography for CRT's production of Hairspray and features Nicole Lewis as Paulette Bonafonte and David Adkins as Professor Callahan.
Seriously blonde Elle Woods (Courtney Hammond) thinks she is about to become engaged to her Harvard Law School-bound boyfriend, Warner Huntington III but he has other plans and decides to break up with her because she's not serious enough. When Elle goes into a sulk her sorority sisters inspire her to follow her man to Harvard. Elle wins over the Harvard admission officers after revealing her true motivation: love. Elle soon discovers how much she's bitten off when she's kicked out of class the first day but she's is inspired to keep trying by her beautician Paulette (Nicole Lewis). Under the tutelage of frumpy teaching assistant Emmett Forrest (Colby Lewis), Elle triumphs when she lands a legal internship on the trial of the century under the renowned Professor Callahan (David Adkins). With some help from newfound friends and her Chihuahua Bruiser, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style. This all singing, all dancing romantic comedy is about knowing who you are and celebrating what you've got! The verdict? This much fun shouldn't be legal!
"I did not see Legally Blonde: The Musical on Broadway till the closing day. I didn't think it was my cup of tea - just silly, very pink and saccharin musical theatre. Now after seeing it, directing and choreographing it; I find I was wrong. It is a very witty, very pink and very inspiring musical. It is a modern day fairy tale. Our heroine Elle Woods breaks down stereotypes, discovers female empowerment and finds true love. There is no doubting the infectious fun running through this musical! Legally Blonde proves it's more than just a guilty pleasure!" said director Gerry McIntyre.
The full creative potential of UConn's Puppet Arts program will also be on display in the show. The production's two dogs, Elle's Chihuahua "Bruiser" and Paulette's bulldog "Rufus" will be original puppets designed by MFA candidate Carianne Huff.
"When I began designing the dog puppets, Gerry McIntyre and I had discussed making them as realistic as possible. This meant realism in the craftsmanship as well as the manipulation. It's was a great challenge designing and building mechanisms that can be easily controlled with as little overt movement as possible from the actor. Our goal is to create the illusion that the dogs have a life of their own by limiting the exposure of the actors' involvement manipulating the puppets. I am confident that the fabrication and execution will be successful in convincing the audience that the dogs have a life of their own," said Carianne Huff, who is designing and building multiple puppets, each designed for different interactions with their actors throughout the show.
Gerry McIntyre (Director/Choreographer) Winner of 2013 CT Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography for CRT's production of Hairspray. Director credits: Soon of a Mornin - Off Bwy, Lions Theatre; Once on This Island - Martin Beck Theatre, Virginia Stage Co., Actors' Theatre of Louisville, La Mirada Theatre (Robby Award for Best Director; Ovation nomination for Best Choreography and Best Musical); the national tour of Dreamgirls. As a Choreographer: Side by Side, Tommy and My Fair Lady at the Berkshire Theatre Festival; A Saint She Aint - Westport Playhouse; Laura Comstocks Bag Punching Dog (LA Weekly nomination - Best Choreography); Chicago at Ogunquit Playhouse (Broadway World Award), Urintetown, A Chorus Line and 9 to 5(all three Broadway World Nom.)
The Design team includes: Kenneth Clark, Music Director; Matthew Iacozza, Scenic Designer; Stephanie Martin, Costume Designer; Sean Nicholl, Lighting Designer; Matthew Iacozza and Erika Johnson, Associate Projection Designers; Carianne Hoff, Puppet Designer and Brandon Purstell, Sound Designer.
Courtney Hammond (Elle Woods) is an NYC based actress and is, OMIGOD, so excited to join CRT andLegally Blonde the Musical! Regional Theatre/Tours: Rock of Ages (Sherrie), Burn the Floor (Lead Singer), Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Footloose (Ariel), Lovers (Jolie- Outstanding Leading Actress in a New Musical Nomination by MITF). TV: Nickelodeon's SPLAT! (Co-Host). Freelance singer for Norwegian Cruise Line and Hank Lane Productions. BFA: NYU CAP21. Proud AEA member. Love and thanks to the rents, Pua'a and Gerry!
Nicole Lewis (Paulette Bonafonté) Broadway: Hair, 2009 Tony Award Best-Revival (Original Cast), Rent (Joanne);Lennon. Off-Broadway: Isabella in Measure for Measure (The Public Theater Mobile Unit);Murder Ballad and Boy Gets Girl (Manhattan Theater Club); Happiness (Lincoln Center Theater workshop). Regional: Susan in David Mamet's Race (Philadelphia Theatre Co.); Ann Deever in All My Sons (Intiman Theater, Seattle); Hannah in Paula Vogel's A Civil War Christmas; Miranda in The Tempest (Williamstown, Act I Co.); The Threepenny Opera and Tartuffe (A.C.T., San Francisco); Constant Star (Hartford Stage); Dorothy inThe Wiz (Weathervane Theatre), 2013 New Hampshire Theater Award Nominee-Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Asaka in Once On This Island). TV/Film: A Gifted Man, Blue Bloods, As the World Turns, Law & Order: SVU, Mercy, Naked Brothers Band, London Betty. BA, Yale University; MFA, A.C.T. San Francisco
David Adkins (Professor Callahan) has just completed a recurring role as "George" on the critically acclaimed hit FX TV show "The Americans" and is excited to be making his debut with the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. He made his Broadway debut at the National Actors Theatre in G.B. Shaw's St. Joan after graduating from The Juilliard School. Off Broadway credits include Manhattan Theatre Club, The Women's Project, Primary Stages, The Aquila Theatre Co., and The Pearl. David appeared at the Kennedy Center in Darker Face of the Earth, by Poet Laureate Rita Dove, played opposite Lynne Redgrave in The Mandrake Root, and Olympia Dukakis in Agamemnon in New York City. He has worked regionally as well: the Old Globe, ACT in San Francisco, The Long Warf, The Huntington, Center Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, George Street, and nineteen seasons at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and others. David first appeared on TV in a Pilot directed by Forest Whitaker and has appeared on all the New York soaps as well as Without a Trace, Law and Order, SVU, Trinity, Chicago Hope, and the mini-series Ben Franklin.
Colby Lewis (Emmett) is a 3rd year Graduate Actor. A native of Charlotte, NC, his recent credits include: Tom Robinson (To Kill A Mockingbird), Goth (Titus Andronicus), and Page (Mary Stuart) at Utah Shakespeare Festival. CRT credits: Claudio (Much Ado About Nothing), Jussac (The Three Musketeers), Oed (Big Love), Miles Gloriosus (A Funny Thing . . . Forum!), Seaweed (Hairspray), Diamond Louie (His Girl Friday), George Armstrong (Intimate Apparel), and Polixenes (The Winter's Tale). He also played Cornwall/Fool in the graduate acting project King Lear. Other roles include: Coalhouse Walker (Ragtime), Four Eyed Moe (Five Guys Named Moe), and Steve/Collins (Rent). He has also been seen on the CW Network's One Tree Hill.
The cast will feature equity actors David Adkins, Courtney Hammond and Nicole Lewis. The cast will feature graduate actors Thomas Brazzle, Will Haden, Khetanya Henderson, Colby Lewis, and Sarah Wintermeyer; as well as undergraduate actors Saul Alvarez, Whitney Andrews, Gabriel Aprea, Juliana Bearse, Olivia Benson, Emily Borne, Madison Coppola, Marisa Desa, Julia Estrada, William Graziano, Kevin Hilversum, Briana Maia, John Manning, Ryan Marcone, Chester Allen Martin, JoonHo Oh, Andrianna Prast, Coles Prince, Gina Salvatore and Adam Schneemann.
Photo by Gerry Goodstein