Legally Blonde: The Musical, taking pink to a new level

A look into the play that left Kellet Theater with standing room only.

Photo credit Ashley Rey
Seniors Erica Marie Sanchez and Hannah Rose Adams take the stage

The Westminster Players’ fall musical, Legally Blonde, was definitely the pinkest play ever performed on Kellett stage.

“The vibe? Pink,” said freshman Josh van der Eerden. “First of all, because of color, second of all, it’s bright and upbeat with happy excited music.”

Senior Erica-Marie Sanchez, who played Elle Woods, also emphasized the excitement of the show.

“It’s just such a fun show,” said Sanchez. “There’s never a dull moment… It’s such an exciting show and I don’t think there’s a moment where you won’t want to be watching it.”

Legally Blonde: The Musical is based off of the 2001 Reese Witherspoon film of the same name. Practically a modern classic, Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, a rich blonde woman who gets into Harvard and becomes a successful lawyer.

Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods is as iconic as the film itself, but Sanchez feels as if the musical and her own portrayal help differentiate her from the original character.

“[The musical] gives Elle more of a chance to show her growth from beginning to end,” said Sanchez. “I think it’s more apparent that Elle really has a heart of gold, how strong and truly smart she is, not just when she starts to apply herself at Harvard, but all the way through, she’s just a really smart and intelligent lady.”

Despite the popularity of the original film, not every member of the cast has seen it.

“I haven’t seen the film, so I have no idea…” said director Thad Persons. “At this point, it’s sort of a point of pride that I haven’t seen it. I’ve seen a production of the musical locally, but that’s it. I have no bias.”

Luckily, Persons had resources to help him let the film and other productions influence the Westminster Players’ presentation.

“Margaret Wilson, my student director, has been very helpful,” said Persons. “She knows the musical and movie inside out, and sometimes she’ll say, ‘Well, in the movie…’ or ‘in the Broadway production….’”

The other members of the cast who are familiar with the film thought that the musical does well to elaborate on the emotions of Elle and her relationships with other characters.

“There’s a stronger relationship with Emmett and Elle because Emmett takes the time to help Elle, and study with her, and get her to be at the top of the class so she can get that internship,” said Sanchez. “The rest of the story is pretty much the same, except you get to see Elle’s more emotional side after the fiasco with Callahan.”


The music, according to the cast, helped to reveal these emotional aspects.

“The music adds something new,” said Van Der Eerden, “they also elaborate on things that go well in musical format.”

“Elle has this whole song, Legally Blonde, that she sings a little bit with Emmett, and it really adds a whole other side to her that you don’t really get to see in the movie,” said Sanchez. “It shows how truly heartbroken she is [after the fiasco with Callahan] and you can tell how much her work meant to her.”

However, don’t get the impression that all the numbers were sad and emotional.

“[Musical director] Mr. Fry has been calling it a ‘popera,’” said Sanchez. “The style of music is very pop-y. It’s more of a rock concert than a musical.”

“The music is modern, very modern,” said Van Der Eerden. “This has that rock feel, this is more pop rock.”

The choreography and upbeat numbers are what the cast is most excited to share with the audience.

“I think the one’s that’s going to steal the show is the courtroom scene,” said Sanchez.  “It’s a hilarious thing, the whole cast is involved, it’s the whole scene where Elle gets into lawyer mode and proves Brooke not guilty of murdering her husband. Alex Bean and Owen Ladner have this hilarious duo in that number that you won’t want to miss.”

“Emily Nuttall has done a really good job with the choreography,” said Persons. “To be honest, the numbers that have the most people onstage are the most complex and are the most fun to watch. I would say Elle’s admission to Harvard is a really fun number; there’s a piece called ‘Blood in the Water,’ with Callahan, and we’re going to ask to have all the classroom chairs on wheels, so he can grab them and move them around and turn them into a shark chasing minnows, that’s kind of fun. And then there’s a big courtroom scene, and it’s very fun.”

Humor also plays a pivotal role in the show.

“There will be a moment in the show,” said Persons, “In which the audience will be laughing so hard or applauding so much that the actors will have to pause, and the musical will have to vamp again. It’s one of those moments where the students realize that there is a living, breathing thing out there.”

Something special about Legally Blonde is the use of animals, for two dogs star in the play. Rambler Dimon stars as Bruiser, Elle Woods’ dog, and Persons’ dog Maggie stars as Brutus, Paulette the manicurist’s dog. However, Persons didn’t always know that live dogs would be used in the production.

“I read the script and I thought this will be a mess, we’ll do it with puppets or something and it’ll be really funny,” said Persons.  “And I saw a production, because there’s a truism that you never follow an act that involves children or dogs. Soon as the dog comes onstage, all other issues will stop and everyone will look at this dog. But once I saw the production, it was a no-brainer.”

The Dimons were more than happy to let Rambler join the cast.

“So I approached Scoot Dimon,” said Persons,  “And I said ‘You know Scoot, I’d like to ask you a favor.’ And he said, ‘Stop. I’ll dye it blonde.’ Which I thought was a great answer! And then he went on to say, yes, you can use Rambler.”

Not only did the Dimons let Rambler star in the musical, they came to watch him perform every night.

“I’ve talked with Scoot and Maggie Dimon and asked who can take care of the dog during the show,” said Persons.  “And they said, ‘We’ll be here every night.’ Maggie Dimon looked at me and said, ‘I have not had a child in the show since the fifth grade. I am there every night!’”

With the StageCats closing the curtain on the first show of the 2013-2014 school year, the Westminster community can only look forward to the rest of the plays this season- and hope that they have just as much bend-and-snap.