BWW Previews: LEGALLY BLONDE COMING TO STAGE AT New Tampa Players
"Brilliant" is a word both director Nancy Sears and choreographer Jarrett W. Koski use to describe the comedy musical Legally Blonde, that New Tampa Players is opening Saturday, April 14 at University Area CDC.
Chelsie Camaro Smith stars as the bubbly pink-clad UCLA sorority girl Elle, who with her beloved dog Bruiser (Zoe) follows her career-obsessed ex-boyfriend Warner (Brad Roberts) to Harvard Law School in hopes of being considered more "serious" to win him back.
"In telling this story in our current time, I have put a lot of thought into the perception of the male characters and the roles they each play in Elle's story. It would be easy to empower Elle by displaying most of the male roles as wicked villains. Through character study and careful work with the actors, we were mindful of the fact that there are both male and female characters in the story that are victims of cultural and social expectations," said Nancy. "There are some interesting and subtle choices throughout the production to showcase empathy for all of the characters that really believe they are doing the right thing based on how they were brought up and what they have been taught; particularly Elle's first love interest, Warner. I credit the writers for allowing room for that-- making the piece relevant to our current social awareness and constant need for change and growth in order to be the best we can be."
Elle studies hard and successfully enters the prestigious school and course alongside Warner. Though she struggles, she learns to find her footing both academically and socially, all the while validating her ability. Finding a friendship with Paulette (Kristy Noel Carlson), Elle slowly begins to realize her calling as a trainee lawyer.
"To be Elle is such an honor because there's a little bit of Elle in every single girl and you get to bring that out and go through her story," said Chelsie.
Production managed by Nora Paine, assisted by Joshua Eberhart, and under the musical direction of G. Frank Meekins, the cast of 39 features Chelsie, Brad, Kristy, James Faurote, Tim Curran, Melissa Doell, Darrah Barsness, Hillary Lusignan, Emily Shumaker, Lexi Balestrieri, Zoe Donofrio, Piper Allen, Reagan Farmer, Melissa Ordeneaux, Britny Cuilty, Anna Morris, Israel Rivera, Nikki Yuse, Alexander Alfonso, Erik Schepman, Tara Duffy, Melissa Ordeneaux, Raymond Brady Lay, Kelly Nowicki, Gillian Isibue, Amanda Solberg, Alexander Graulau, Alexis Jones, Erica Speranza, Christopher Gorman, Taylor Hendershot, Diana Diaz, Kay Brown, Diana Paty, Olivia Pfister, Aisheeda Benjamin, Melissa Vinnedge, Caleb James King and Michael Schreiner.
"This show is for anyone who wants to be entertained. The music is fun with very strong lyrics. This talented cast really works hard to tell the story," said Jarrett. "This entire cast has been wonderful going on this magical journey to tell Elle's story. Each actor brings their own unique spin on their specific character. The energy of this cast is brilliant. As an ensemble cast, they will amaze the audience."
The message is simple.
"There are many wonderful people that can help us and guide us along the way. There are also just as many there to distract us," said Nancy. "Ultimately, it is up to you to find your own way."
Legally Blonde may not be for the littler ones as it is rated similar to the movie, but for a mature audience, this is a guaranteed to be an energetic fun show that will make you a fan of the color pink.
Legally Blonde runs April 14-22 at University Area CDC, 14013 N. 22nd St. For the deaf community, Saturday's 2pm performance will be interpreted by Sota Interpreting. Tickets are $23 student/senior/military, $25 adult and for the Harvard VIP Experience Package $50, available at https://newtampaplayers.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=1060905